Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 39

THE ARTS, PARTICIPATION, AND GLOBAL INTERESTS The Global Cultural Fellows held their first meeting this morning in Edinburgh. On the heels of seeing Don Giovanni the night before, five fellows commenced group-wide dis- cussions on the cultural terms “highs” and “lows.” Ellen Heyward, Lolisanam Ulugova, and Velani Dibba used their presentation times to examine the connections between highs and lows and social class. Ellen and Velani both acknowledged how high culture is associated with socio-economic privilege, but advocated against understanding high and low as a competition between groups. Velani equated participation in the arts with omnivore consumption, referencing that many people listen to both opera and pop music with equal pleasure. Citing examples of dig- ital technologies to advance literacy, Ellen argued that highs and lows—even with their associations to social class—can be inverted in cultural practices and spaces. Luis Felipe Ferra complemented Ellen’s argument on inversion in his talk on the history of jazz music in North America. Luis argued that jazz has occupied both cultural highs and lows, often simultaneously, since its start as a music