Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with BBC Outreach to host event for national humanities festival, 15.11.15


Update – 15.6.16

You can watch the trailer for the film, here.

MMU Press


NEWS RELEASE – KEEPING IT REAL? Being Human Festival 2015

I am really having a great time working on this project (via our Critical Race and Ethnicity Research Cluster – creatively exploring themes from my recent book whilst underpinning the participatory activities with applied quasi experimental research)! I will post more when we’ve performed at the BBC on the November 20th and when the BBC film about the project is complete. Keep your eyes, peeled!

Event date: November 20th 2015

Using music and video, Keeping it Real? explores young people’s attitudes towards the representation of BAME communities in the media and popular culture and how this representation shapes wider attitudes towards crime.

 Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in partnership with BBC Outreach is hosting Keeping it Real? an event in Being Human 2015, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. This involves working with young people from the community organisations CLR James Community Trust and Making Education a Priority (MEaP), members from the BBC Philharmonic and wider staff from the BBC.

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Camera. Lights. Action! Our young people from the C.L.R. James Community Trust working with staff from the BBC

Photo. Courtesy of Blue Matthews-Mason, C.L.R. James Community Trust

Young people will be mentored by BBC staff and members from CLR James Community Trust to compose a musical track (grime/hip hop/drum’n’bass fusion) with members of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra that will explore their perceptions of BAME youth cultural representation. The young people will also be mentored in filming and photography to make a documentary of the project to be shown alongside the performance at the final event. The project is already in full swing with creative sessions that were held on campus at MMU on October 27th, November 5th  and November 11th.


Angeli Sweeney (workshop leader) working with young people on their songwriting skills.

Photo. Courtesy of Blue Matthews-Mason, C.L.R. James Community Trust

For more photos, click here

The event was selected to be part of Being Human by the festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the British Academy (BA) with support from the Wellcome Trust.

 Keeping it Real? aims to engage the public in participatory and creative research on youth community activism as the project forms part of a local piece of community activism to save the cultural heritage of the Nello James Community Centre in Whalley Range, Manchester. The final event will be held during the festival week, which runs from 12–22 November, on November 20th, Dock 10, BBC Media City, M50 2BH.

Dr Ornette Clennon, Visiting Enterprise Fellow and Project Leader, MMU said: “This is a unique opportunity to publically showcase the wider impact of academic research into the importance of culture, heritage and identity for our local communities. By creatively working with our community partners and the BBC, I am thrilled that academic research, community engagement and creative participation have powerfully come together to highlight an important aspect of urban regeneration (renewal) for our local residents”

 As part of an 11 day national programme of big ideas, big debates and engaging activities for all ages, the event aims to champion the excellence of humanities research being undertaken in the Northwest help to demonstrate the vitality and relevance of this today and showcase how the humanities help us understand ourselves, our relationships with others and the challenges we face in a changing world.

 During the inaugural festival in 2014 over 60 universities and cultural organisations organised over 160 free events sharing the best and most challenging thinking in the humanities with audiences across the country. Extending beyond face-to-face interactions in the UK, the festival crossed borders on the web, reaching more than 2.2 million across Twitter and website visitors from around the globe.

 The 2015 festival programme promises to be exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking, with something for everyone in our diverse communities.

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