Liverpool: Leadership Training Program

More than my beloved BeatlesLiverpool for most Americans, I think, makes them think of one thing; the Beatles. And that’s it. My trip and study to Liverpool involved nothing of the Beatles. I love the Beatles, but I can listen to them anywhere. The following is the written portion of a group presentation I participated in. I was exceptionally lucky to be able to work with two phenomenal individuals, both younger than me, but full of a different and educated perspective than myself, and, incidentally both majoring in International Studies. Guy grew up in Detroit and is working on his degree in Chicago. Martha grew up in Wisconsin and is working on her degree in Duluth, Minnesota. We all expressed amazement in how it all fell together so well for us. The only thing that took some coaxing was our topic, but once we found it, all went without a hiccup for the research and experience. (Martha got the nasty cold that was going around right before we had to present, on top of her migraine. No fun, but she is tough.)

Adams
July 8, 2009
Leadership Training Program
Patterson, Leisch, Roper

Art: Address, Reflect, Influence, Change

Guy Patterson aka He’s not a pimp, but he be mac-in’**

You can bring about change in a community in a variety of ways. Upon our studies here at the University of Liverpool in the past 2 weeks, we found it most interesting to research how visual and fine arts affect local communities across the world politically. Upon deciding on what we would research, we took a look at a prime example, the Heidelberg Project, in Detroit, Michigan.

A local artist of Detroit, Tyree Guyton, started the Heidelberg Project in 1986. He transformed his old neighborhood in which he grew up into a mass art project consisting of the vacant houses and rubbish left in the neighborhood. Guyton thought that Detroit has never been right since the Riots in the 1960’s.

Today the project is still growing and takes up about a two city block radius of houses, trees, cars, and discarded objects Guyton found that have been transformed into huge monuments and sculptures. This was Guyton’s way of cleaning up the neighborhood he felt connected to, to rebuild the structure of under-resourced communities and welcome people from all over.

We found similarities in the interviews of all of our artist participants in the point that art is created to help people better understand the world around them. Like one of our interviewees, local Liverpool playwright/poet, Patrick said, “Art should be used to help people understand things that cannot be verbally articulated”.

Our research consists of interviews from local artists in Liverpool such as Amish, Patrick, and Bea, whose family names are not released. They represent the fine and visual branches of art and they have given their synopsis of how their work has brought on change as well as their own personal opinions of why and how art can produce political change and awareness.

MethodologyBy order and decree of...

Based on our own personal interests, as well as related studies at our Universities in the states, we decided on the topic of Arts addressing, reflecting and influencing change. We already had connections and contact information for Bea and Patrick so we were able to email both of them and set up interviews. Edie-Marie was allocated the responsibility of contacting and interviewing Patrick and Bea, having been the person to get their contact information while touring through Toxteth as well as having closely matched areas of study. Martha sought out local museums and artists, the perfect candidate because she is working on a minor in art and is familiar with the terminology and such. She used the staff at the Fact to contact other local artists, looking for more on the visual arts verses the performing arts perspective of Bea and Patrick; following through with the artist and curator, Amish, at The Royal Standard Studio Gallery. Guy assisted both Martha and Edie-Marie with the interviews, was the initial source of the Heidelberg project, as well as responsible for researching it further.

We approached these artist interviews with the following questions:

1) What medium do you use most for your art and why did you choose it?

2) How does art influence change, or does it merely reflect what is happening?

3) What political/social issues have you addressed in your art?

a) Why?

b) How?

4) What local changes have you seen in your lifetime and in what ways was art connected?

5) What do you think would happen with movements and change if the arts were not a part of it?

6) What do you know of the Heidelberg project?

7) How does it compare with local politically charged art you’ve seen?

a) Similarities

b) Differences

Martha

The thought of finding local artists and artwork seemed impossible at the onset of the project, but by simply stumbling upon artists at the FACT they fell into my hands. I met Joshua who was working at the FACT bookstore, who turned out to be a gallery coordinator for Red Wire (a local studio/gallery). He in turn connected me with Hamish at The Royal Standard, who Guy and myself went on to interview.

After speaking with Hamish at The Royal Standard studio gallery I decided to pursue two conceptual works that were based out of the gallery. He had provided me with a base of information and I researched online from that point. I was incredibly intrigued and happily surprised with the projects titled “Mr. Democracy,” by Oliver Walker and “Mobile Sports Foundation,” by Townley and Bradby. Both projects were interactive, politically driven and based here in Liverpool.

Birdhouses in Toxteth Infamous Ken's in Toxteth

Edie-Marie

Our second day of our leadership-training program proved fated for this presentation. When we visited the Caribbean Community Centre in Toxteth, I met Patrick, playwright and poet. Being an aspiring writer myself I ended up talking with him for most of the time there and exchanging contact information. Later that day we went to the Kuumbia house also in Toxteth so we could listen in on council meetings. Here Martha and I met Bea who works in film, and engaged in conversation with her primarily to get some perspective on women’s issues that always exist with all the social problems we were being shown, though they aren’t mentioned. It bothered me that in the course content, women were a non-entity, so I was looking for outside sources supplemental to the content already provided when I was introduced to Bea, which is how our group was able to have her contact information as well.

Patrick sees and believes art is more in the realm addressing political and social situations, bringing to light issues and making people aware. From this change can and does occur, but the arts role is communication and reflection. His focus is presenting information in an accessible way through his plays and poetry.

Bea immediately expressed that art absolutely completes all three, addressing, reflecting and influencing change. She saw a significant positive change from the Capitol of Culture for local artists in that it built and boosted the art markets, set up a foundation for the art community that remained with the bigger, gimmicky projects were gone. She had not heard of the Heidelberg project but had participated in many similar art forms in the use of space, for example the building behind the Kuumbia house is used to show films and during the US 2008 president election a picture of Obama was projected on the building for a while. She also facilitates the Night Art Trail in Liverpool that occurs in the fall/winter time. It creates an art based self-guided tour of Liverpool with the street lamps projecting slides of art on the streets.

Art is an amazing way to experience a new place and we really enjoyed all the people we were able to meet with in the process of preparing and researching this presentation. We went in a bit naïve in our idealism of art as a force for movements, political and social change. However, after looking at different artists in Liverpool and the case study of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, while we were able to retain the positives we had of arts capabilities but add to it the realities involved. As art pushes society, society pushes back, and reflects itself in art.

**(please note, Guy is a serious student, he was just using Martha’s Macbook at the time of composition. I was reprimanded for sending a copy to our Professor with his rough-draft title on it. We sent a corrected one. Tee hee, oops. And sorry again, Guy–but I still love it!)

Dancing Queens

Queen and I were roaming together come day two in Liverpool. I did not know yet that she was a dancing queen, but she is. The entire study abroad group had done a little more touring of the city that morning and bought calling cards and similar day to day maintenance things needed while living here. I had to be reprimanded because though I told someone I was going to the toilet, they neglected to tell the others and momentarily thought they’d lost me. Due to my wandering spirit it would not be the last time, but it would be doing more adventurous and fun things then visiting the toilet. (If you ask for the restroom they look at you like you’re crazy.) Now the afternoon was ours.

The dormitory we are staying at is close to a colossal and Eden-like park called Sefton Park. It is the host of the fourth annual African Goya festival. The day was bright and simultaneously overcast, a skill that this British Isle has perfected. This particular afternoon it only taunted rain, having drizzled a bit in the morning, and didn’t actually come down on us. Queen and I drifted in and out of the circle of tents and booths. All kinds of food, Jamaican/Caribbean, Arabic, Somalian and more, were available. Breathtaking colours of linens composed the clothing being sold alongside a vast array of jewellery and crafts and different medians of art. I couldn’t resist and added to my collection of hats and bought a top of royal blue shaded to a wine red and intricately embroidered.

The art of West African dance was being tutored at one of the booths. With a very little coaxing I got Queen to agree to take the next class with me. In the meantime we gravitated to the stage where Daby Toure, a phenomenal guitarist and singer was performing with his band. After about twenty minutes we were sold, and wandered to the music booth where they were selling CD’s. We weren’t the only fans, because they were sold out. I wrote down their information to track them down later and we made to doubly enjoy the rest of their performance. We ran into Chip, and Chip being Chip, he took it upon himself as a personal quest to get their CD for us. When they finished performing he went backstage and got to speak with all of them, got an autograph and pictures but—they didn’t have any extra CD’s unfortunately.

Whilst he worked at that task, Queen and I headed over to the dance booth for our class. Now, not to be disparaging to my roots, but quite frankly, we do NOT emphasize or learn dance. Queen and I come from a similar background, albeit from different sides of the lower forty-eight. The dance is spectacular and its core is being able to do body isolations; rolling the shoulders, now shifting the feet, now both at the same time then circling the ribs, the walking/knee lifting, then both followed by some hip circles. Suffice to say, Queen and I were in WAY over our heads. Lots of giggling ensued. Our instructor made it look easy and was so connected to her own body. That combined with a fantastic smile made her mesmerizing. It was fantastic to witness, how couldn’t it be? She obviously is passionate and loves what she does. I don’t know how they do it really; I can’t concentrate on that many things at once. I got the hip circling down pat, but then I had to roll my shoulders and do a 360 all at the same time. I’d forget to roll my shoulders, or somehow only roll one and end up sort of jerking one hip to get turned around. Luckily I only ran into a couple of the others learning with us. I couldn’t say how Queen did because I couldn’t spare any attention for anything else, but in comparing notes afterwards, it sounds like we have the same awkward groove. We celebrated exerting ourselves for the entire hour and our mad skills in… something other than dance. The hair jutting out of my new hat clung and dripped on my neck and my body tingled in its layer of glisten. I was a bit sore the next day too. And the best horrifying part about it is somewhere in the middle I looked over to see Chip with his camera out recording. I haven’t been able to convince him to destroy the evidence yet.

The lesson having mercifully finished, the three of us got some water and Arabic food. Chip and I engaged in our first (of many, MANY, more to come) debate on gender roles. He ordered for me, which I thought was weird, which he thought was weird. “Why don’t you just pay for me while you’re at it?” I asked. “I was going to!” he replied. “Why?” I asked, “Wow, you are so old fashioned.” I didn’t yet realize how serious he was, as I don’t believe he realized how serious I was, but we had a good time teasing and bantering for and with the man that waited on us, he thought we were hilarious. I’m sure we were.

The day couldn’t have been complete without me getting us lost on the way home. Luckily, Chip isn’t ashamed to ask for directions. And now I know the area quite well for going on runs and such.

The Travel Quote Post of the Slightly Less Renowned

“We are social animals. The only reason we aren’t extinct is because of this. Individual isn’t the most important, the group, the broad collectively…is how we find our true stature.” ~Paul Adams, University of Liverpool, Educational Opportunities Manager

“White people, Black people, Indian people–all here together in one place. This is the future.” Daby Toure, African Goya concert Sefton Park, Liverpool, June 21, 2009

“I write for fun, but it’s no joke
because what I write
is to make the thought provoke.” -Patrick Graham, Black Out Productions

“What is your favorite passion?” -Candid

“What’s your happy ending?” -InLove

“We are superficial and profound” -Vixen

“I’m this unique human individual now” -Vixen

“There are two kinds of Americans; those who can cry for their country and those who can’t” -Vixen

“She seems the most studious of our group” -Me
“No, she just does it a different way” -Pensive

“History is NOT to develop the memory at the expense of intelligence,”
“The best kind of history is pulled into the present,”
“Education is also about citizenship,”
“Lecturing is a lecturer passing their notes to the students’ notepads without it passing through the brains of either,”
“We live life in details, but think in generalities,”
“Words are elastic, always question, pin down the meaning,”
“Isn’t education about getting confidence?”-All from Professor Ron Noon’s lecture, July 8, 2009

“The trouble with words is you don’t know who else’s mouth they’ve been in.” -Dennis Potter, playwright

Number 7

Saturday morning, the 20th, we landed in Manchester to awkwardly pile into vans hired to drive us to Liverpool.  All the cars driving on the opposite side and our driver on the opposite side of the car is a head trip.  It feels like my brain has been flipped inside out  or like when I do a left-handed cartwheel (being right-handed).

The lot of us, as they say here, are a very dynamic and gregarious group.  The few quiet ones of the bunch talk plenty when badgered, then there are the perpetual vociferous few—I fear I may be one of them, though those of you who know me well would be quite shocked at how reserved (all things relative) I’ve been here.   Sheik and Curly are more on quiet side out of the women and were in the same van with me.  Curly also plays the guitar so it was fun chatting and strumming The Lovechild on the forty minute drive.  I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember who else was in the car with us because Chip, sitting next to me, is one of the vociferous bunch and usurped most of my attention haven declared me interesting the previous day at orientation.  God only knows why specifically, I am many things good and bad, though I suppose boring isn’t one of them.

I strummed and sang back up to Chip’s brilliant improvised lyrics.  The reoccurring theme: number 7. This refers to the concept of group imposed rules concocted during orientation, and a proposed method of efficient communication if someone was breaking a rule, a numbering system.  Instead of 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. I’ve declared number 7 to stand for all of them because I think it is so funny.  Someone complaining?  Number 7!  someone use your stuff without asking?  Number 7!  And so on and so forth.

Respect the Bubble

There is fiction in the space between ~Tracy Chapman

Here Comes The Sun

The space between days 19 June 2009 and 20 June 2009, warped to time travel just a bit as we chase the Sun. It wore pinks and dreamy-creamy blues to our farewell party outside Newark, appropriately luminous and cheerful. We fly on the breath of this Sun’s laughter. Limbo, or purgatory, have always held a perception of negative connotation and anxiety; anxiety actualized when limbo becomes a real life practice. But Here is nice. Here is where I’m supposed to be in this Here undefined. I’m looking at the world through delirious insomnia rose coloured glasses and it accentuates the blood burn crimson, faded to azure, then deepened to navy black, that the Sun has now adorned with a Mona Lisa smile of knowing and knowing I’ve no idea. I have a strange peace with it all, a tranquillity I never expected to find mid-six hour flight in the middle seat yet there it trembles in its existence. I think the apparition is because I’m finally learning how to run with Fate instead of away from it or tackling it. You see—I believe in Fate. I believe in the power of the human entity to take what will happen regardless of the individual’s action and either fuck it up or make it incredible beyond what individual’s or Fate’s power could do singularly.

To cut through the flowery petals to the root: some things happen and turn out so well you can’t believe you really wielded any part of it, my peace in purgatory is from a long since lost inner initiative. I’m delightedly frightened by the potential of the resource I’ve finally been able to tap into.

The Travel Quote Post

God Save The King“What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land.” Motorcycle Diaries

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” – Freya Stark

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

″A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money.  ~Susan Heller

There are only two emotions in a plane:  boredom and terror.  ~Orson Welles


I met a lot of people in Europe.  I even encountered myself.  ~James Baldwin

The only way of catching a train I ever discovered is to miss the train before.  ~G.K. Chesterton


I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.  ~Caskie Stinnett

A passport, as I’m sure you know, is a document that one shows to government officials whenever one reaches a border between countries, so the officials can learn who you are, where you were born, and how you look when photographed unflatteringly.  ~Lemony Snicket

No matter where you go, there you are. ~Confucius

Please feel free to add!

Sources

<http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2008/03/07/50-most-inspiring-travel-quotes-of-all-time/>

<http://www.quotegarden.com/travel.html>