Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Practice Exchange

An exciting couple of days, hosting a Practice Exchange event which we produced jointly with the Platform for Intercultural Europe at Rose Bruford. Under the title Interculturalism: Art and Policy we were able to bring together some of the most exciting artists from diverse cultural traditions who are currently working in Britain, and to get them interacting with people from academia, policy-making, social and political activism etc. It's an important step for us as company - it gives us a voice in Brussels, and it brings our artistic work into dialogue with political processes. Right now, that seems a pretty urgent need.

There will be a full report by Brendan Jackson, which I'll post when it comes out, but in the meantime here are a few highlights!

Jatinder Verma gave an opening Keynote Speech about Intercultural theatre as it relates to European policy - you can listen to it online here. David Tse Ka Shing spoke about working with British East Asian communities, and also joined a panel on dialogues between diverse communities and the cultural sector, with Gabrielle Lobb from Polygon and Femi Elufowoju Jr.. In a particularly inspiring session, John Martin from Pan talked about his work with Refugee communities - with some really concrete examples of transformative events occurring for traumatised people, including former child soldiers.

All of this was very useful when it came to the discussions of policy on the second day. The people we'd expected from the Commission and the DCMS didn't turn up (of course), but their absence probably made it easier for us to talk freely about how intercultural arts can make their case - both the case for culture and the case for cultural diversity - at a moment when both are under threat. There was a brilliant talk by Graham Jeffery about the language gap between artistic idealism and political pragmatism, the use of evidence to bridge that gap, the quantifying of cultural value. Here's a link to Graham's blog - which is going to be worth watching as the current crisis deepens.

More to follow....

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