Post-graduate arts students meet the artists of Notting Hill Carnival; an ongoing programme by Middlesex University London to develop and promote carnival arts. The pioneering work of Adela Ruth Tompsett

Dines, Mike ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9706-979X, Shah, Haroun N., Daykin, Joanna, Beaven, Zuleika ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4470-3034 and Evans, François ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5480-5494 (2022) Post-graduate arts students meet the artists of Notting Hill Carnival; an ongoing programme by Middlesex University London to develop and promote carnival arts. The pioneering work of Adela Ruth Tompsett. International Journal of Carnival Arts, 5 . pp. 83-96. ISSN 2752-342X [Article]

Abstract

As part of a continuing programme at Middlesex University that was begun nearly four decades ago by Principal Lecturer Adela Ruth Tompsett, eleven postgraduate students from the university were taken to meet and see first-hand the work of some of the key artists and organisers of Notting Hill Carnival [NHC] on Thursday 19th May. The three key elements of the traditional carnival that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the late 18th century, Calypso, Masquerade [Mas] and Steelpan are entrenched in the work and performances of the Carnival Village (Tabernacle and Yaa Centre). These elegant buildings serve as both functional centres for these artforms and as a type of ‘museum’ due to their rich resources that have been built up over 57 years of NHC. The visit was set up against the historical background of the NHC, meeting artists of the three key disciplines. From the outset it was made abundantly clear that NHC was not just a street party, but in the words of Tompsett ‘it is also a statement of presence and celebration of identity in the Black British community. As art form it is total theatre. This is Notting Hill Carnival. It is a Caribbean-derived festival, which has developed out of a specific history and a particular set of circumstances.’ (Tompsett, 2007). The author further states that a ‘Recognition of that history is key to understanding the nature of Notting Hill Carnival as both performance and exploration of identity.’ In the past, the university’s role has been based mainly on facilitating students who were largely of Caribbean descent, or those who already had such an interest and recruited the necessary tutors to devise specific modules for study. This visit was an experiment in that none of the students were indigenous to the Caribbean but instead came from very different parts of the world where NHC is unknown. However, they were all post-graduate students, specialising in a broad spectrum of art forms, but, unlike previous groups, had no prior lectures on NHC nor carnival in general. Coming out of two years of COVID-19 restrictions and online education, their anxiety and apprehension at the commencement was noticeable, but contrasted sharply with their singing, dancing and laughter when they ended the day playing steelpan using the instruments of the legendary Ebony Steelband. This paper reports each of their views of this experiment and its impact on Middlesex University Arts programmes against a background of work initiated by Ruth Tompsett.

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Theme:
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Music group
Item ID: 35514
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Depositing User: Mike Dines
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2022 09:32
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2022 09:38
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35514

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