During my time at ITAC4 I took part in numerous workshops across all artistic disciplines. I listened to inspiring talks from artists from all over the world, watched performances, heard from radical practitioners who are using their practice to change the world for the better, became part of a choral voice ensemble, I even got to watch a live podcast recording, this was all encompassed by debate and discussion with fellow delegates on what truly encompasses best practice when it comes to teaching art.
The morning of the third day at the International Teaching artist conference was spent at Lincoln Centre For Education. A half an hour workshop was the prelude to an incredible performance; Soundtrack ‘63- by Soul Science Lab. If I’m honest, incredible doesn’t even begin to do the performance justice. An ensemble of phenomenal black musicians and vocalists performed live scores in front of a visual collage of moving image, archive footage and animation, using music and song to narrate black American history; from slavery, through to Jim Crow, mass incarceration, the civil rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. The use of music and live performance by contemporary black artists was so powerful in highlighting the ongoing, systematic oppression faced by people of colour not only in the United States but across the globe.
The performance made me think of my own position within the arts and brought into perspective the themes of the conference ‘Artist as Instigator, The Role, Responsibility and Impact of Artists in Global Communities’. Since being back in Brighton I have been reflecting on how integral it is to acknowledge my privilege (as a white person) when it comes to working with community groups and artists of colour. A participant at ITAC4 summed it up in one sentence:
‘It’s not about sympathy driven work but work driven by empathy and change’.
To find out more about Soul Science lab click here.