Cultural collaboration in Shetland: coping with and transcending urban-rural radical differences
Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes (University of Aberdeen / Universidade Metropolitana de Santos)
Paper short abstract:
How do sociomusical experiences afford transcending barriers based on perceptions of ‘radical’ differences? I compare my experiences in two Shetland based projects, ‘Ignition’ and ‘Back from Beyond,’ to explore how urban attitudes about rural communities shape perceptions of cultural difference.
Paper long abstract:
This paper analyzes audiovisual materials from fieldwork in the Shetland Isles, northern Scotland, where I became an active participant in the local music scene. I focus on research participants' experiences with two large collaborative sociomusical projects that took place in 2013 - 'Ignition,' a production led by the National Theatre of Scotland, and 'Back from Beyond,' a project led by two socially aware and involved local women. I played electric guitar for 'Ignition' and produced two music videos for 'Back from Beyond.' 'Back from Beyond' managed to generate relationships between a sense of place and art by affording collaborations between filmmakers and music-makers inspired by local landscapes. The more 'professionalized 'Ignition' production was perceived as culturally and economically exploitative by locals, especially musicians. 'Ignition' transformed almost beyond recognition a local proposal for a theatre project about road safety conceived after the death of a young Shetland actor in a motor accident. 'Back from Beyond' was purposefully conceived in contrast with 'Ignition,' which housed its professional staff on expensive flats, with salaries while expecting locals to contribute massive amounts of time for no pay. 'Back from Beyond' promoted a number of local musical acts, generated original music videos, audio recordings and dialect poetry, showcased the talents of people with disabilities, compensated production technicians, put up a major concert celebration that compelled more people to create more art inspired by landscapes, and commissioned locally a website where content can be shared and showcased, and where places and artists are credited and celebrated.
Difference in an interconnected world