University of Exeter: New audio documentary tells story of young People of Colour growing up in the South West

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The new podcast documentary, titled Sonic Landscapes of Colour was produced by artist Somatic (Somin Griffin-Dave), a dual-heritage, Indian-English Sound Artist born and raised in Exeter.

Built out of nine interview recording sessions with participants aged 18-26 who grew up in the region. The podcast consists of two 55 minute episodes, delving into how participants’ lived experiences have shaped their relationships to topics such as identity, alienation, community and more.

The voices are underscored by a soundscape built from four recording sessions with non-western traditional instrumentalists who have roots in the South West, augmented by Somatic’s own composition and sound design skills.

With the Black, Minority, Ethnic Communities in Devon and Cornwall estimated to double in the 2021 census, this project aims to provide a platform and give collective power to some of these younger voices. To help foster empathy and learning amongst the wider population by utilising Sonic Landscapes of Colour as a resource that can be referenced for meaningful change.

Somatic’s diverse creative practice encompasses sound and music for theatre, dance, screen and club dance floors. Although his sound is rooted in electronica and ‘underground dance music’ genres he also takes influence from the rural landscape he grew up in and the myriad of genres from around the world he was brought up on.

Somin said: ‘Unlike my peers brought up in bigger cities I have not been surrounded by the rich tapestry of culture and heritage that large migrant communities bring. My connection with my Indian heritage is not reflected in the South West and being a young person of colour I do not see my voice sought out, represented or heard. This has resulted in an identity crisis and sense of loneliness which has only been satiated by finding resilience in the local wild natural landscape.

“The BLM protests in 2020 exposed that there were many more young People of Colour (POC) locally then I was aware of, all with similar stories, lived experiences and anger at the inequality they would be facing throughout their lives because they were born with a higher melanin content.

“This project supports me to bring some of these stories together, combat the alienation I have felt throughout my upbringing and support the current generation of young POC trying to find their place here in the South West.”

There is also a seven part minisode series built as an anti-racism educational resource. Each episode lasts 3.30 minutes and is an extract from the full episodes focused around a different topic. To take this into an educational institution you work please contact Devon Development Education.

Sonic Landscapes of Colour has been supported by the Emergence Foundation, as well as Arts and Culture, University of Exeter and the University’s Provost Commission.

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