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PhD student forms punk band to enrich her research


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Starting up a punk band while studying for a PhD has helped a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student to immerse herself in her research more than ever before.

For her PhD, Monica Hingorani works closely with families in Leicester to help better their understanding of creativity, and to demonstrate how activities centred around arts and culture can support children’s development and enrich their learning.

2022 Dada Women
Monica (right) with her band Dada Women

“I ask participants to share their experiences of creativity in family life and get them to try new things, and this has prompted me to reflect on my own creative journey,” she explained.

“That’s why, when I was offered the chance to learn how to play an instrument and form a band, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. What better way to try and understand creativity and interpret it for a wider audience, than by exploring my own personal creativity.”

In January, Monica was introduced to a project called Unglamorous Music, which was set up to encourage more women from diverse backgrounds – including older women – to pick up an instrument and set up a band.

Through the network of women involved in the project Monica, alongside four other like-minded women, formed ‘Dada Women’; a punk band inspired by artists involved in Dadaism – an avantgarde art movement in the early twentieth century renowned for breaking social conventions.

Alongside learning to play bass, guitar and drums, the band have already written and arranged four original songs on things that matter to them, from a community garden project to protesting against violence against women. Now, just two months since they met, they are preparing for their first live performance.

On Tuesday 8 March, to mark International Women’s Day, Dada Women will take to the stage as part of an all-female line-up for a special event at Duffy’s Bar, Leicester.

Duffys Postwr

“Joining a band as a 55-year-old woman is a little out of the ordinary but for me that’s why it is important. It’s about the experience of learning something new and using creativity in new ways to express my ideas,” said Monica.

“Working in this intensive way with a group of enthusiastic peers has been the antidote to the isolation and the 'Zoom-athon' of life as a student in lockdown.

“I feel more confident now in my fieldwork with families because I've honed my social skills and connected with new people, in new spaces with fresh ideas.”

Monica’s PhD research forms part of Talent 25 – a joint project between DMU and Arts Council England that explores the effect that regular exposure to arts and creativity has on children’s development.

Talent 25 will follow babies born in specific parts of Leicester for the first 25 years of their life, to see what happens when they experience the likes of painting, singing and music, dancing, puppets, drama, reading and messy play on a regular basis.

For more information about Dada Women’s gig at Duffy’s Bar on Tuesday 8th March, or to get tickets, click here . The event is free but there will be a collection for Leicester-based women’s charities Women’s Aid Leicestershire and New Dawn, New Day.

Dada Women will also be performing earlier in the day on the same day, at a free lunchtime event hosted at Attenborough Arts, from 12.15pm-1.30pm. Details available here.

Posted on Friday 4th March 2022

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