Press Cuttings

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Coverage of the Black Lives Matter Charter for the UK Heritage Sector 

Adams, Geraldine Kendall (2020) ‘Black Lives Matter charter calls on heritage sector to turn words into action’. Museums Association, 23 July. 

Alex Pleasants (2020) ‘Culture Stuff’. The Vaizey View, 22 July. 

Artnet News (2020) ‘Art Industry News: Need to Read’. Artnet News, 22 July.

Bakari, Lanre (2020) ‘Colonial art in UK museums is similar to Nazi-looted works, says charity boss’. MSN News 22 July. 

Bakari, Lanre (2020) ‘Colonial art in UK museums is similar to Nazi-looted works, says charity boss’. The Guardian 22 July. 

Batty, David (2020) ‘Off with the heads: Pitt Rivers Museum removes human remains from display’. The Guardian, 13 September. 

London Museum Development (2020) ‘E-update for London’s Museums – 27 July 2020: Culture&’s Black Lives Matter Charter’. London Museum Development. 27 July. 

Pes, Javier (2020) ‘Police search for Benin Bronze protestor—found guilty of ‘threatening behaviour’. The Art Newspaper, 24 September. 

RT (2020) ‘British museums accused of hypocrisy over BLM support, as charity boss likens colonial art to Nazi-looted artefacts’. RT.Com, 22 July.

Styles, David (2020) ‘Black Lives Matter: Museums should not destroy the spoils of our colonial past — but put them in context, says arts charity chief’. Inews, 27 August. 

 

Culture& CEO, Dr Errol Francis interviewed – Russia Today

 

RT (2020) ‘British museums accused of hypocrisy over BLM support’. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtPtUNJe3Y0&feature=emb_logo , (Accessed 29 September).

 

Coverage of Culture&, awarded a grant from Arts Council England Elevate Fund 

Joel Campbell (2020) ‘Culture& awarded grant from Arts Council England – Arts and heritage charity set to deliver on key aims and objectives which helped them to land cash.’ voice-online.co.uk, 21 January. 

 

Coverage of Culture&, 2019 New Museum School Graduation

Eleanor Mills (2020) ‘New Museum School celebrates second year of trainees – The 2018-19 cohort graduate into the art and heritage sector’. Museums Association, 4 December. 

 

Universal Library: Exotica

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Image: Martin Denny & His Band, 1958 from the album Forbidden Planet, musiceureka

The coinage of the term Exotica is usually attributed to co-founder and chairman of Liberty Records Simon Waronker in 1955 but it was Martin Denny’s 1957 album of the same name that provided the blueprint for this new musical movement.(1)

Denny along with other pioneers such as Les Baxter drew inspiration from a wealth of sources including French impressionist composer Debussy, Afro Cuban, and Latin Jazz, as well as sounds from the Polynesian and Pacific Islands.  Despite its gentle sound, Exotica music has its history steeped in 20th Century travel, colonial conquests, and war.

Exotica is a paper tiger in two senses of the phrase. It can be seen as somewhat ornamental, decorative and thin representation of other cultures but it can also be seen as something ineffective with a façade of power. The music can be beautifully dreamlike but beneath it bubbles a realm full of post world war II tensions and in some ways it acted as the soundtrack to a new Western world trying to put the pieces back together. World War II had meant that a range of nationalities had remained in Hawaii and the Americas. Americans had also stayed in Hawaii while airlines began to offer trans-Pacific flights.

The tropical soundscapes are characterised by percussion-heavy, pastiched compositions, juxtaposed against a traditional Jazz or orchestral setup, sometimes with chanting or drawn out, swelling vocal harmonies to conjure up these mystical images. The sounds seek to transport listeners to dramatic, theatrical, mythical dreamscapes that are reminiscent of Africa, Asia, the pacific and Polynesian islands, consequently creating a strong sense of Othering. In many ways compositions can sounds like a visual representation of ‘The Wall’ by Surrealist artist André Breton – a collection of authentic traditional objects, gathered together with no regard for location, only their aesthetic value.

With song names such as ‘Sophisticated Savage’, ‘Taboo’, ‘Tahitian Sunset’ and ‘Oasis of Dakhla’, Exotica hits a lot of ‘-isms’ – Exoticism, Eroticism and Orientalism to name a few. However, a big part of the sentiment of Exotica is about the listener attempting to cut oneself loose from authenticity to create something completely fabricated, it is oxymoronic and exists within its own conflicts. I would liken the experience of listening to Exotica as witnessing somebody dropping a fragile treasure, watching it fall but being suspended in the moment when it’s about to make contact with the ground – you recognise the fragility of the object but know that within it, there will be beautiful fragments.

The resourcefulness of Hip Hop samplers and beatmakers has seen them perform Kinstsugi on Exotica compositions with the genre living on in music by big hitters like J Dilla, Dj Premier, The Beastie Boys, Madlib, Flying Lotus, The Avalanches, Roots Manuva and The Pharcyde. Sun Ra has been recognised by some as the creator of a parallel to Exotica through Afrofuturism, crafting a uniquely Black Exotica with music for transportation away from Planet Earth and this is presented in the 2017 compilation ‘Exotica’(1956-1968) . The art of audio Kinstsugi is demonstrated expertly by Japanese electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra’s 1978 reworking of Martin Denny’s track ‘Firecracker’, a composition with explicit nods towards Chinese and Japanese traditional music.

Give armchair travelling a go and check out both tracks amongst some of the biggest names associated with Exotica in the Spotify playlist below.

 

  1. Debussy Redux: The Impact of His Music on Popular Culture, Matthew Brown, Indiana University Press, 2012

Universal Library: Exotica

Latest News
Image: Martin Denny & His Band, 1958 from the album Forbidden Planet, musiceureka

The coinage of the term Exotica is usually attributed to co-founder and chairman of Liberty Records Simon Waronker in 1955 but it was Martin Denny’s 1957 album of the same name that provided the blueprint for this new musical movement.(1)

Denny along with other pioneers such as Les Baxter drew inspiration from a wealth of sources including French impressionist composer Debussy, Afro Cuban, and Latin Jazz, as well as sounds from the Polynesian and Pacific Islands.  Despite its gentle sound, Exotica music has its history steeped in 20th Century travel, colonial conquests, and war.

Exotica is a paper tiger in two senses of the phrase. It can be seen as somewhat ornamental, decorative and thin representation of other cultures but it can also be seen as something ineffective with a façade of power. The music can be beautifully dreamlike but beneath it bubbles a realm full of post world war II tensions and in some ways it acted as the soundtrack to a new Western world trying to put the pieces back together. World War II had meant that a range of nationalities had remained in Hawaii and the Americas. Americans had also stayed in Hawaii while airlines began to offer trans-Pacific flights.

The tropical soundscapes are characterised by percussion-heavy, pastiched compositions, juxtaposed against a traditional Jazz or orchestral setup, sometimes with chanting or drawn out, swelling vocal harmonies to conjure up these mystical images. The sounds seek to transport listeners to dramatic, theatrical, mythical dreamscapes that are reminiscent of Africa, Asia, the pacific and Polynesian islands, consequently creating a strong sense of Othering. In many ways compositions can sounds like a visual representation of ‘The Wall’ by Surrealist artist André Breton – a collection of authentic traditional objects, gathered together with no regard for location, only their aesthetic value.

With song names such as ‘Sophisticated Savage’, ‘Taboo’, ‘Tahitian Sunset’ and ‘Oasis of Dakhla’, Exotica hits a lot of ‘-isms’ – Exoticism, Eroticism and Orientalism to name a few. However, a big part of the sentiment of Exotica is about the listener attempting to cut oneself loose from authenticity to create something completely fabricated, it is oxymoronic and exists within its own conflicts. I would liken the experience of listening to Exotica as witnessing somebody dropping a fragile treasure, watching it fall but being suspended in the moment when it’s about to make contact with the ground – you recognise the fragility of the object but know that within it, there will be beautiful fragments.

The resourcefulness of Hip Hop samplers and beatmakers has seen them perform Kinstsugi on Exotica compositions with the genre living on in music by big hitters like J Dilla, Dj Premier, The Beastie Boys, Madlib, Flying Lotus, The Avalanches, Roots Manuva and The Pharcyde. Sun Ra has been recognised by some as the creator of a parallel to Exotica through Afrofuturism, crafting a uniquely Black Exotica with music for transportation away from Planet Earth and this is presented in the 2017 compilation ‘Exotica’(1956-1968) . The art of audio Kinstsugi is demonstrated expertly by Japanese electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra’s 1978 reworking of Martin Denny’s track ‘Firecracker’, a composition with explicit nods towards Chinese and Japanese traditional music.

Give armchair travelling a go and check out both tracks amongst some of the biggest names associated with Exotica in the Spotify playlist below.

 

  1. Debussy Redux: The Impact of His Music on Popular Culture, Matthew Brown, Indiana University Press, 2012

Jazz Willett

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Jazz is based within the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow as part of the Learning team. Jazz will be helping deliver workshops, events and activities that focus on crafts and local history

Jazz is an interactive artist who creates experiences and stories around popular culture, nostalgia and the mundane. 

After graduating from Interaction Design Arts at University of the Arts London, they worked at the Feminist Film Distributor Cinenova, in addition to working as a Family Programme Volunteer. Jazz is interested in creating different resources, events and programming that can help make the museum sector accessible.

Siobhan Williams

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Siobhan is the New Museum School trainee based at the National Trust London office, and Osterley House located in Isleworth. Siobhan believes the traineeship is a perfect opportunity to gain experience within the cultural and heritage sector. In addition, Siobhan is assisting on the National Trust’s Corner Shop Stories project. This seeks to bring the fascinating social history of the corner shop to life. She believes hat everyone has a corner shop story to tell and that through listening to these stories, we have an opportunity to better understand ourselves and our local communities.

Jasmina Gharres

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Jasmina is placed with Royal Collection Trust, based in Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. Her work involves managing the collection across the various royal residences – with focus on preventative conservation, cataloguing, object moves and working with a collections management database. Deciding to gain some working experience before university, Jasmina took various internships and roles within contemporary art galleries, she developed skills and an interest in the practical element of heritage management. While working at the British Museum in education and object handling, she discovered an interest in museum collections and conservation – especially with historic sculpture and paintings. Jasmina hopes to carry on with enthusiasm and curiosity within the heritage sector and explore how our society has been affected by the art around us, and how we continue to interpret it. She also has an interest in poetry, often performing her work in various spoken word events around London – exploring topics such as mental health and autism within her work and working towards losing negative stigma and taboo by replacing them with artistic interpretations. Jasmina also spends her spare time tending to her allotment and inner-city balcony garden, an activity which she finds therapeutic and rewarding.  

Keilah Boyd

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A second-generation citizen, heritage has always been important to as a means of survival and representation. As a result, Keilah has always been interested in sociology and social histories of minority groups but never considered that these counted towards cultural heritage. After declining university offers and unable to find work/experience in the heritage sector, Keilah began working on small research projects and events with local musicians and it was here she first saw that the arts could be used as a really effective tool to connect with marginalised groups and this piqued my interest. It was also during this time that Keilah’s local council was due to begin a large development project. Having seen the impacts of gentrification in other parts of London, she thought it vital to engage the communities that the change would inevitably affect. Keilah was given the opportunity to assist in planning and conducting community outreach projects with the aim preserving local culture. At Sutton House, Keilah assists various community learning projects and hopes to find innovative ways to bring her interests in music and performance into creating effective and culturally enriching events and projects.

Gala Albas

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Gala is based at English Heritage in the Curatorial Department. In her role as an Interpretation and Learning Trainee, she supports on interpretation projects at a range of sites, as well as working with teams across the organisation, including gaining experience in collections, community engagement, digital content and learning resource development.

A recent MA Social Anthropology and Social History graduate at the University of Edinburgh, Gala is particularly interested in people’s stories and the lived experience of the past. Before joining the New Museum School, she worked and volunteered across the heritage, tourism and education sectors. In her final year of university, Gala worked on an exhibition which was displayed at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research Collections and showcased their best and most interesting material on the Scottish Enlightenment. She has also developed and facilitated workshops which enable young people to engage with the past, while also learning new skills.

Gala is excited to be a part of the New Museum School and looks forward to learning more about the sector with the cohort.

Eno Inwang

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Eno is based at the Culture& head office this year as the archives and digital media trainee, working to catalogue over 30 years’ worth of Culture& archival material at the London Metropolitan Archives, and helping to curate events and programmes based around them. In 2018, Eno graduated from the University of Manchester in History of Art with an interest in Abstraction, Occultism and the European Avant Garde of the 20th Century. In a quest to find the links between sentiments of the Avant Garde and Music he found himself specialising in Afrofuturism and Hauntology with both theories concerned with time, the social & political constructs we live in today as a result of our collective past, and creating new narratives by using different reference points in history. In his spare time, Eno hosts his own radio show, Universal Library, on Hackney’s Netil Radio, is a regular contributor to Pigalle Paris Radio and plays percussion for artists Forest Law and Julien Gasc.

Faustina Yawson

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While studying at the University of Birmingham Faustina was able to develop her interest in arts, history and heritage by undertaking a yearlong internship at the University of Birmingham Research and Cultural Collection in her final year. This allowed her to work on digitisation and research projects, broadening her understanding of the significant work heritage does in preserving and bringing to light different cultural and artistic traditions. After graduating, Faustina was able to build on her experience and aspirations of a career in heritage, by completing a placement at Gunnersbury Park Museum. This involved working closely with the museum’s collections and exhibitions, seeing how local history is used to reflect and inspire communities. Since starting the New Museum School and working in an archive, Faustina is exploring a new and exciting side of heritage. This has included working on the Culture& collection, a compilation of insightful interviews that discuss how music brings together ideas of identity, diaspora and migration.