Tag Archives: Arts Enterprise

Faith and Fear: an experiment in history, music, and film

Pete David, singer-songwriter of the acclaimed Sheffield Americana band The Payroll Union, finds inspiration in an unlikely place: the nineteenth-century United States. The band’s first album, The Mule and the Elephant (2012), explored the seventy years that followed the Declaration of Independence, with songs about democracy, slavery, and empire-building. Now, with the help of an Arts Enterprise grant, Pete has joined up with filmmaker Cathy Soreny from Optical Jukebox and Andrew Heath in the History department to work on an album set in antebellum Philadelphia: decades in which a city founded by Quakers as a haven of religious tolerance became (as one contemporary put it) “the most anarchical metropolis on this side [of] the Atlantic”.  Focusing on the racial, religious, and social strife that brought civil war to the city’s streets, the project combines film, music, and historical scholarship while asking questions about how we tell stories about the past. After previewing some of the songs at the Sensoria Festival in September, The Payroll Union officially launched Faith and Fear at the Harley on 21 October, and over the next few months there will be several events leading up to the recording of the album in April. If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch with Andrew Heath.

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Parliamentary Review on Higher Education

Professor Michael Braddick, Professor of History, who recently completed a term of office as Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, was asked to contribute to the Parliamentary Review‘s edition on Higher Education.

Arts Enterprise: a shining example of the Faculty’s external engagement activities

In his contribution, Mike considers how the new fees regime has challenged universities to demonstrate the value of what they do demonstrate the value of what they do and he outlines our Faculty’s response to this by “redoubling our efforts to show the benefits of our work for the personal development and future prospects of our students, and for society at large”.

He discusses how “arts and humanities disciplines offer insights into all aspects of our individual and collective lives. Our teaching puts students alongside people pushing at the limits of current knowledge and understanding. As a result, students learn about complexity – complex social phenomena, complex texts and complex personal experiences.”

Mike also considers the University’s civic roots and discusses the role the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The University “was founded partly on the basis of penny donations from the working people of the city, who believed that a university would transform the life, health and prospects of the city and its people. This civic commitment is not in conflict with our commitment to research and teaching excellence. That internationally recognised excellence is something of which our staff are justifiably very proud. Far from being a tension, it is this excellence that makes our research such a powerful force for good, and our teaching such a transformative experience for our students.”

The article also features examples of the Faculty’s external engagement activities, including Arts Enterprise. These activities link researchers with a wide range of external partners to “help local educational, heritage, community and arts organisations fulfil their missions by drawing on the talents of our academic staff”.

Mike’s full article can be read here.

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