Spring School Keynote Listener Report (May 2019)

Published: 1 September 2020

Catrin Evans gives a poetic response as Keynote Listener at the 2019 UNESCO RILA Spring School

Spring School 2019 Catrin Evans Keynote

I hear music
I hear the stories of geese
and the histories of gathering that hold us in this space
I hear invitations to nourish
I hear the names of children celebrated
and then my own children’s names
It is their world
I feel a lump in my throat
I hear an invitation to share and untangle
I hear of Katsandè crossing the river
           rest reflect laugh cry
I hear jokering
I hear the words of Tom Leonard
           reminding us not to be complicit
           that it is the government that is wrong
I hear of the fight against racism and poverty
I hear the story of drumchapel high changing
I hear those words
I hear the stories of big and small victories
           and a reminder that the fight continues
I hear Amal
           and the realisation that ‘we don’t know where we are going’
I hear the urge to act
I hear the power of dialogue and communication
Every time we think we are going forward, we go back
I hear about artwork as story
I hear We are the light
           We are delicious
I hear about the impact of moral outrage
I hear talk of tools for creating bridges
           and learning about the contexts that give space for racism
I hear about young people wanting to challenge racism
I hear people standing one by one and all together
I hear about legal duties of care
           and I ask myself about whether these formal procedures have a racialised dynamic
I hear about older children talking to younger children
I hear about reparations
           finally starting to pay what we owe
I hear stories of cultural mistakes, of intersections and broken expectations
I hear the shongo hitting my cup
I hear the sound of my own coughing again and again
I hear that culture is the sum total of the way of life of a people
I hear people trying
Shared language does not mean a shared culture
I hear Eurocentric definitions of culture
           I hear my footsteps moving to another space
I hear about the power of youse
I hear the interrogation of ‘where are you from’
I hear about the limbo space of losing one’s own language whilst not yet mastering another
I hear the power of human interaction
The power of activism and radical practice
I hear the pressure of time pressing on
I hear a search for solutions
I hear chatter
I hear about the importance of relationships
I hear stories of aspirations
I hear about culturally responsive teaching and fighting against assimilationist ideologies
I hear about the importance of gardens and what green means
I hear the story of a young woman trying new adventures
I hear the need to revolutionise access to public transport to allow people to access the environments they want to be in
I hear that home-cooking is important
I hear Scotland is diversifying – so how can our food reflect that
I hear about Yemini porridge
I hear lots of bashing
           and talking
           and more bashing
I hear shared labour
I hear the intersections of language and the interruptions of border control
I hear about buffer zones
I hear about artists making work in an attempt to prevent the past war repeating itself
I hear about struggles to be recognised
I hear laughter through the window of a locked door
I hear the word CULTURE
I hear the word DETENTION and the sound of fingers pressing buttons on a phone
I hear about people fighting to find a home
I hear about trying to share stories that are being ignored
I hear that everyone has authority over their own story
I hear my own heartbeat
I hear about language as music
I hear Tawona running
I hear about hospitality
I hear ‘first we will feed you and then you can tell us your story’
I hear about breaking the binaries of us and them
I hear deconstruct
I hear about challenging neo-liberal values
I hear about the importance of critical awareness before taking the step to act
I hear about how university networks can run counter to the state
           if we make them
I hear about mind, soul, spirituality, ethics, values and worldviews
I hear about coming together through photography
I hear the Self and the Land
I hear about the media being hungry for trauma
I hear about refusing that
I hear about the place of pride and how that connects to agency
I hear about the link between past lives and present time
I hear that sitting in our differences is where our work happens
I hear reciprocity
I hear about being free of the immigration bureau
I hear stepping in and stepping out
Stepping in and stepping out
Stepping in
Stepping out

First published: 1 September 2020