Where: The Albany & Online (hybrid)
When: Sunday 17 October 2021, 12:00-16:30

Improbable is teaming up with Festival of Radical Care at the Albany to host our first hybrid Devoted and Disgruntled satellite.

Invitation from Pauline Mayers, OS Facilitator with Improbable, writer and theatremaker

The UK today is the most divided it’s been since my childhood. Everyday through the news, politics and social media, there is yet another thing to fear, be angry about, be resigned about or simply ignore. However, as I am positioned by society as a black woman, I have no choice but to be in a constant state of alert. At a time where the world is in the midst of a pandemic, people in the Global North are overcoming fear, grief, depression and anxiety after months of being locked away from each other. Yet the leaders of this country have taken it upon themselves to choose this very moment to declare a ‘culture war’ on our society. This ‘tactic’ is nothing new. 

Successive governments have declared various versions of the ‘culture war’, to gain and win votes, to retain and maintain power. This has been happening since the Windrush Generation came to these shores. Whilst the earth literally stood still over the last eighteen months this government, rather than using this moment to do things differently, to encourage us all to come together to make changes to how we live, work, entertain and socialise in ways that could benefit us all, have instead chosen to continue to exploit the differences between us for their own ends. This often means that identity becomes a political football. 

As a daughter of the Windrush Generation, I am often at the brunt of such conversations. Society is quite happy to literally debate, dehumanise, fear or ignore my existence simply because of the colour of my skin. Most days, I soldier on through. I do so knowing I am broken by the ways people who look like me are portrayed in the media, seeing report after report that my life chances are less than others in this society, that in so many ways I am not accepted as an individual. The dominating culture has spoken and made clear that division is what they seek. 

However, I believe that the arts can be the bellwether of a movement that not merely resists such blatant attempts of individualism and selfishness. The arts can be a galvanising force in our society, where people are reminded of their humanity and connection to each other. There is a reason this government is seeking to control the arts and heritage sectors by placing people in prominent positions who are favorable to the ‘culture war’ cause. So given this backdrop, given this is something that affects us all, what is the response from the arts to what is happening across the UK. What do we need to do to create working environments that will benefit us all?

I will be facilitating this conversation using a process called Open Space Technology (OST). OST is a simple way for groups of people to think, work and take action together around a shared concern. There is no set agenda and you decide what to discuss. You are free to move between conversations in a single session depending on what interests you.

 

Invitation from Angela Clerkin, Albany Artist of Change and Improbable Associate Artist

 

I’m delighted that this ‘anti-racism care in the theatre sector’ satellite D&D is part of the Festival of Radical Care which I am curating at The Albany. “Radical Care is connected to positive political change by providing spaces of hope in dark times” HJK Hobart. For me D&D is a space of hope. It is a place to challenge, connect, imagine new pathways and effect change. As a white woman I am committed to doing essential anti-racism work on myself and asking others to join as we challenge ourselves and each other. I believe this work is an act of radical care - and we all need support, nourishment and community to give us energy and hope for this ongoing journey. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Invitation from Vicki Amedume, Associate Director of The Albany

 

As a black woman working in the creative industries, I have seen successive iterations of diversity action. Much of it has not significantly impacted on who holds the power in our sector. As much as we resist recognising it, our sector closely mirrors the inequality of opportunity and access to resources we see in wider society. Something feels different in this moment, the cultural shockwaves of the last few years have created a context in which the drive to anti-racist action is irresistible. Lewisham is home to one of the most diverse populations in the UK, as an arts venue and community organisation we recognise the necessary role we can play in supporting and effecting change. We hope the D&D satellite event will create space for us to connect, think and plan actions for a more equitable future in our sector and beyond.

Booking for this event has now closed.