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Drift. Float. Drown. Dance:  Reflections on Refuge from a Calabash

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Pathfoot Lecture Theatre

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA

United Kingdom

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Autumn Art Lecture

Alison Phipps. UNESCO Chair: Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, University of Glasgow

with Gameli Tordzro, Naa Densua Tordzro, Tawona Sitholé, the Noyam Institute for African Dance and the Haa Orchestra.

The calabash listens.

The calabash translates.

The calabash moves the people.

The Calabash moves the room.

The calabash creates the dance.

The calabash shocks.

The calabash sings.

The calabash opens the language scar

and lets the languages flow.

From 2015 -2017 as part of the AHRC Translating Cultures Large Grant on Researching Multilingually at Borders, a team of arts and multidisciplinary researchers worked with a dance company in the Dodowa township and forest, Ghana undertaking translational research. Their objective was the development of a production which expressed the themes of the research undertaken in dance for, and did so by devising young people, multilingually. The production – Broken World, Broken Word – was performed for the local community in Dodowa by the young people. Throughout the devising the production crew worked to use English in last rather than first place as the language of communication, intentionally privileging a range of up to 17 mother languages first. The calabash was used as a translational object and device in this multilingual devising process.

With the themes of refuge and migratory aesthetics at its heart, this paper will present the decolonial devising work which is core to the programme of work of the UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow.

This Lecture is hosted by the University of Stirling Art Collection as part of our year long programme of events and exhibitions on the theme of refugees and asylum.

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Pathfoot Lecture Theatre

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA

United Kingdom

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