The Arts in Twickenham

Dominic Cummings says there is little point in doing an arts degree.

The Festival of Humanities at St Mary’s University on 4th and 5th March was an eloquent reply to his political statecraft. The Festival demonstrated that the Humanities are important because they make a community feel good! An essential part of this heightened sense of well-being is interacting with culture beyond our day-to-day experience. There was plenty of distinctive culture over the two days. Professor Sarah Churchwell spoke on the Public Understanding of the Humanities; her colourful keynote was flecked with references to F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and the Delta Blues. There was a stunning performance of Afro Caribbean/Blues music with Keith Waithe on flute and Robert Hokum on guitar and vocals. Hokum performed again with the brilliant Anjan Saha, Divyan and Caird and Nafees who augmented Hokum’s blues with veena and tabla.

There were interactive workshops on poetry, puppetry and talks on Public History and Film. Local publisher Cheryl Robson (Aurora Metro Books) demonstrated the rich heritage on our doorstep by discussing two of Aurora’s books: Peter Fullagar’s Virginia Woolf in Richmond and J.C. Wheatley’s The British Beat Explosion: Rock ‘N’ Roll Island, the latter chronicles famous bands, including The Rolling Stones and The Who, who’ve played at the legendary Eel Pie Hotel on Eel Pie Island in Twickenham. More arts next month!

Dr Richard Mills is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Popular Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Contact: richard.mills@stmarys.ac.uk
Twitter: @runkerry

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