Rise Up! is a brand new event coming to Aberdeen this month. The weekend will highlight and amplify the voices of black and POC creatives from Aberdeen and throughout Scotland.

We Are Here Scotland has partnered with Aberdeen Performing Arts to curate the event. Performances, talks, workshops, and community spaces are all part of the festival, which runs from 13-14 May.

Here are some of the many exciting acts set to perform over the weekend’s packed line-up.


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Ica Headlam

We Are Here Scotland Director Ica Headlam told us: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts on Rise Up! We feel that it is a very important and unique opportunity to spotlight a variety of Black and PoC artists and performers from the North East of Scotland and further afield. With a variety of performances, free panels, and workshops, we hope these events bring new and diverse engagement for Aberdeen’s creative community.”

Friday 13

In Our Own Words is an evening of performance by artists of colour, exploring and celebrating themes of identity, culture and a sense of place in Scotland.

Poetry at Noon is a spoken word artist and poet who believes that art is an extremely powerful tool for personal and social transformation. In her performance poetry, she analyzes and discusses experiences of trauma, political upheaval, migration, and motherhood that she experienced while growing up in Sudan.

Aiysha is a singer-songwriter from Aberdeen. Many will remember her powerful performance at the Black Lives Matter Aberdeen protest in 2020. She also featured in a BBC documentary highlighting Aberdeen’s RnB and Hip Hop scene. Aiysha is set to release her debut release as an artist later this year.

DIJA

Saturday 14

Known as a songwriter and sound smith, Kapil Seshasayee is both a polymath and a true original. Combining the influences of Scott Walker, Blood Orange, Arca, and Richard Dawson into a singular sound.

Rapper Chef has made waves not only because of his music career but also due to his contribution to the community. An ingrained part of his character is his desire to amplify the voices of those around him. He joins Danny Cliff on a lineup which also includes Glasgow based rapper Clarissa Woods and DJ and visual artist DIJA.

One Mississippi takes place at the Lemon Tree at 7 pm. Described as a hard-hitting play that explores how the impact of childhood experiences shapes men’s adult lives, One Mississippi blends humour and storytelling with powerful elements of physical theatre to create an uncompromising insight into what takes us to breaking point.

Danielle Jam

Focusing on Black and POC voices

The weekend will also feature a number of discussions focusing on the issue that black and POC creatives face in our white-dominated creative industries. A series of free talks and workshops taking place at the Music Hall Big Sky Studio on Saturday 14 May cover topics including representation within Scottish creative industries, climate narratives, knowing your worth, and culture and identity as an artistic influence among others.

Ica Headlam and Briana Pegado from We Are Here Scotland will host a talk about how Black and POC need to take the initiative to support their communities by building support structures and community organisations. While Tomiwa Folorunso will host a talk about how there needs to be a change in a predominantly white-dominated industry.

Rachel Thibbotumunuwe, learning manager at Aberdeen Archives, Art Gallery and Museums will discuss how North East Scotland can support Black and POC creatives and artists. There will also be a panel exploring the importance of representation in the industry, hosted by podcast producer Halina Rifai

And much more besides

This is just a small taste of what is on offer at Rise Up! See the Aberdeen Performing Art website for details on all the speakers and performers. Tickets are also available from APA.

Aberdeen Performing Arts head Ben Torrie said: “Providing a stage for emerging talent and creating space for all voices to be heard is so important for a thriving artistic environment. Rise Up! is a hugely significant addition to Aberdeen’s cultural calendar this year. The sheer breadth of talent from the artists taking part is incredible. This festival is a fantastic opportunity to discover more about the diverse range of creatives here in the North East and beyond.


About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers. These are the people that make a positive impact on our city every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community and ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes coverage of Spectra 2022, interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil Fachie; Aberdeen rapper Chef and his push for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.

A great way to catch up with our work is by reading our 2021 Year in Review.