Bolder Voices Choir:
The choir, Bolder Voices performed their own renditions of classics and also some originals, which used audience participation. For example, during their performance of David Haas’s ‘Deep down in my soul’, the Choir leader used audience participation by splitting the crowd into two groups, to harmonize different part of the song. This allowed for active audience interaction, and provided another way bring the participants together across age-generation, gender, class and ethnicity.
Both events were especially enjoyable to watch, It highlighted the intergenerational theme of the event, and the way in which creative participation through different arts forms such as dancing and singing is important for community engagement and bridging the gap between the generations.
‘Black don’t crack’ Panel:
Enhancing the learning experience of students at the University of Greenwich was another important theme of the day. Dr Louise Owusu-Kwarteng, an Associate Professor in Sociology chaired a panel with sociology undergraduate students which reflected on their experiences of surviving and thriving in higher education. Entitled ‘Black don’t crack, young people surviving and thriving higher education’, panel discussion reflected on a number of pressing social issues that they had faced as young black female adults in today’s society. These issues operated at both macro (i.e in the form of institutional and structural inequalities) and micro levels (ie in the form of everyday incidents of racist micro-aggressions). For example, one of the students discussed the issue of ‘white-washing’ in society, and whether we need to change our ‘authentic selves’ to fit into white heteronormative models of identity; also the challenge of celebrating educational success when faced with attempts to deny or denigrate their cultural heritage. A second panel member, reflected on the complexities faced by people of mixed heritage, and feeling somewhat othered in society where she was ‘too black’ to fit into the white community, yet ‘too white’ to fit into the black community. It was insightful to hear the perspectives of young black women, who had very different social and cultural experiences.