Arnolfini gallery exterior

What Does Culture Mean to You?

Bristol, Workshop

My personal initial response was complete utter blankness.

Culture? Wait, what?

In hindsight it’s so utterly diverse, yet such a similar versatile store of a value, after a while I couldn’t stop thinking deeply as if ‘culture’ had always been such a profound element in my everyday life. And funnily enough, after the first Teenage Kicks research project workshop looking into what culture means to young people, I discovered that of course culture does have such intense and deep emotions attached to it because it’s part of what forms an identity.

The culture – the people, activities, places – you surround yourself with are all influential in forming your identity.

So yes, initially I was slightly apprehensive going to today’s afternoon workshop at Arnolfini because I didn’t consider myself to be well astute on the topic of ‘culture’. From academia alone the only form of ‘culture’ I had come across to accept as plausible was that in Religious Education or PSHE lessons about ethics, ethnicity, and religion, but this idea of culture being a form I could associate myself with never really crossed my mind.

‘Culture’ wasn’t something I did, it was something I knew about that happened somewhere else.

But soon enough I discovered I had all sorts to say.

The workshop was built around firstly formulating the idea of culture through word and object association activities that, for me, really helped broaden my concept of ‘culture’ to being able to simply include things dear to me. And most importantly, there was a real emphasis on there being no right or wrong answer to anything because every point was valid for the reason of it simply existing.

Afterwards we were then asked to answer different questions dotted around the room, like ‘which cultural forms or activities do you engage with the most?’, with post-it notes and it was quite intriguing to notice the room verbally quieten as the mental bolts went off on one like clockwork.

It was after this that we were given the chance to discuss the different ideologies and feelings of the intimate group of seven. It was incredible to be given the opportunity to consider and develop differing and similar viewpoints, with this idea of ‘open-mindedness’ being key to everything. Thus, keeping this in mind we discussed everything from academia to the arts to music to fashion to celebrities to social media to communities and cities, and a lot more! And best of all it was fabulous to have different insights to varying and complementary views as it not only helped to broaden my knowledge but was a great way to ascertain my own opinions.

So, I’m pretty stoked for the next session and would like to thank the ever-so-wonderful Kamina Walton for once again providing us Young Arnolfini members with continuous opportunities and Emma Pett and Dr. Helen Manchester from the University of Bristol for arranging such a brilliant interactive project to really voice young people’s opinions.

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