Learning from the Past So We Can Be Better in the Future:
Considering Representation and ‘Voice’
We began our work delving into the Northcott’s archive last Autumn with a team of brilliant interns from the University of Exeter – they uncovered some fascinating and provocative themes from the collection. We will continue our journey looking at these themes with an exploration of the representation of ethnically diverse stories in the archive.
Whose stories have been told? Who is telling them? And where are the gaps? The theatre’s archive reveals some attempts at telling stories about people with diverse heritages – as well as attempts to address the lack of representation of arts practitioners and communities with diverse heritages including African diaspora people, South, East and South East Asian diaspora people, and recent immigrants to Exeter and Devon.
How have these stories been told and presented? Who is the voice behind the communication and promotion of these works and what role do they have in the way ethnically diverse people’s stories are told? The way the theatre’s programme is shared and received is documented in detail in the archive through material such as press cuttings, which provide an insight into the viewpoints and interpretations that have been promoted historically.
The role of theatre in addressing diversity and inclusion has also been acknowledged but is generally low on the agenda. So how do we present and showcase difficult parts of history? Where is the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation? And can theatre entertainment be effective as education/activism?
Finally, how does some of the material in the archives link with themes/concerns today? And how can we equip researchers and audiences moving forward to create positive change?
We will explore these questions at a live streamed event on Tuesday 8th June, at 7pm – an experienced panel of cultural and arts experts will look at the stories we have discovered in the archive and discuss how we can use this knowledge to shape the future culture of our city and the South West. Go to the “Company” tab to find out more about the panel members; Louisa Adjoa Parker, Alix Harris and Sandhya Dave.
This event will take place as a live-streamed event via our website.
Louisa Adjoa Parker
Louisa Adjoa Parker is a writer and poet of English-Ghanaian heritage who lives in south west England. Louisa’s poetry and prose has been widely published. She has been highly commended by the Forward Prize; twice shortlisted by the Bridport Prize; and her grief poem, Kindness, was commended by the National Poetry Competition 2019.
Louisa has written extensively about ethnically diverse history and rural racism, and works as an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultant. She is a sought-after speaker and trainer on rural racism, black history, and mental health.
Alix Harris is a Director and Theatre Practitioner based in Devon. In 2015 Alix founded and became Artistic Director of Beyond Face CIC. Beyond Face’s mission is to raise the profile and visibility of artists, young people and communities who are from African and Caribbean diasporas, people who are South Asian, East Asian or South-East Asian, North African, Middle Eastern or from ethnically mixed heritages. She has directed for Contact Theatre, Manchester & assistant directed for the Barbican Theatre Plymouth. In 2019/20 Alix was a Headlong Origins Director. Alix is a Director of Indra Congress, through this role she has worked internationally in South Africa and Palestine. She is also a part-time Drama lecturer at Exeter University .
Sandhya co-founded Devon Diversity Consultants. Her work here takes her into the arena of training & exploring systemic racism & the decolonising of our minds & institutions. Currently working with Devon County Council, Exeter Northcott, CAMHS, Burn The Curtain, Maketank, & Theatre Alibi. She trains on a programme from the Global Centre, called Cultural Champions which takes cultural diversity and anti-racism work into schools and the community.
Sandhya has created Resilient Roots a safe brave space for POC & offers restorative practice work.
Sandhya is a storyteller who believes in the power of stories for personal and planetary change & how sharing stories can help us to change the narratives we hold & believe. She was at the heart of: Telling Our Stories, Finding Our Roots Exeter Multicultural History an innovative project exploring Exeter’s multi-coloured history. She is about to embark on a project called Growing Resilient Communities in Exeter.