Keeping it Real? Applied Critical theory research and Community arts activism

Keeping it Real? BBC music and video project, as part of the AHRC Being Human and BPS Community Psychology Festivals, 2015

Academic Lead: Dr Ornette D Clennon with Blue Matthews-Mason

Publications and Outputs

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This project was part of a wider community campaign to save a local heritage centre called Nello James. Read more about it here.

MMU Press


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.


UN Voice

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in partnership with BBC Outreach hosted Keeping it Real? an event in Being Human 2015, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. This involved 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. Young people were mentored by BBC staff and members from the CLR James Community Action Trust to compose a musical track (grime/hip hop/drum’n’bass fusion) with members of the BBC Philharmonic that explored their perceptions of BAME youth cultural representation (themes taken from my book Urban Dialectics, the Market and Youth Engagement: The ‘Black’ Face of Eurocentrism?) The young people were also mentored in filming and photography to make a documentary of the project to be shown alongside the performance at the final event. The project consisted of creative sessions that were held on campus at MMU on October 27th , November 5th and November 11th and a performance at the BBC, Media City on November 20th . 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.

Here is a film of the encore performance at the BBC

 Gallery of our pictures, here.

Some Memories…

Keeping it Real? Research as Intervention, Youth Activism and Community Empowerment via the use of Participatory Arts: Research Project

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Related Posts

The Role and Relevance of Interdisciplinary Research in Community Activism in a Post Brexit United Kingdom, 12.10.16

Populism, the era of Trump and the rise of the far right

EU Referendum: Will We Stay or Will We Go? Can modern Pan Africanism help us to visualise a future of justice and equity post Referendum? 22.6.16 — Academic Creative Enterprise

On Race and the Referendum

Hercules, Urban Dialectics and The Market (reposted and adapted from Criticl) 4.6.16 — Academic Creative Enterprise

Back to the Research Page, here.