Musicians Strike Against Jihad
June 7th, 2010
Pakistani musician Salman Ahmad believes exposure to art and engagement with art can protect young Pakistanis from militancy and fundamentalism. The ’soft’ approach to countering extremism is more effective than air strikes and military campaigns. He should know, he’s sold over 30 million albums and represents a powerful voice against violent Islamism across the Asian sub-continent and among Muslim communities in the Western Diaspora.
In an interview in the Independent, he said: “What extremists fear – and this is what arts have the power to do – is the opening up of people’s minds, [...] For people who want to control the social agenda, culture is a threat. When you look at Pakistan, 100 million of the 150 million people there are under the age of 18. The extremists know that and that’s their target market. I remember once an imam told me ,’If thousands of kids started going to rock concerts, who would come to my khutbahs [sermons]?’”
Ahmad’s band Junoon work with the Salman and Salima Global Wellness Initiative to promote their message of empowerment through creative dissent, and against violence.
From Social Research to Verbatim Theatre – Is your Research Data Art?
June 7th, 2010
Professor Stephen Coleman of the Institute of Communication Studies at the Universityof Leeds found an innovative way to raise the impact of his AHRC funded research project The Road to Voting.
During his research, he conducted nearly 60 research interviews with British residents from a range of social and economic backgrounds on attitudes to voting and democracy.He then gave the interview transcripts to artists from theatre, film, visual art, and a range of other disciplines, to use as material for projects seeking to engage members of the general public with the electoral process.
Look Left Look Right productions created Counted, a tightly directed, well performed documentary drama, that insists democracy can only function practically if people know or believe their actions can change the system. their votes are totted up on election day, but how far do they really count?
Counted has just finished a début season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and will be touring the UK, being performed in “unusual political spaces”. Next stop, City Hall, London.
Culture plays Sport – Great North Run Turns 30 in the Great North Museum
June 7th, 2010
Heritage culture, community and sport come together in In The Long Run, celebrating 30 years of the Great North Run.
The race, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is the world’s biggest half marathon, attracting 54,000 runners and many more visitors to the region.
The Great North Museum will be exhibiting archived film footage, photographs, and artwork by Claire Leona Apps, Vicki Bennet, Suky Best, Ravi Deprees, Graham Dolphin, Julia Germain and the Turner Prize nominees Jane and Louise Wilson, as well as iconic memorabilia from this highly popular event.