Sharing things

Elias and Tomiwa: Internet culture, giving others a platform and Michael Rosen memes.

June 03, 2021 The University of Edinburgh Season 4 Episode 5
Sharing things
Elias and Tomiwa: Internet culture, giving others a platform and Michael Rosen memes.
Chapters
Sharing things
Elias and Tomiwa: Internet culture, giving others a platform and Michael Rosen memes.
Jun 03, 2021 Season 4 Episode 5
The University of Edinburgh

In our fifth episode of season 4, guests Elias Vasiloudes Nikolaides and Tomiwa Folorunso talk about internet culture, giving others a platform and Michael Rosen memes.

Elias is a 3rd year Music student at the Edinburgh College of Art and is also the school’s Undergraduate Representative. When he’s not studying, Elias enjoys playing the saxophone and making beats on his computer. 

Tomiwa is a writer, academic and creative currently living in Brussels. She studied History at the University, graduating in 2017 and is now studying for her masters in Cultural Studies at KU Leuven. 

Season 4 is all about student voices. Each episode features a student in conversation with a member of the wider community. Sharing experiences and finding unexpected common ground.

Subscribe now for University of Edinburgh community exploration and really good chat.

You can find more information on the Sharing things website.

Show Notes Transcript

In our fifth episode of season 4, guests Elias Vasiloudes Nikolaides and Tomiwa Folorunso talk about internet culture, giving others a platform and Michael Rosen memes.

Elias is a 3rd year Music student at the Edinburgh College of Art and is also the school’s Undergraduate Representative. When he’s not studying, Elias enjoys playing the saxophone and making beats on his computer. 

Tomiwa is a writer, academic and creative currently living in Brussels. She studied History at the University, graduating in 2017 and is now studying for her masters in Cultural Studies at KU Leuven. 

Season 4 is all about student voices. Each episode features a student in conversation with a member of the wider community. Sharing experiences and finding unexpected common ground.

Subscribe now for University of Edinburgh community exploration and really good chat.

You can find more information on the Sharing things website.

[Theme music]

Kate  0:05  Welcome to season four of Sharing things. Lots of things have happened and kinda nothing's happened. We're still recording remotely, but there's a new host. I'm Kate, your guide and conversation wrangler. In this episode featuring Elias and Tomiwa, we take ages to get to the object, but hang in there, it's totally worth it. 

[Theme music]

Kate  0:30  Thanks so much for, for joining us for this episode of Sharing things. It's great to have you Tomiwa and Elias. How are you guys?

Tomiwa  0:38  Yeah, I'm good thank you. I'm in Brussels. It's raining, as always, but yeah. 

Kate  0:46  And Elias, you said you're in Cyprus, right?

Elias  0:48  Yep. So we are enjoying better weather than I imagine both of you [laughter]. It's quite sunny here. It's springtime. I just came back from a weekend at our national park in the southwest edge of the island, it's fantastic there.

Kate  1:07  So without this seeming like a team building exercise, I thought you guys could just like say a bit about yourself, just you know, to kind of like, kick us off.

Elias  1:16  So I'll go first. I'm-- my name is Elias, pronouns are-- pronouns are he/him. I am a student at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, studying for a Bachelor's in Music. I'm in my third year. I'm interested in all sorts of stuff having to do with composing and production. Outside of school, I am involved with the Edinburgh Student Housing Cooperative and I also have volunteered to be the School Representative for Edinburgh College of Art this year, which has been a big challenge. But nevertheless, we've managed to do a lot of work, it's important to have their voices heard during such challenging time. That's me [laughs]. 

Tomiwa  2:01  Nice to meet you. I'm Tomiwa Folorunso. I am an Edinburgh University alumni. It seems so weird to say that, I know, alumni [laughs]. I graduated in 2017, so about four years ago, where I studied History for my undergrad and now I'm currently doing a Master's at KU Leuven, which is a university in Belgium, kind of in and around Brussels. So that's where I am and I'm studying Cultural Studies. So alongside doing my Masters, I'm also a writer, an editor, a kind of, I want to say, I kind of say creative, but yeah, and yeah, I've worked in the feminist sector in Scotland, in Edinburgh. Yeah, that kind of-- I suppose always championing-- I hate the word, not the word championing, let's say, like, kind of shedding a light or giving space to marginalised voices.

[Theme music] 

Kate  3:11  Something that I think kind of links you both in a way is that you're both giving people those opportunities in those spaces to have their voice heard, like, why do you think that's so important?

Tomiwa  3:23  That's a good question [laughs]. I think, I think for me, because I, I'm Nigerian, and I was born and raised in Edinburgh, in Scotland, and it was a very white, and still is a very white environment. And I spent a lot of kind of my even-- later teens and time at university, really struggling to articulate my feelings and my experience and trying to situate myself in my world and these cultures and get to know myself. Which I think is what you do at that age, regardless. And so it just kind of all made sense. And part of it-- part of my work, as well is just finding friends and communities and spaces that you are a part of and that give you joy, but also an energy and a power and thinking of the space the world is in right now, it kind of in a weird way feels like there's no other option but to speak out in a way that makes sense to me. Because people do that differently.

Kate  4:37  Yeah, for sure. What about you Elias? Thinking about the roles that you have and giving people those, those spaces to be heard, why is that important?

Elias  4:47 I think I've, I've become a really, like right now obviously, we're all being a lot more introspective and really internal, reflecting a lot on kind of like imagination and future. But yeah, I'm also interested in kind of like cultural studies and this idea that we are in a kind of loop of nostalgia, and that we aren't really imagining alternatives. And I think that, in in the spaces, there's so many ways in which I am immensely privileged, and I have a platform, which amplifies my voice. There's many ways that I am not privileged and able to have a platform. And for those that have access to spaces, such as you know, for example, I have access to men's spaces. I feel like it's important to kind of bridge the gap of communication, of empathy, of solidarity. Like the question, why does it matter is it's like the top of the, of the branch of the tree, and the tree has deep roots underneath it kind of like, just acknowledging that oppression and power. Yeah, that's why it matters.

Kate  6:08  Do you think that social media has, has a role to play in that?

Elias  6:12  That's a good-- I mean, that's a good question for someone who's doing cultural studies, like what is, like culture, like right now? Are we, are we like asked to provide nine second moments of attention to diverse in ever changing issues that require either hysteria or utter cynicism? That's just what it feels that, that's what social media contributes to. Does it give a platform? Yes, it does. Does it allow voices that would have been muted or silenced to be heard? Does it allow for conversations that happen across barriers or geographical, cultural? Yeah, but...[laughs].  

Tomiwa  6:55  And it does all these things, but it also doesn't leave enough space or room for kind of nuance, right? It doesn't leave-- I don't think it leaves enough-- not even like it leaves enough because I don't think these platforms were ever intended for us to have discussion. And I don't think discussion works very well on these platforms. I think it can work, and we do have discussion, but I don't think it's the best way for us as, as humans,  as people to have discussion about issues and society.

Kate  7:39  Yeah, there, there so fast paced, you know, people write stuff, and then it's gone.

Tomiwa  7:44  Right, exactly. And it can be very, very easy for points or fact, or opinion to be misconstrued, if you don't get your words right. But also, and I don't, I don't think this is a bad thing but I think we need to be careful, a lot of people don't have access to these platforms so we need to be very careful about the conversations. We cannot see them as the reality of the world we're living in, because so many people are not there. And so we can't use them as like a-- as a majority, or a good enough target group, or whatever. But also, so many of us do have these platforms in these accounts and it's so important. And I, like I'm a writer, I love stories, I love books for us to share our stories and to share our opinions and to find solidarity in doing that. But there is not often or not always enough, let me say, knowledge maybe or understanding of the context of which we're having these discussions and the history of what we're discussing. And I think you need that as well. It cannot always just be this is my opinion, this is my opinion, this is my opinion. That needs to interact or sit with fact, analysis, critique, critical thought. And I want to be very careful when I say knowledge, because I don't think that means academia. That includes academia, but it doesn't always mean academia. So I don't think, it's not about saying we need more academics.

Elias  9:33  I think there is-- this not my thoughts, this is kind of-- I'm really interested in what Dziedzic has to say about this. He talks about how the public sphere going and saying something in public, like you tweet something, you've said it in public, right? However, all these platforms are actually not operating as the public or what is understood to be the public. They're privately owned platforms designed to extract your attention, maximum time, maximum engagement for maximum potential to serve advertising or whatever the business model is. This incentivizes different kind of behaviour, different kind of mediation of conversation, like there is a mediation that happens, whether or not it's info-mediation through these-- the "algorithm", buzz word, quote-unquote [laughter], but we've got to talk about the mediation of these platforms. They are not the public sphere, they do not constitute that space. The internet has the potential of democratising access to knowledge and access to communication, however, that has instead become a business model for a few massively powerful information technology companies, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. And that's the foundation on which we've run into the problems of, you know, these echo chambers are forming, you know, you're being served content that you're more likely to agree or engage with, because these platforms are incentivized to keep you there for as long as possible. You know, that's the foundation on which these problems emerge, in my opinion. We need to be having the conversation about what is the public, now more than ever, when we're all locked in our homes. And some of us are lucky enough to have stable internet access and/or a computer with which to access these platforms, as Tomiwa says, like we-- not everyone has access, you know. We've got access and it's such an integral part of how we communicate, how we connect with people, that having to acknowledge that this is a mediated interaction of a third party that doesn't necessarily have the interest of more efficient, more clear, more engaging conversations, we have to talk about that. We have to talk about the fact that every single time we connect to someone, we do so through somebody who seeks to extract value from our attention, and that, that corrupts from within at such a fundamental level, I think, you know. Privatisation of the commons, like that's, that's a massive deal, you know. 

[Theme music]

Kate  12:13  There's something that you mentioned before Tomiwa, about you know, that knowledge, not necessarily academic knowledge. But do you think people should be doing their, their own research essentially, when they come across things, and they read things online and take it at face value? 

Tomiwa  12:29  I think yes, to an extent, but I also think it's people being-- and I'm not, and I'm not gonna say I always do this, right, because, but I think it's about being critical and having a thought of, where is this information coming from? Like, why have I seen this information? What is the backstory? Who could have stakes in having this story told a certain way, and not in another way? Like, all these kinds of things. I think it's just questioning, right? What you are reading and consuming and not taking it as face value. And I suppose it goes, kind of like to what you said, Elias, about, there's other people with interests in you and being part of this algorithm. And yeah, we just cannot take it all at face value. But yeah, and I also think, I suppose it's not even just, it's about research, but it's also finding other places to consume information from and that can be from, yes, that could be from reading academic articles. Or it could be from like watching those videos on YouTube. Or it can be from talking to your friends, or it can be from reading fiction, or it can be-- it can come from art, it can come from music, but I think it's just being open and receptive to different places that knowledge can come from. It doesn't have to be sitting in a lecture or a seminar or whatever. There's untraditional places you can, you can get that. 

Elias  14:16  I wanted to bring it back, like this idea of like imagination, like we can do more than just say, oh, we have to just be hyper critical and hyper cynical and hyper critical all the time. The default mode of our generation is sarcasm for a reason. Every single thing we see we have to exercise, one layer of doubt, and then another 30 to get to some sort of thing that's accepted as truth. And we can do so much better than that, we can reclaim spaces where communities and conversations are happening. And this idea that suspicion should always lurk is just like, we can do better. Because then, having this attitude and adopting it can lead to the erosion of solidarity in relationships with other people like this idea of believing people, believing victims, believing people who are talking about their experience, that is eroded if the mode is sarcasm or cynicism or doubt. Radically just believing people, that's hard to do if simultaneously there's part of your head that's like, but um, I need to check it for myself, I need to go down the Wikipedia clickhole, so that I can at least feel like I'm half informed on something, because I want to believe, that's what I need to do as a man.

Tomiwa  15:47  I like, I totally hear you and I get you're making a lot of sense. And I agree. But I also know that if I look to my own circle of friends, and more so those that I grew up with, and I went to school with, when I say that thing about critical thought, I know for a fact they scroll endlessly, and take in that information and reel off that information, as fact to me with no reflection. That is quite frightening. Yeah.

Elias  16:19  Do you think they should be held responsible for kind of falling into the doom scrolling? I mean, the infinite scroll is a design choice, you know, it's meant to put you in that situation. I think that we both agree that regulation of these industries will always be reflective, after the damage is done. So I don't hold all my friends who start talking about me like about, you know, Bill Gates 5G vaccine. I don't blame them all. But I feel like the government is, is-- needs to do something [laughs]. 

Tomiwa  16:53  Oh, yeah. 100%. I don't, I don't, I don't blame them. I think like I said, I am, I am not saying that I do not also do that as well. And I'm not trying to put myself on a higher, a higher pedestal. They're engaging with these apps or these platforms in the way that they were designed to, and I don't fault them for that.

[Theme music]

Kate  17:19  I'm going to bring this back a little bit to-- you mentioned something about imagination Elias and that sense of nostalgia, which I think links into the objects. Would you mind explaining what you what you brought along today as your object?

Elias  17:35  You want to go ahead Tomiwa? 

Tomiwa  17:37  Erm, I brought the book, We're Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. 

Elias  17:43  [Laughs]

Tomiwa  17:45  It's a great book, I don't know why you're laughing [laughs]

Kate  17:48  Have you read it Elias, you're laughing? [Laughs]

Elias  17:52  I just, I just love the way that Michael Rosen has become a meme king, you know?

Tomiwa  17:58  And look who he was before [laughs]. Yeah. And this was a book I got, like Christmas last year, not a very long time ago. And my brother also got a copy too and he's, yeah, he's 20. And so, my mum always usually writes really kind of, really long, really beautiful cards for us, for Christmases, birthdays, and special occasions. And this year, I kind of opened my Christmas card first, because that's the polite thing to do. And I was like, why haven't you written me a lovely message telling me how much she loved me? And she's like, okay, just wait, whatever. And then opened up this book. And it came with a note which just said, 'may you always have faith in your own strength to go through it.' And I just thought it was really, just really lovely. Like I laughed, but laughed with so much love when I saw it because I think it was a book my mum always would read to us when we were little and there is something just really nice about that. And the fact that like 20 plus years later, she went out and bought this book. Which we didn't have a copy of in the house because we would have always got it from the library and reading and books and words and writing is just something that comes from my home, that comes from my parents. One of the reasons that I am who I am, is because of books and because of stories. And that came from my parents. Yeah, like I brought it back to Brussels with me. It's on my bookshelf. I'm like I'm keeping this forever. 

Kate  19:33  How do you feel now, like re-reading it 20 years later from when you used to read it as a child? 

Tomiwa  19:39  I mean, it's probably exciting as a child. But now it's quite-- obviously no hate to this book, but it's like splash splosh, splash, splosh, splash, splosh. I mean, it's not, yeah, the hardest thing I've ever read, but I think it's just...

Elias  19:55  literary genius [laughter]

Kate  19:59  Aw I think it paints a picture. I think it paints a really good picture reading that, like, you feel like you're there when you're reading it, and you're like, you're out, you're in nature, like that kind

Tomiwa  20:08  It is also nice to get pictures, because I do love, I do love a picture book. And, but yeah, I think it's just, I don't know, there's something in those messages that you kind of receive or engage with as a child. And then as an adult, you maybe understand them, I don't want to say more, but in a different way. Yeah, that note as well, it's just very much about believing in your, yourself and also that you can do it and you can keep going and persevere. But also, I think there's something about, because it's about a family, and my family is so important to me. And this is the farthest and the longest I've ever been away from my mum and my brother. And it's-- okay, so we're not physically together and in the same space or in the same country, but you know, we're still doing it together, we're still doing life together and that they always are supporting me and I'm supporting them and loving and caring for them.

Kate  21:19  And it's nice that your, that your brother also has a copy of the book as well. Like do you feel like that's like quite a nice connection to have like, knowing that he's got one too? 

Tomiwa  21:27  Yeah, and he got the same note as well. And it's yeah, we're a very close family, the three of us and I'm really so grateful for that more than anything.

Elias  21:39  I mean, has it got those thick pages that are like chewable-- chew-proof?

Tomiwa  21:45  Like I'm not gonna bite it, but yeah. 

Elias  21:47  You can't get a paper cut, even if you try [laughter]

Tomiwa  21:52  Exactly, like this lasts. 

Kate  21:53  What was the mention of like the meme because I feel like, have I just completely missed something? 

Elias  21:58  Michael Rosen is like, you know, he's, he did those stories-- story time, a lot of like, the early YouTube energy went into making these kind of like ridiculous montages of just complete and utter madness and, and it's called a YouTube poops. I mean, this stuff is kind of like, it had its golden age and then it also went through like the internet dark ages of like, edgy humour and anti SJW grossness but it's, it's really fun. And he's kind of like one of the first memes that I encountered and as someone who grew up on the internet, who was always outward looking from Cyprus, in a kind of like, looking into like the Anglosphere, away from home, consuming culture outside of here, internet culture is really a big part of who I am. So Michael Rosen has that, that place in my memory. I didn't read the book when I was a child.

Tomiwa  22:58  Have you read it now? Have you ever read it?

Elias  23:01  I haven't. But I spoke about it over the weekend with a friend. And I was like, no way. How did it come up? You know, some kind of like weird, universal energy [laughs]. 

Tomiwa  23:12  That's weird. 

Elias  23:13  Because, because in the end, they end up not seeing the bear because they get afraid, right? And they go back home all together.

Tomiwa  23:19  'We're not going on a bear hunt again' [laughter]. I'm actually reading them back and I'm like, mum, what are you trying to say?

Kate  23:26  She has like a toy bear at the end or something? So like, is that significant? That-- was it just the toy bear? Was it their imagination?

Tomiwa  23:33  Oh yeah!  

Elias  23:34  It's so wack that we're like trying to read subliminal messages into it [laughter]. It's a children's book guys [laughter]. 

Tomiwa  23:41  And I think it's because my mum is a counsellor as well. And there was a period of time where she would maybe kind of give us like, I say a self help book, but like a good self help book or like a journal or something like that. And then kind of realised that's not really my vibe. So whenever she gives me a book like this, I'm like, there's obviously another message in it right. There's obviously-- she's obviously trying to tell me something, but maybe, maybe she's not.

[Theme music]

Kate  24:10  Elias, what object did you bring along today?

Elias  24:14  So I have here with me a old hat from the Soviet Union. It's a, it's a military hat. I think it's, it has a proper name, but I forget the term. It's got a few patches on it. And then on the other side, it used to have all these pins. They're not like, you know, they're not like military valour pins. They have to do with sport and, and they feature the Olympic mascot. There used to be so many more of them, but over the course of the years, I've taken some off. When I went to study in Edinburgh, I had-- I took one of the pins of Lenin off and I put it on my bag. I thought I was so cool, I was like, yeah, right [laughs]. Obviously, like, I guess, it was just me trying too hard to manifest some kind of like intellectual, like I'm a university student now, I know.

Kate  25:11  But do you think like, the idea of like, Soviet Union era, and you know, the fashion and architecture is that like, considered fashionable? Like, is that part of why you did it?

Elias  25:23  I think, I think now, the reason, the reason I took the pin of Lenin is because, well, my mum studied in the Soviet Union. She's a, she's a fine arts teacher here, but she studied fine art in Kiev. Essentially, my mum kind of like studied in the Soviet Union, returned here and then, obviously, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union followed. And if my mum was trained in a culture where the arts had a completely different purpose, and she had to integrate into the other culture of the arts and trying to find ways to navigate, having been part of the historical momentum that abruptly ended and she found herself having to integrate in the neoliberal, whatever followed, you know. And this kind of represents the feeling I had growing up that there was a past, a history that I wasn't part of and now, as I kind of, like, reflect more and more on, you know, what we spoke about imagination and nostalgia, and this idea that the future never came, and that we're living in like a perpetual state of like, there's no alternative, you know, there's no different potential future. I reflect on that, through this and kind of thinking that we are people born after history ended. And that's, that's why I think that we have to really try and, like jumpstart our imaginations again, and start thinking of other potential destinies we have as people, as communities. This is a relic of the past, you know, regurgitated into my life as a souvenir, God? Can you imagine being this soldier whose hat was then sold as a souvenir to some tourist with a bunch of like, bankrupt ideology pins? Like, that's so like, tragic. Like, this belonged to somebody who was, you know, maybe believing in this kind of like, the big ideas that we no longer have, because we're afraid of them and what they did to us in the 20th century, like, like this feeling like we're past history, we're in post-historical time and post-modern time. That's, that's what this object is to me. And yeah. 

Tomiwa  28:02  You said, how we need to like jumpstart our imaginations, right? I'm interested to know, how do you jumpstart your imagination? 

Elias  28:13  I mean, like, that's, and that's where like, the conversation turns to like, how we're feeling, how we're doing. It's not fun being a music student, being a student of the performing arts. But it feels like, my, my imagination is definitely lacking. I definitely don't-- I mean, I'm not gonna preach this whole, you know, positivity. And it's-- persevere. Like, it's not, it's not like that, like, the scope of time, I'm thinking ahead in is very, very short. I'm going day by day. And I've done that since last March. And at some point in November, I kind of understood that, that day by day attitude has made everything seem a little bit strange. Every day is the same. You're not working towards anything long term beyond the structure of your daily life and God that's, that's depressing. And it's, it's so much more than we are equipped to deal with, like, we're not told how to be reflective, how to practice self compassion. Like these are things that we, we are not equipped to do, not only as men, but like as, as people in, in this world. And I've been learning how to do that more and more. And just trying to go day by day, being more kind to myself. But yeah, imagination, creativity. God when I get started, there's nothing, there's nothing like a deadline. It might not be the magnum opus, but it's, it's worth it, I think, you know. I wrote two songs over last weekend, one because I was campaigning, and I had to find a way to make my manifesto more engaging. And there's so much reading. So I was like, I'm gonna rap it. And I made a song in like one day. And I'm like, you can still do that? You know. 

[Theme music]

Kate  30:24  Do you think the current situation has impacted your creativity in a way? Or has it allowed you to unlock it more?

Tomiwa  30:34  Yes, yes, it has impacted. Yes, it has impacted. I think it's that it's just, everyday is so similar. But also, I think, it's been so much harder during this period to find like, joy or excitement in things. Or I have found it very hard to do that. It's not to say I'm not happy, it's just that everything is very on one level. And so I think a lot of my work is emotion-led, be that feelings of like happiness, or anger or sadness or fear, whatever it is. And so when it's felt very, just, I don't know, constant, just a constant feeling, it's, it's, it's been a challenge for me to find my creativity in that sense. And also, just the different ways, I suppose, like you maybe get inspiration, but also consume things, it's really just being out and about, right with people and spending time with people and talking to people. That's where so much of my inspiration comes from, but also what I love doing and so much of what my work is centred around, and being physically in a room with people and hearing them that way, rather than through a screen. And so not having that has been an adjustment. 

Kate  32:10  Elias, do you think that to be creative, you need to be-- this might be quite a difficult question-- but do you think you need to be in like, a positive mindset to be creative? Or can you use those times where your mindset isn't so positive, to still be creative?

Elias  32:26  Oh, yeah, absolutely, you do not need to be happy, you do not need to be in a positive state to be creative. And I mean, this is kind of like a problem, right? Because like, you know, we should enjoy, and we should consume happiness and be in a state of stimulation and excitement. But like really kind of thought out art is, is done in states of reflective, oftentimes solemn mind. Tomiwa, like what you said about kind of leading with emotion, that's authentic. You, you are making authentic art. You're expressing yourself most authentically when you're doing so through emotions, and the validity of that is unquestionable. And, you know, that's, that's how I feel. Like I, like leading with emotion is where we are going to find interpersonal solidarity, like we are feeling, we're beings of feeling, you know. And I mean, you can think about, you know, the simulation and the simulacrum or whatever, like, yeah, every day is the same, if they were alive right now, all the postmodern thinkers would be like, in a fit, they would be in a fit. I think having the tools to deal with distress is the important thing, because distress and moments of sadness are part of the deal of, of being able to share the world with other living things. And this blessing we have is part of the deal. And we have to make art regardless of that. And it's not just art. And when we say imagination, it's not only for art, it's really for-- I think, in policy, imagination, in politics, imagination.

Tomiwa  34:24  Yeah. And I think, like to go to, kind of think about what you said there about authen-- authenticity and emotion. I think we talk so much and you know, this is also part, of part of my degree and what I'm kind of learning about right now is about, about how we measure culture, how we talk about art, like the benefits of art, what the benefits should be, how important they are because it's all, it's all kind of sitting in this whole thing about funding and money and, and what value it is. And really when it comes down to it its, as long as something is created authentically, and the creator is happy with it, then that should be enough and how we choose to consume that and relate to that, and what we find in that is up to us. But I think having more space and more value placed on authentic creation is really important.

Elias  35:37  The hardest thing is that, like being authentic, does not mean...

Tomiwa  35:44  Right. 

Elias  35:44  ...you'll be successful. I mean, I'm not saying we should reject the system. I mean, yeah, we live in a society, whatever, but like, be authentic. And that's when the art is going to be most effective.

[Theme music]

Kate  36:03  There's one question that we ask on the podcast at the end of the episode, and that is, if you could use a word that represents your object, what would that word be?

Tomiwa  36:15  Okay. Maybe this is a stretch, I don't, okay, um, I would say, joy. And I say that because of what the object is, but also, who gave it to me, and why they gave it to me and what it means. And I think every time I look at it, I just kind of smile, and it gives me, it gives me joy, and it makes me-- and it's very, very personal. Even when things are hard for me or challenging for me. A lot of the time, I can still smile through it, and I just picture my mum's face. And that's not to say, you should keep going and keep going, even when things are tough. You do need to give yourself a break. You do need to look after yourself however you can and take care of yourself. But it's also nice just to like have a laugh, and have those moments with people that are important to you. And I also feel very, incredibly lucky that I have this space in my life to be able to do that. And the tools to know how to do that. And like what you were saying earlier about compassion and self compassion and kindness. Those are not always things that have come easy to me. I've been allowed to, to explore that and understand that and I know, there's so many people that don't get that. So I'm very grateful for that.

Kate  37:51  Elias, what's your word?

Elias  37:54  So I need to justify my word, but my word is hope. And it's not a hope for a revolution and an overthrowing of global capitalism, it's not that hope. It's that at one time, this idea of I belong to this was unquestionable. Um, and like it was completely normalised. It gives me hope because I think that, you know, history will continue no matter what. And it's, it's, it's going to be like, you know, train continuing on. And, you know, in 40 years, what was thought impossible for me and I couldn't have imagined alternatives to will have been, you know, long gone, you know? 

Kate  38:45  Thank you so much both for coming along today. I've-- it's been great chatting to you.

Elias  38:50  Thank you so much for inviting us.

Tomiwa  38:52  No, thank you. It was really nice. Thank you so much. 

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Kate  39:01  Thank you for listening to Sharing things. Subscribe now for more conversations and more people. Take a look at our website to find out more about past episodes and guests. See you next time.

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Kate  39:12  I hope you've enjoyed meeting members of our University of Edinburgh community. To connect with more, join Platform One, our online meeting place for students, staff and alumni of the University. To find out more, search Platform One Edinburgh. 

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai