Arts and culture

Meet the Arts and Culture Interns: Michi Masumi


Meet the Arts and Culture Interns: Michi Masumi

The Arts and Culture team is thrilled to welcome five student interns who will be working with us over the 2023-2024 academic year. We’ve asked each of them to introduce themselves in a blog post.

Michi supported and photographed many of the recent Canterbury Festival lunchtime concerts and gives us insight into those experiences.

A&C Intern Michi Masumi

Welcome to the vibrant world of Arts and Culture at Canterbury Christ Church University: A Glimpse into the Creative World of Canterbury Festival 2K23!

In the heart of our vibrant university, a rich tapestry of arts and culture unfolds every day. From riveting exhibitions and performances to thought-provoking discussions, there’s a captivating world of creativity waiting to be discovered on our campus. And at the crossroads of this artistic haven is someone eager to be your guide.

I’m Michi Masumi, a photographer, artist, poet, and a first year PhD research student delving into the Culture, Politics and Activism of Black British Arts and Intersectionality. I’m also one of a team of interns who works within the Arts and Culture Team.

I invite you to embark on a journey with me, into the  university’s arts and culture scene. Together we’ll uncover the essence of art, culture, and the diverse stories that shape our community. Join us as we celebrate creativity, embrace diversity, and learn how the arts play a pivotal role in our shared experience at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a culture connoisseur, or simply someone curious about the vibrant world around you, CCCU’s Arts and Culture blog is your window into the kaleidoscope of experiences that await. So, fasten your seatbelts, open your minds, and let’s embark on a journey of artistic exploration together.

Welcome to the intersection of creativity and academia. Welcome to the world of Canterbury Christ Church University’s Arts and Culture. Let’s dive in!

Canterbury Festival 2K23, I am sure many of you know about this great annual event, but for those who don’t, a bit of history… The festival started in the 1920s By George Bell, a Dean of Canterbury.  It is a celebration of international arts, which include music, visual arts, cinema, and theatre. This year the festival is supported by Partner and Principal Sponsor: Canterbury Christ Church University, and many other organisations, trusts, businesses and educational institutes.

This year, I attended three of the many events: the first event was Latin American Guitar Music from Spanish and Portuguese Diaspora at St Martin’s Church (This is the oldest church in England, believed to be as old as the 4th Century before AD400). What can I not say about this simply beautiful historical church, and the surroundings of the grounds? I felt like I was in a Thomas Hardy novel, secret spots to hide, rest, be thoughtful and, inside? Well, the ambience was like a Kardashian date night, romantic, spiritual, a step back into early England!

Introduction commenced… then the first string of the guitar was plucked, and the stories of Latin American life was told gently, affectionately and respectfully. By talented guitarists: Jeff Alexander (Professor of Guitar at CCCU), Classical guitarist Gareth Balch and their invited guests.

A free lunchtime concert, that was intimate, the audience which packed out St Martin’s seemed, just like me, to have enjoyed the whole experience. I felt nostalgic as my grandmother was Ecuadorian and hearing the acoustics of her heritage being played in such an alluring space, I felt a bit emotional. I left acknowledging I might be biased!  A concert that leaves you at peace, joyful, and feeling appreciative.

Trio Manor Manouche on campus in the Chapel was my second free event of the festival. Nevil Willis and Thomas Abrahams (guitarists) and Jarrod Coombes (double bass), formed the concert trio.  I had the opportunity to observe the trio pre-performance and they really seemed excited about showcasing their musical style.

The Chapel is in the Anselm building, which gets its name from Saint Anselm, a famous philosopher (1033-1109) who discovered the “ontological argument” and it is a collaborative environment consisting of a  contemporary bright airy space filled with large glass window panels. Yet at the same time absorbed vibrancy is clear, through its rich displays of historical narratives through visual art, literature and ornaments. It beckons you in with a warm welcome and the wall tapestry gives you a bear hug as you enter.

So, it made absolute sense to me once I had arrived and the performance had started, why this venue was ideal for European Jazz comprising of traditional Gypsy Swing repertoire, original compositions and contemporary music. Had me tapping my feet and wanting to sway to the sounds of history.  At this point, I feel spoilt, a lover of many genres of music. Christmas has indeed arrived early.

Celebrating Arts for Health and Wellbeing, directed by Professor Angela Pickard, was my final event of this year’s Canterbury Festival. Located in Anselm studios, this was a mixed arts project, using film, theatre, dance, film, and photography.

The project began on the stage with contemporary movement and dance. The performance had a freedom of expression. It was followed by a short silent film with a musical score that one could connect with.

The interlude…our very own CCCU’s Gospel choir, check them out, they have regular performances  throughout the year.

The complementary exhibition ‘DISCONNECTED’, by Charlotte Grainger from the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, explores DPDR (Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder). Through a photographic display of the lived experience, accompanied by film and spoken word. Grey Disorientation was the aesthetics’ of the exhibition, with the installation creating a maze feel as you move between the large portraits, drawing you in to stop and contemplate the world through the reality of those who live the DSDR.

One may say maybe I really connected with this project due to photography, however the connection is through my personal understanding of living with Mental Health and the positive impact that the arts has brought to my life.

A moving and honest artistic project. Cannot wait for what is coming next from CCCU’s Art, Health and Wellbeing Projects.

A great finale for my first Canterbury festival experience.

And on that note, I look forward to seeing you next year at Canterbury Festival.

Don’t forget to follow CCCU’s Arts and Culture for more events, news, and interactions from the blogging team.

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