Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 42

ARTS & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS being heard. Relating his own experience and motivations as a performer, Faisal argued that the presence of noise is not necessarily a good thing in every theatrical context. Likewise, Puneeta Roy reminded the group that the play was conceived as a “street play” for younger Indian audiences; she voiced disagreement over the other Fellows’ assess- ment of the production as a “stage play” that used the voice of underprivileged minors. The realities of Lal Batti Express’ performers inspired the Fellows to pivot to the condi- tions of their work as artists and arts practitioners. Invoking Abdulkarim’s call for stan- dardisation of practices in the arts, Caitlin Nasema Cassidy argued for coordinated ad- vocacy in the arts and cultural sectors. Her comments provoked a thoughtful discussion between several fellows on how artists use their voice to affect social change. Happening at the close of today’s session, this dialogue successfully bookended the Voice/Silence’s group stated goal to analyse how voice and silence are used in theatre and the outside world.  Jane Saren’s reflections Recognising that we live at a time of political polarisation and adversial political debate and policy discussion, can art help us create open conversations and better connecting of people holding different perspectives and convictions? We reflected that there are cru- cial differences between art and political messaging e.g. the pressure to create a cohesive message is political; whilst in art there is no expectation of immediate results and rather a recognition that it is over time that the stories are made. Art can create the space in which transformational change can begin. It is more powerful when subtle, ambiguous, learning space for the individual audience member to create their own meaning. We need to let art have the complexity that makes it art. Xenia Hanusiak’s reflections The topic raises aesthetic, political and sociological questions, bringing awareness to the concepts of silence as equally powerful, and equally detonating values in action. From an aesthetic point of view every creative act is governed by the choices of how silence and voice are enacted in acts of theatre, music, dance and visual arts—in terms of socio- logical and political questions the topic offers the opportunity to examine whose voices are being heard and represented in society and whose are being silenced. This question then leads us to consider who is delivering the message, is the message delivered on be- half of a silenced voice and if so is the distilled voice an authentic representation of the voice—“other” leading us to consider questions of censorship, media control and erasure. Eona Craig’s reflections Our group took part in a knowledgeable and passionate discourse about giving, taking, hearing, using, losing, empowering and manipulating voice. 42