Yesterday I took my Songwriting group from the University of the West to the Identity exhibition at the Wellcome Foundation on Euston Road.
This was to show them how important it is to be aware of what's happening around you culturally if you are involved in the creative arts, and also to try to get them to think about their own identities before they start writing songs.
I asked each person to try to define themselves in four lines of poetry before next week, when they will play me songs they've written before.
It's a good exhibition, almost amateurish in its presentation and almost arbitrary in its chosen definitions of identity, but all the better for that. The students liked a sort of delayed-image mirror that disconnects you from your self-image. I liked a small set of diaries; "I'm not that sort of girl!' someone had exclaimed in big letters. I also liked a series of photographs in the eugenics section, of Chatham Shipyard workers, Westminster Schoolboys and murderers, differentiated mainly by their haircuts. Most of the shipyard workers had their thumbs in their non-existent lapels, trying to look authoritative; the schoolboys had foppishly shiny hair, and none of the murderers looked remotely guilty.
I was delighted that my students had introduced themselves to the Museum attendants. That bodes well!