School of Global Studies

Global Studies@WOMAD 2015

The school of Global Studies curated a stage this summer at the WOMAD Festival (World of Music, Art, and Dance) which took place between 24-26 July at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Global Voices at WOMAD

‘The beating heart of the festival’ said one visitor to the School of Global Studies’ Bedouin tent, jam-packed with thought-provoking, entertaining and diverse talks, presentations, workshops, film screenings, song, rap and rhythms.

WOMADCo-curated as Global Voices with WOMAD, highlights in the tent included a screening of Amir Amirani’s We Are Many - an important and highly acclaimed documentary about worldwide protests against the 2003 Iraq war. It was charismatically introduced by the University’s Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar who proudly walked around with a Global Studies t-shirt. Channel Four’s Jon Snow showed his full-fledged support while hosting the Q&A with the director:

‘It’s electrifying. An absolute must-see. Every person in Britain, across the world, needs to see it to avoid this sort of thing ever happening again’

The School venture started off with three people – Andrea Cornwall, Lyndsay Mclean and Raminder Kaur - doing a festival recce with a green gazebo in 2014. A year later, along with the invaluable help of several others including Rosa Weeks and Joseph Piercy, it turned into a three day series of events that became a creative, participatory and inspirational hub for people from all generations and walks of life.

WOMADAnother participant described the tent as an ‘extra-mural extension of the university’, referring to how staff and student pitched in to lead daily workshops and Talk Circles sessions. The pop-up summer school covered a host of topics including: ‘Gender(ed) Violence’, ‘Child Labour in Cocoa and Cotton’, ‘Labour Migration in India’, ‘Video Games, New Media Technologies and Indigenous Groups’, ‘Post-Earthquake Art in Nepal’, ‘Fighting with Writing’, ‘Participatory Photography and Film’, and ‘Kissing The Other’, a guided meditation session to explore anthropology as practice.

It was as one participant wrote in his feedback:

Festivals, the mela, like WOMAD are where the mix of ideas, stories and culture and generation HAPPEN - so it's the best place for research universities to engage with the WORLD.’

WOMADAnd to give you a taste of other happenings: comedian Sajeela Kershi gave a cheeky preview of her Edinburgh Fringe show Shallow Halal. Comedian, compere and writer Juliet Meyers, known for her appearances on Mock the Week, shared stories about her Iraqi-Indian heritage. Mercury Prize-nominated Sweet Billy Pilgrim added a tuneful set. Potent Whisper injected political urgency to the mix with his spoken word against neo-liberal exploitation and nuclear weapons. Mukul and Ghetto Tigers stimulated with their production, Ramayan War Games, and song and stories from around the world. Alda Terracciano covered evocative, multi-sensory memory maps of her transnational project Streets of…7 Cities in 7 Minutes. Artist-in-residence Barthélémy Toguo, engaged in conversation with Roger Malbert from London’s Hayward Gallery. And Sophia Efthimiou led an uplifting World Song in Harmony made up of passing festival goers. People left the tent singing, even on a day when the rain was unrelenting, prompting one person to feedback after a particularly poignant song on Nelson Mandela:

‘My heart melted and remains soft. Voices dancing together bring me to tears.  Remembering my roots brings up deep sadness in reflection of human disconnection, but also power and strength in remembering unity… our voices can meet as one, wherever we are from. Music unites us…Thank you.’

 As can be seen from other participants’ feedback, Global Voices left a deep and memorable mark. Watch this space for more of the same...

Thank you for giving WOMAD this wonderful space to hear such a rich variety of Global Voices.

The Bedouin tent provides an inspiring extra-mural extension of your University. Breaking out of the ivory tower.

The beating heart of the festival, I thoroughly enjoyed 'Global Voices' small communities that are made in the workshop.




May this fantastic inspirational and educational zone return next year.

Really enjoyable space with interesting talks, workshops, and people. Same again and more next year please.

Fantastic workshop. Fantastic Global Voices.

A super super tent. Great range. Great quality.


 WOMADAmir Amirani and Jon Snow

WOMADThanks Uni of Sussex for this fab WOMAD space - just had wonderful singing w/shop. Let's see this space again.

You've made a non-singer into a singer. Loved it!

Beautiful. It's so wonderful to have the time to use our voices together.

I feel energised and at one with the people around me.

It's rainy and wet. I felt cold, and after singing with the community and being completely lost in the song, I fell warm and full. Thanks.

It is great to have a tent  for singing workshop and other things. Thank you. Very uplifting in the rain.

Upliftment of my day so far - University of Sussex. Global Voices tent with Sophie. 'Singing Ourselves Home'.

WOMADSophia's workshop is amazing. I feel full of love and open-hearted, so much fun to sing in a big group of people with a space held so beautifully! Please come again!


Thank you Global Voices - a real highlight of WOMAD 2015.



Festival Virgin

By the side of the road, you bought your tent
WOMADAt the motorway services, 25 quid you spent
You believed the manufacturers who told a lie
When they claimed it would keep you nice and dry

The forecast said it would rain and rain
But you took no notice, and deserved the pain
When you got back late to find a pool
Engulfing your sleeping bag: oh what a fool!

Your footwear was sandals although you'd been told
Only wellies would do for the wet and the cold
You claimed you loved the squelchy mud
But deep inside you knew you'd boobed.

Your Pound Shop poncho wasn't good
The body became detached from the hood
And then as if for a spiteful encore
From the neck to the hem it finally tore

But the music was great and the craic was exciting
The food was quite tasty, and the Global tent inviting.
So with new tent and wellies and suitable rain gear
Like a seasoned old camper, you'll be back again next year.

Clare Rogers, School of Global Studies