As part of our occasional guest series, a reflection on the arts in lockdown by Dr Francesca Bernardi, RSA Fellow and independent researcher into children’s rights, dis/abilities and the arts.
Sometimes people like to use the phrase ‘wearing different hats’ as an expression of versatility, in different contexts or in a single space that requires one to assume different guises to get through the day (at the very least). I suppose that might be a good way to start a brief introduction of my own different hats. I would describe my self as a children’s rights and dis/ability activist, but then feel I am neglecting the very medium of such activism: the arts, visual and performing.
In this time of crisis I have worn a new guise which has been with me always (unnoticed) and has positioned me in a place of vulnerability and, consequently, I am shielding. Responding to this heightened vulnerable self, has caused me to look at personal ideas, hopes and ambitions in a very different light. I have also been hit financially by the changing shape of academia and my potential role within that space. An added sense of displacement comes from my inability to return to Italy (my home) where I would like to continue my research with communities that are seldom heard, in research, the media and their own social spheres.
In the current climate of getting your cultural fix online – music, theatre, dance – I’ve found myself, like many, watching pre-recorded and streamed live performances of musicians and actors from around the world. I’ve written elsewhere of witnessing the courage of cellist and composer Anne Müller’s livestreamed Wohnzimmerkonzert (pictured below); I’ve also watched the troubling Frankenstein from the National Theatre, Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III from the Nottingham Playhouse, and last night’s broadcast of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa from Glyndebourne, a compelling blend of Erwartung, Bluebeard’s Castle and the more menacing waltzes of Ravel.
In an era when musicians (and in fact artists generally) are adapting to the current climate by presenting and performing online, I had the fortune recently to watch a streamed Wohnzimmer performance by cellist, composer and music-and-electronics exponent, Anne Müller.
In these unusual times, we’re pleased to present a ‘virtual’ Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Concert as part of a re-imagined Summer Music Week.
The concert featured several Music Performance Scholars and Award Holders, who had each filmed themselves performing in isolation from their homes around the country. From Scottish piping to French art-song, nimble woodwind pieces and a song from Disney’s Prince of Egypt, a novel way of highlighting just some of the musicians that take part in our extra-curricular music-making.
With thanks to all the performers (and their accompanists!) who took part.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.