So, I’m a bit of a serial offender when it comes to sitting on committees: organising committees, orchestra committees, student committees, trade union committees, to mention a few…
I do this is to put myself in a position where I can use my voice, be heard, make change happen. I’ve always been interested in shaping the environments I inhabit, but naturally quite shy for most of my life. I’m catching up now that I’ve found my inner extrovert (this happened circa 2012, if you’ve not known me for long).
As a young, Indian woman working both in the arts and academia, I’m accustomed to walking into a room and standing out in a sea of white. I’m used to seeing a look of surprise at my being there. That feeling of mutual excitement and utter shock when I meet other non-white artists in Scotland, as we exclaim, “how did I not know you existed?!”
Every time I fill out an equal opportunities form, I wonder what it will mean for me. I wonder if I get opportunities because I am a brown girl, to tick boxes, to meet quotas. But a part of me is okay with that − perhaps because I know I haven’t had access to the right social and cultural capitals to get them otherwise. I do face barriers that are linked to my brownness and my gender, and I’m not going to apologise for that. It’s not ideal, but it means I can gain some power and use it to fight for good (just call me your friendly, neighbourhood brown girl) so that maybe one day we won’t need to fight for equality.
At work, I’ve seen the inequality that exists in the music sector, and in music education − young people missing out on opportunities that could change their life-trajectory, the way my own has been carefully shaped by chances, for reasons that are not out of our control and shouldn’t be left to chance.
You could say this ‘Activist Me’ is a natural progression after my so-called Coconut Realisations − an awakening of sorts − and the fact that I’ve now found my tribe (thanks, Cherrelle Skeete) and my voice.
Topics you can expect from me wearing the activist hat are:
- Feminism and Gender Equality
- Cultural Appropriation and Racism
- Inequality in Music
- Inequality in Academia
- Inequality in Education