On a rainy Sunday in October, a group of young people had gathered in a sound recording studio in Coventry to work together on the music and song that would express their identities, their experiences of urban living, and the issues they face navigating their everyday lives in the city. The result of this collaboration is a six minute rap song track with original music and lyrics composed, written and recorded on that day. https://soundcloud.com/ourlivesourculture/on-my-mind
The production of this rap composition is part of the Participatory Action Research intervention of the Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe’s Future (CHIEF) project, an international research project funded by the European Commission and led by Aston University (Birmingham, UK) that explores young people’s cultural identities, practices and heritage-in-the-making. The Aston CHIEF project team (Dr Ebru Soytemel and Dr Anton Popov) collaborated with young people in Coventry, youth workers and a local non-profit-organisation Media Mania in delivering a Music and Rap writing workshop to provide a platform for young people to empower them in the expression of their culture, identities and needs through the medium of music and poetry. Young people worked with a local rapper, RG The Baron, along with youth worker, Tayyaba Sadiq, to write lyrics, compose the music and record a song of their own.
The participants of the workshop shared all shared interest in music. The workshop also became a platform for cultural interaction and exchange between young people. Thus the bit for the rap was inspired by so-called ‘gypsy jazz’, played by Sebastian (age 14); he and Lubomir (age 12) also wrote the lyrics for the rap song together with rap-artist and poet RG The Baron. The music as well as lyrics of the song has direct references to the cultural backgrounds of the rappers – Slovak Roma (Sebastian and Lubomir) and British Caribbean (RG The Baron). The folk music had been framed with electric guitar played by Joe (age 22) and Ian (age 16), two local punk-rock musicians. The chorus of the rap song had a distinctive jazzy style that was beautifully sung and performed by Destiny (age 16) who had been singing since her early childhood in a local church attended by Coventry’s British Caribbean community. Continue reading “‘A Real Fusion’ of the Coventry Rap Track”
Graffiti and street art is a quite novel form of expressive culture in Georgia. Despite the fact that the first pieces of street art emerged in Georgia in the late 1980s, the scene has not grown rapidly until recent years. For the broader public, street art was usually associated with vandalism, damage and distortion of private property, and unacceptable, on the verge of legality. Despite pre-conceptions associated with street art, societal perceptions are gradually changing. Nevertheless, the street art scene still enjoys some attention from social scientists and art critics.1 Within the CHIEF project, CRRC Georgia observed young people engaged in street art. The aim of the study was to examine the practices, attitudes, and concerns of young people in the context of street art. In addition, the study investigated young artists’ positions on different grass-roots cultural practices and emerging contemporary cultural heritage. This blog presents the key findings of the study as relates the challenges young street artists face and provides a brief overview of street art development in Georgia.
The street art community provides insight into youth cultural engagement in Georgia given its diversity: being centred in the capital, artists come from and work across the city’s districts and are from a wide variety of backgrounds. Considering that painting on walls is typically illegal in Georgia, and is subject to penalties under administrative law,2 street art is usually done surreptitiously at night, in abandoned places, or during street art festivals where special permission is provided for work on a particular building.3 Street artists, especially those specialising in graffiti, typically paint under a pseudonym and seek anonymity.
In April last year, Simon Wellman and Darren Wood, members of our project team from the Culture Coventry Trust (UK), visited Hamburg to teach young people participating in CHIEF how to produce quality short films using a Smartphone. Between 2019 and early 2020 the team visited all partner countries with the same mission, India being the last in January 2020. Two months later, Simon Wellman contracted the Corona virus and died on 30th of March from complications of the illness.
With my article, I want to remember Simon and his contribution to our work by enabling young people to express themselves, reach out and touch others through the art of video filming.
The aim of the media workshops was to provide young people with skills training to better communicate their cultural knowledge and practices offering them an opportunity to present what they consider their cultural heritage. Since the workshop last April, two Smartphone videos have been produced in Hamburg, while two more still need some technical finishing. Each video was shot by an individual BA student; all female, aged 22-24 and based in Hamburg, who are in one way or other involved in CHIEF project. It is these first two videos made in this context in Hamburg that I want to write about.
Some months ago we enjoyed the presentation of the resulting projects from young people participating in the Street Art Workshop co-organised by CHIEF (UPF), the Youth Centre Garcilaso and B-Murals in Barcelona city. By showing a series of photographs from the five workshops, explaining the dynamics of the different days and letting young people themselves present some examples of their work, artists RiceVisuals and Mario Mankey gave attendees an insight into the project and explained the intentions of the different workshops.
A tolerance of diversity represents one of the fundamental values of the liberal democracies. Accepting diversity means, inter alia, that people do not maintain a social distance from the members of particular groups or social categories. Thus, by measuring social distance from various groups, which may face risk of social marginalization or exclusion, one can reveal the extent of in/tolerance in a given society. At the same time, it is also a good proxy indicator of interpersonal trust that forms a basis of social cohesion.
In Slovakia, several sociological studies report a growing intolerance and distrust against social groups that are perceived as being different by the surrounding society. There are also data on increasing prevalence of prejudice, chauvinism and extremist far-right values, as – for example – index DEREX (Demand for Right-Wing Extremist) reports. Continue reading “Social Distance from the “Others” or Tolerance of Diversity? Attitudes of Young People in Slovakia”
A recent fieldwork report1 on youth in Turkey was published by a non-governmental organisation – Habitat Association (Habitat) in January 2020. This survey was conducted by the Infakto RW, an independent public opinion research company founded in 2003 in Turkey. The study by RW 6-18 Infakto dated April 2019, represented the urban youth population from 16 provinces of Turkey; data was collected through face-to-face interviews with 214 young people aged 18-29. 50 percent of the interviewed youth were women, 50 percent men, 44 percent were employed, 26 percent students, 13 percent were looking for jobs, and 17 percent were teens that neither worked nor went to school.
The report was based on the perspective of the ability (capacity) approach which was put forward by Amartya Sen. The approach provides a wide spectrum for youth’s capacity within the given opportunities and rights. In other words, to what capacity youth turn to themselves within the frame of rights and opportunities. Aside from that, this research report aims to create an archive regarding youth studies that have been analysed and commented upon by the youth and also show the correlation between the youth’s requests and public service. Continue reading “The Current State of Well-Being of Youth in Turkey”
Space is a key resource for the local community, and the relationships that keep the community’s members together are founded on their satisfaction of social needs. Social processes that unfold in a particular space and the way people live and share space indicate the basic determinants of a given local community, as well as to functional and psychological ties among people. Thus, the ‘feeling of belonging’ to a particular community is of special importance. Every city has its own daily life experiences. Residents frequently alter urban public spaces through interventions such as graffiti and murals that mark space and depict community symbols. Graffiti as an expression of community collectivity became the subject of research in the social sciences in the second half of the 20th century. Public spaces in city centres are most frequently subject to this type of intervention from residents, generally without the prior approval of local authorities. The first sociological research on this subject in Croatia was published in the early 1990s, focusing on the city of Split. Continue reading “Youth, Sport and Social Activism within a Heritage Site”
As researchers, working for the CHIEF project, our current task is trying to find answers to questions on cultural heritage and identity. Which influences, which knowledge, which stories come to be the cultural heritage of a certain group? Which factors define someone’s cultural identity? Which roles do nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, politics, history, or other factors that we might not have thought about yet play?
In Turkey, cultural policy is an important field of power, conflict, and transformation, especially in the process of nation-state building. Cultural management and heritage are crucial in every step of politics, from what can be accepted as a national heritage to which projects are supported and preserved by public funds. Although Turkey is a centralized country, one of the questions that can be asked at this point is why there is such a complex, changeable and entangled institutional structure associated with cultural assets and heritage?
A variety of factors such as specific features of cultural and historical development of a country, its strategic development objectives in the fields of cultural policy, the economy and culture, the ethnic composition of the population, social behaviour, etc. determine cultural education development in a given country. National priorities in the area of cultural education are reflected in policy documents and curricula, the analysis of which gives an idea of the most important objectives and forms of future development. Continue reading “Quo Vadis, Cultural Education in Latvia”