Shades of Noir

I most confess that I was completely unaware to the Shade of Noir site until the Inclusivity and Diversity session. I will in future point students in the direction of the website as I found it a highly stimulating hub of content and resources that could be useful across a wide range of courses.

Two of the resources I contributed were Subculture the Meaning of Style by Dick Hebdidge and Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley. They were particular important to me whilst studying on my MA in Communication Design, in which I worked on a visual genealogy British youth subculture. One of the most fascinating facets of the project for me was uncovering how the cultural interchange between the black West-Indian communities and the white working classes had been the catalyst for many of the most vibrant youth subcultures. Both the mods and early skinheads were heavy instanced by the West Indian rude boy styling and Punk was in a sense a return to politics that used the Rastafarian concept of ‘dread’ as inspiration.

The third resource I have uploaded is a documentary that I recently watched called The Black Power Mix Tape. This documentary¬†brings together material shot by Swedish documentarists and TV journalists dealing with the African American civil rights movement from the time of Martin Luther King’s death to the fall of Nixon. This was a period of history I only had a vague knowledge of. I was particularly fascinated to learn about the internal tensions within the black civil rights movement due to the opposed ideologies about how to bring about change.

After the Inclusivity and Diversity session and reading the blog post of the other member of my group it made me consider what the impact on learning would be for a UK national BME who was being taught by a largely white teaching staff. This also led me to think about bias in course structure and modes of assessment. On the fashion based students bring their own creative research that serves as the basis of their projects, with many choosing to bring draw on there own unique heritage and culture. Whilst this element of teaching and learning feels relatively inclusive the expectations within assessment and academic vernacular used are often established in students at the time of studying A-levels and Art Foundation, but the case of many of or UK National BME students did not access the course through these pathways so are disadvantaged from the offset, which is perhaps one of the reasons that retention rates are low. I appreciate that this maybe quite a simplistic perception of the problem but hopefully my time studying on this unit can inform my knowledge in this area further.

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