It was with great pleasure, I collaborated with the brilliant minded Mandana Seydfinnipur to create “Home Speak” as part of the School of Oriental and African Studies ‘Language Festival 2017.’ Seydfinnipur, director of the Department of Ancient and Dying Languages wanted to shake up the SOAS Institution for a moment for International Mother Tongue Day.
In an age of miscommunication and #alternativefacts, it is becoming increasingly important that we have words available us to effectively communicate our experiences and ideas for better human connectivity. Language enables us to communicate our most complex intellectual thoughts and our fundamental human emotions.
So, in partnership with SOAS Spoken Word Society, I ran a workshop which used the arts works of Mary Kuper & Eveling Villa entitled ‘Metaphors We Live By.’
“These images are inspired by the way in which the body, that universal human form,
gives rise to countlessly varied metaphors and metonyms in diverse languages. Using the
Endangered Languages Archive resources and linguistic studies, these pictures explore how language channels what it is to be human, through blood and guts, hearts and eyes.”– Link to Full Festival Brochure
The next day in the large atrium space of SOAS’s Senate House, we Spoken Word flash mobbed unwitting students who joined the audience in the ‘impromptu’ performance. Invited artists who performed were master Kora player, Griot and composer, Jally Kebba Sousso; poets, Indigo Williams, Shareefa Grassroots and Voices That Shake Poets Annie Rockson, Nicole Nienhaus, Tanya Denhere.
The Home Speak workshop and the poetry event explored the languages we speak, can’t speak and don’t speak and connected ideas of diversity, ethnicity and belonging.
As a collaboration, we celebrated the richness of language and communication that makes us feel at home, that expresses our inner world and how languages enable us to understand and live in the world, understand each other and our own inner lives.
Read the SOAS Language Festival Blog