Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 50

THE ARTS, PARTICIPATION, AND GLOBAL INTERESTS In the final large-group plenary session, Velani Dibba connected anger as an emotional process to political tensions, only days after the violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and counter-protesters. Velani characterised anger as an entity that communicates the need for change faster than logic allows; she called for artists to harness that quality in their art as a powerful tool for awareness and advocacy. Jenna Ashton’s poignant comments on the social dynamic in Durham, England, and the role of art echoed that of Velani’s and provided a transnational comparison. According to Jenna, Durham has a large working-class population that has been decimated by the collapse of the local mining industry, but also a vibrant progressive culture centred around the local university. She said that employment-insecure working-class males in Durham oscillate between resentment against their elite neighbors and intra-class pressures to perform masculinity, causing socio-economic anxiety in the absence of a vibrant union culture that had once provided a space for collective grievances. Comparisons between American and British cultures have purchase for intellectual and action-based work, but are also limited as Western case studies. Likewise, Faisal reminded the group in his opening remarks that there is “Eastern anger” and “Western anger.” His comments made clear that while these terms need to be discussed in context of globalisation and transnational exchanges, the anger and anxiety as conceptions are not necessarily universal. Likewise, Adbulkarim Ekzayez stated near the end of the largegroup discussion that anger is culturally relative, as he does not his emotional experiences according to the same terminology as the other Fellows. The Fellows were publicly intrigued that Abdulkarim exhibited the least amount of anger in the opening exercises and videos, despite having experienced the conflict in Syria first-hand. He is one of three Fellows with such experience; Reem and Jumana Al-Yasiri have also been affected personally. Their stories about the violence yielded great insight, but also focused today’s discussion on political action and unrest. Douglas Lonie argued that if anyone was to ask a protester (or Trump voter, or Brexit supporter) why they are angry, the person’s answer will show that it is always more than just the inciting event, such as a toppled Confederate statue in the American South. He reminded the group that the Remain campaign’s armada of statistics and facts still lost to the unsubstantiated narratives Nigel Farage�the Leave campaign’s de facto leader� spun out. His comments aligned with the sentiments expressed previously today by Velani and Chankethya Chey. Chankethya related anger to the color black. She said anger was keystone to emotional extremes that does not provide spaces to think. Her comments could certainly be applied to those voters who rejected the researched arguments the Remain and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns produced. Chris Creegan was mindful of the discussion that anger and anxiety can motivate social, 49