An exciting and busy time last week with involvement within two very different events for Birmingham City University (BCU).
First was the celebratory unveiling of BCU's 2025 Strategy https://www.bcu.ac.uk/about-us/bcu-2025 . The University's press release, describing the event can be found here https://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire/about-us/news/folk-nnsemble-and-maraca2-news-story-17-06-2022
The event begun with a performance by members of RBC's percussion department in Stephen Whibley's showpiece, Espiritu Libre for percussion duo and ensemble. The piece was commissioned and received it's world premiere by Maraca2 Percussion Duo (Tim Palmer and I) back in 2009 with the University of Southern Mississippi percussion ensemble at PASIC in Indianapolis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhBTnLW_J2g . Since then it's been performed around the world but seldom in the UK! We felt that it would be an impactful beginning to proceedings.
Many thanks to Birmingham Conservatoire percussion team (Aidan Hammond, Alexander Walton, Andrew Woolcock, Daisy Davis, Eva Laverty, Kai Cooper, Nicholas Cowling, Tom Bennett), Toby Kearney and Shirley Thompson for inviting us to represent the institution.
The following day I was proud to represent the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire within the CEDIA (Centre for Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity in the Arts) 'Decolonising the Curriculum' seminar. As a speaker at the event, I presented my response to the prompt 'what does decolonising the curriculum mean to me?'. For BCU staff and students, you can watch the recording of my presentation at https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/f81d6e8a-2f72-49fc-b62c-2e4be6d87945. I advocated for a bottom up, critical praxis methodology for engagement with decolonisation, using my 'Representing Haitian Percussion' project as a case study for how we can identify and activate agency through articulation of our Situationality (Freire 1970). Thanks to Karen Patel for the invite and to fellow speakers (Kirsten Forkert, Tony Talburt and Nicole Serra).
Further engagement with CEDIA and RBC's EDI working group is planned for next academic year and I am looking forward to opportunities to explore the potential to work with colleagues towards institutional initiatives relating to widening participation.