Dare to be kind - University of Sussex shows the way
Kindness is essential for our wellbeing – not just as individuals, but society as a whole.
That was the theme of Kind Rebellion, a performance of music, film and debate that celebrates kindness in all its forms at the University of Sussex’s Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on World Kindness Day (Wednesday 13 November).
Professor Robin Banerjee, who heads the Sussex Kindness Research network at the University, explains: “Kindness isn’t just about individual acts of kindness. It’s also about creating a culture where we can come together with different perspectives, recognise and celebrate those differences, and share and exchange ideas in a respectful and kind way.”
Kind Rebellion is a performance of music, poetry, short films and animation composed and performed by members of New Note Orchestra. New Note is a Brighton-based charity that uses music and storytelling to help people recover from addiction.
Molly Matthieson, who founded New Note, said: “Kindness is vital for recovery from addiction and mental wellbeing. The reason we started this project is that people in recovery from addiction have to practice kindness on a daily basis in order to stay sober. Helping each other in the early days of recovery is vital for survival, so in some ways they have had to adapt to a new way of life by being kind.”
The orchestra was followed by a panel discussion about the latest psychology research and brain science about being kind. They also explored why kindness should be integrated into the structure of government, communities and businesses.
The panel included researchers from the University of Sussex, University of Essex, London School of Economics and Bernadette Russell, kindness campaigner & author of The Little Book of Kindness.
“Kindness matters now more than ever as it provides us with a shield to defend ourselves against fear and anxiety, both rife in an uncertain world,” said Bernadette Russell.
The New Note Orchestra will also perform Kind Rebellion at St Mary in the Castle in Hastings on Sunday 17 November and The Brighthelm Centre in Brighton at on Saturday 30November.