ELIJAH'S IAM WEEKEND EXPERIENCE
LAST DANCE: DIY CULTURE, DIVERSITY & CLUB CLOSURES
27-30 April 2017
Associate Artistic Director Elijah reports back from IAM Weekend 2017
In April, Lighthouse Associate Artistic Director Elijah was invited by Crack Magazine to speak at IAM Weekend 2017 in Barcelona, a unique event connecting diverse perspectives and creative minds to explore the futures of media, education and the arts in the internet age.
As part of our Change Makers arts leadership programme, Elijah is programming Last Dance, a series of live events across the UK which focus on the rapid changes affecting UK club culture and the impact of those changes on music and youth culture, launching this summer.
Here, Elijah tells us about the events he has attended and how they are informing his programming of Last Dance.
“I’ve been at Lighthouse now since the end of January. My background is working as a producer in and around Grime music, and I run a small record label called Butterz, and I’ve been doing that for 7 years. Stepping out of that world into the arts has taken quite a while, but I’ve had opportunities to go to great conferences like Remix, The Story, No Boundaries, Convergence and SXSW to fast track my learning, and develop ideas for my own programme.
I didn’t know about these events before, aside from SXSW, and haven’t done a lot of formal training in this way before so it is a different way of learning for me. It also has given me the headspace outside of creating my own work to think about new ideas. I’d recommend doing it for a lot of artists that work independently as sometimes it can feel as if you are on your own out there, and hearing other people at different stages in their journey discussing things that affect you daily, or could in the future has really helped widen my perspective.
Like most of the events I’ve been to, IAM covered issues around diversity and inclusion. What made this different from the others I’ve been to was that it came from speakers from all over the world – Japan, Mexico, USA, UK, Denmark, France and more. It was definitely centered around technology, but not from a technical standpoint, it was all about the positive externalities that all this connectivity can give us. The theme of the event was on The Renaissance of Utopias, so although people did go into harsh realities, most talks ended on a positive note.
My favourite talk was about DNA profiling, showing a video introducing people that had quite strong negative feelings about other nations or races, and seeing those subjects get their DNA tested, and finding out they weren’t 100% pure anything, and really understanding how absurd racism is. It was by a company called Momomdo, and they gave away a couple of DNA tests to the crowd, which I’m sure would be made up of DNA from people from all over the world. Check out the video.
This was my first time speaking at an event since being part of Lighthouse. I spoke on DIY culture, possible problems with the term ‘diversity’ itself, and how club closures have affected the artist communities I interact with, which is central to the themes of my Last Dance project. I even got to play some music at the end of the talk, some Grime to a packed auditorium at 10am. There’s a review of the weekend up now on Crack Magazine, with a video of the talk to follow shortly. I’ll have news to share about Last Dance soon.”
Read more about Last Dance.
Read more about Elijah at SXSW Festival.
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