Journeys with no return / a conference at the Goethe Institute

“Journeys with no return” arguable describes anyone’s passage through life, but in the context of this conference which refers to the exhibition of same title at the A Foundation the subject is migration, immigration and cultural contexts.

from the Goethe Institute website: “Themes include how culture is transformed through migration, the influence of Turkish migration on contemporary practitioners and how we are building new cultural contexts in the 21st century city.”

Towards the end of the day the conference appeared to become somewhat confused with itself, maybe we had all been there, too long by then, too tired, saturated with so much interesting and very varied material. I feel that the organizers of the day may have fallen pray to the desire to show as much as possible, cover as many angles of their interests as possible and with this the direction became confused for those who sought something more linear.
We covered so much ground and at several junction there just wasn’t enough time to do justice to what we had just heard. The breaks were called late and yet too soon to hear just half of what the audience would have liked to contribute, or what the panel and artists could have shared. The schedule was very ambitious and probably didn’t suit everyone’s expectations.

An odd outburst of emotion threatened to hijack the last minutes of the conference with most of us confused where the outburst came from even I could only conclude some misunderstanding had taken place. The accusations seemed far fetched and were delivered with surprising force…

It was inspiring to see Edgar Schmitz tie up loose ends, answer impossible questions, tame the currents of emotion when they flared, he did this with admirable skill and lucidity.

I hadn’t quite realized the significance of the Arcola Theatre, after this conference I see very clearly what an important role the Arcola plays in the cultural life of London. What an achievement to gain such a position among such a large playing field.

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