Associate lecturer @ University of the Arts London
Linett Kamala is an associate lecturer in MA Performance: Design and Practice at University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins. Her specialisms are dramaturgy, sound system culture, large scale festival logistics, carnivals of the African diaspora and sonic dynamics on mass gatherings. She is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and carnivalist, with extensive experience working with organisations across a broad range of sectors. Linett is President of the University of the Arts London Alumni of Colour Association, Board Director for the Notting Hill Carnival and Founding Director of Lin Kam Art. Lin Kam Art delivers performance outreach work in mainly educational and community settings, facilitating the therapeutic joy of expression through festival culture. Examples include curating the Uplifting Langa through Reachable Art (ULTRA) Wellbeing Festival in Langa, Cape Town in South Africa, and the ongoing Recipe for a Happy Mind Project for young people in Hanover, Jamaica and across schools in London. Linett has delivered talks, lectures and programmes for various renowned art and educational institutions including the V&A, University of Melbourne, Australia and Boston College, USA. Her work has been showcased nationally in the UK by Google and has a permanent online presence on Google Arts and Culture.
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Mediating Carnival Digitalscapes
Sound System Culture and Carnival
Since their inclusion to the iconic Notting Hill Carnival in 1973 by Leslie Palmer, static 30 sound systems have become an essential ingredient for the masses to be seen, heard and take-up space on the streets on West London. Sound system culture relies upon the performative interaction between the DJs, MCs and the crowd through elements such as call and response, showcasing the latest dancehall moves and fashions. Furthermore, the visceral experience of bass amplified in a shared space is not only an act of resistance but contributes to a sense of belonging for those of the Caribbean diaspora. With the cancellation of Notting Hill Carnival in both 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing global pandemic, sound systems and carnivals had to innovate and reconsider their relationship with their audiences. Alternative digital spaces were sought to remain active, visible and connected to their community. Reimagining, collaboration and adaptability became necessary requirements for those used to bringing sound system culture to a physical carnival setting. This paper will discuss the various approaches which were implemented in an attempt to recreate the energy of sound system culture during a period of restrictions on gatherings, isolation and grief.