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A question of Culture

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Published on 26 September 2017

City of Cultural bid 2021
City of Cultural bid 2021

This Friday (29 September) sees Sunderland entering its final bidding round for City of Culture 2021 – and this Thursday Professor Trish Winter will take a critical look at the meaning of ‘culture’ in her Inaugural Professorial Lecture ‘Doing Culture’.

Trish Winter is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland. In her lecture, on Thursday 28 September. Professor Winter will reflect on what it means to ‘do culture’.

She says: “The idea that culture is ‘good for us’ has become a kind of common sense, taken-for-granted idea. I’ll be taking a look at how that idea has developed and what lies behind it”.

”Culture’ is a very slippery concept! There are different understandings of culture in circulation all at the same time.  Official ideas of ‘Culture’ are often quite different from what ordinary people think of as their culture. How do those bigger, official or dominant ideas about culture connect to the experience of people's everyday cultural lives?”

Professor Winter will draw on examples from her own research: “At the moment I'm working with people in the Southwick ward of Sunderland to investigate their own cultural lives and concepts of culture from their perspective.”

While Professor Winter believes that Sunderland gaining the City of Culture accolade would be a positive thing for the city, she is particularly keen to see that accolade benefit the ordinary people of Sunderland, and to see them involved in research on the impact of City of Culture.

“I would certainly hope that ordinary people in Sunderland would benefit in many ways from the investment and activities that City of Culture would bring.

“If it were to be awarded, I would like to see people in Sunderland being involved in meaningful ways with a view to the long term.  I’d also like to see opportunities for people to reflect on how they are experiencing the City of Culture and what it could mean for the city, and for their views to be taken into account.”

“Our assessment of the ‘impact’ of City of Culture should not be one dimensional. Reflection on its cultural significance for the people of Sunderland shouldn’t be restricted to things that can easily be counted or measured.”

Professor Trish Winter’s lecture, ‘Doing Culture’ will take place on Thursday 28 September at 6pm in Room 007, Prospect Building, Sir Tom Cowie Campus. Professor Winter will be joined by Grand Gestures Dance Collective, who are creating a work relating to the theme of her lecture.

The University of Sunderland Professorial Lectures celebrate and share the expertise of our new and established Professors with students, staff, and members of the public.