Our programme consists of a range of activities and reflection. We meet weekly to participate in a range of typical British cultural activities, from high culture to popular culture. We have a particular interest in the local and in activities that offer sensory and emotional content. The programme offers space for debate and exchange, so that we also can learn from each other what kind of values can be found in cultural activities. How do such activities offer a sense of belonging? How do they bind people together or exclude them? What sense of ‘Britishness’ is contained in our everyday activities and in ‘special’ events?
Weekly activities include visits to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club to see a women’s game, a trip to Glyndebourne in high season and a picnic, pottery throwing and painting, informed and accompanied visits to Brighton Pavilion to think about our colonial and royalist traditions, and to Brighton and Hove Museum to consider local histories.
We go to Brighton Jubilee Library to learn information skills, look at rare collections, and share a poetry reading including classic works such as Wordsworth, Kipling, Wilfred Owen and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
We have a dance party in which we learn each other’s dances, and a voice workshop in which we learn each other’s songs. We also learn how to use life narrative and photography techniques in order to compose memorable journeys, and create memorabilia through scrapbooking. Our bodies are important, so we also make time for yoga and meditation, and also sensory walks on Brighton seafront that culminate in fish and chips on the pier.
On the course, we make time to discuss the Home Office ‘Life in the UK’ test, and the cultural assumptions embedded in citizenship applications.