AUB Lecturer, Jon Croose, visits Rio over the 2016 Olympic Games, as part of an AUB Research Fellowship project.

Jon tells us more about his research:

“I am in Rio until August 22nd, talking to cultural officials, artists and performers about representations of Brazilian identity during the Olympics. My developing title is ‘Performing Diversity: Art, Culture and Contested National Identities during the 2016 Rio Olympics.’

This is an AUB Research Fellowship project, following up on doctoral research I began whilst working as a street performer on the AUB-costumed Battle for the Winds show that launched the Olympic sailing at Weymouth in 2012.

I am interested to know how people in Rio feel about how Brazil was represented in  the Olympic Opening Ceremony, how they feel about the Olympics in general, the political and social situation, and how their own art and cultural performance expresses particular notions of community, place and identity.

Brazil is also in the middle of considerable social, economic and political turmoil, following the recent impeachment of the president and the installation without election of a new head of state. This is raising fears of a return to the military dictatorships of the 1960s-1980s. There is a significant, artist-led, anti-government protest movement here, and there is a big anti-Olympics sentiment that has led to clashes between protestors and police. 

So far, for example, I have talked to artists involved in the current Ministry of Culture artists’ occupation protest, to transgender artists, to black artists, street performers, clowns and countercultural visual artists, as well as to Olympic cultural producers and artists involved in the official ceremonies. I have also been to a dance performance in the Maré favela, choreographed by the internationally renowned Lia Rodrigues. I also hope to interview women performers in the favela ‘funk’ music scene.

I am aiming for a qualitative, conversational research method, and I am following contacts that arise in each conversation, to try to offer a snapshot of Rio’s art culture during this fascinating period.”