Rites of  Passage


Posted in: by Pete Moser on 22 November 2017
Tagged with: Autumntour2017

old friends share curry
open air, good wine, stories
change is on the way

Day two of a conference and we all gather with a focus to start the day on Health and Wellbeing - a link back to our HK conference is good to remember. Just one week ago we were gathering with social workers, therapists and musicians to focus on this agenda in the context of Hong Kong.


Now we are led to the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals ( ) and it is pointed out that Arts Education does not feature in the way that any of these are to shared and developed. It is pointed how how clearly the arts help to support  a number of them including Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities and also, of course, Good Health and Wellbeing. I sit next to Dan Baron (friend from childhood recently reconnected in this international arts and learning world) and we bemoan the lack of real political action developing from these discussions. Hey Ho - these are great goals to celebrate and shine a light on.

All of the delivery by the delegates is to be done in the Pecha Kuchas format which forces us to be precise and clear. We have 6 minutes 40 seconds each, which is supposed to be 20 slides each showing for 20 seconds. In each session 5 people present and then there is an extended discussion and conversation that tries to draw out the connections between the presentations. I am curious how it will work. I am chairing a session on Friday and our role is to ensure people keep to time and also keep the discussion flowing and inclusive. The first session I attend has papers on Hip Hop in West Sydney (

A Parkinsons choir, dance in papua New Guinea and a science and dance project around Deep Listening in Norway. The format is great with few words wasted and the discussion chaired by Te Oti is relaxed and informative.


To give an idea of the diversity of the conference the afternoon session I went to included sessions on learning from an indigenous tribe in Brazil, Particpatory learning the classroom, a creative school in the very north of this island, an intergenerational project in Hangzhou and a community music programme in Hiroshima. We celebrate each other and the great work going on out there!

My workshop in the afternoon is on Rites of Passage - personal and community celebrations and reflections. I draw on years of work in this from my early learning with Welfare State International to the more recent Sigh of the Sea event on Morecambe beach to commemorate the cockling tragedy.


We make songs, play rhythms, invent music and share out personal stories. I am very pleased that old friend and collaborator Phil Mullen is in the room (with about 16 others) and we enjoy playing together and having some fun!

The evening is given over to Dan Baron. We find an great Indian restaurant close to my house and take our time chatting, eating and pondering the state of the world. I grew up around the corner from him in North London and now our paths seems to cross every year in some way - Brazil, Hong Kong, Morecambe and now here.