explore why encounters with difference matter in ETHER members’ research or practice, questions that arise from this work and examples of initiatives that foster meaningful encounters with difference.

Thandanani Gumede, Integrated Artist

In this chat, Thanda Gumede, a musician and performer, reflects on his experience with the ETHER project, what motivated him to take part in it and how it resonates with his work. Thanda reflects on the discussions about art, music and museums and even performs a short extract from the poem that he learnt by heart as a child to remember his ancestry names.

Lara-Stephanie Krause, Institute of African Studies at Leipzig University

Lara talks about her academic interests and explains how ETHER resonates with her work. Lara’s reflections on Seminar 1 highlight the intertwined nature of musical practice and education about one’s ancestral heritage and the way in which this plays out in social interactions (discussed by Thanda Gumede). She also reflects on how the concept of ‘sameness’ can often cancel out the possibility of relation (discussed by Rosine Kelz). And finally, she explains why she is drawn to the call for “humanising the sign language interpreter” (discussed by Stephanie Kent) in relation to her own critical approaches to language and meaning making which counter narratives of language as information transmitter.

Dominic Gray, Director of Projects at Opera North in Leeds

Dominic discusses why Opera North is excited about exploring the ethics and aesthetics of encountering the other through the ETHER network. He reflects on the potential of ‘the third space’ that opens up when arts organisations reflect and act on the intersections between these two dimensions. He also ponders the responsibility that cultural organisations have in creating spaces for meaningful interactions across people’s diverse artistic and cultural practices.

Louise Dearden, Parinita Shetty, Ana Korzun, ETHER Project Assistants

Louise, Pari, and Ana discuss their involvement in ETHER as postgraduate project assistants. They reflect on the value of interdisciplinary exchange that the ETHER network affords and chat about what they look forward to in Seminar 1: The Art of Seeing and Hearing the Other.