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Book: Ritual, Personhood and the New Animism

Chapter: In Search of Ceremony: Dialogues with Indigeneity and Graham Harvey at the ORIGINS Festival

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.45197


Michael Walling is Director of the biennial ORIGINS Festival, which brings Indigenous artists and activists to the UK. Since its inaugural edition in 2009, the Festival has had a strong relationship with Graham Harvey, particularly in relation to the use of ceremony. Michael Walling takes three key moments of interaction with Graham Harvey as starting points for a wider discussion of ceremony as practised within the Festival, looking at its meaning and function in the context of a contemporary event in the UK, and engaging with questions of post-colonial justice, the distinction between spectacle and participation, and the tension between appropriate learning and cultural appropriation. The three key narratives look at the first ORIGINS opening ceremony, examining the idea of welcome; an intercultural encounter at the Sami Festival Riddu Riđđu, leading to a discussion of storytelling and narrative within ceremonial structures; and the Return to Earth ceremony for Totem Latamat in 2021, an event that responded to the Climate Crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting the potential for politicised ceremony.

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