RARE  RISINGSTARS 2013 The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 6


Ré Phillips

MPhil International Development
University of Oxford
Arts and Community Activism
Ré Phillips

Whether it is the marginalisation of the Mexican community in the US, victims of human rights abuses in China, the forced migration of Nubians or Bengali migrants living in slum communities in New Delhi, Ré finds a way through song, visual art, performance and qualitative research to stand in solidarity with them all, while promoting a message of justice and peace.

“Ideas that bring people together are really important.”

Ré’s first culture‑linking project started in 2004 when she joined with her local community centre to found !Viva Español¡, an exploratory Spanish learning programme designed for local African‑American youth to learn Spanish, thereby bridging the language and cultural barrier between themselves and the local Latino population. Ré herself speaks Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, and Arabic.

Ré recently graduated with honours from Stanford University where she was awarded the Young People for Social Change fellowship and wrote a prize‑winning undergraduate thesis on the history of political interactions between China and Black America from 1929‑2009. While at university, Ré sang the title role in the opera Aida before an audience of 3000 and travelled to China, Uganda, and South Africa to use musical performance to connect people of different identities, cultures, and backgrounds.

On several occasions, Ré has been commissioned as an American cultural envoy to perform in various international productions. In 2007, she travelled to Beijing to perform in the international premiere of ‘Passages of Martin Luther King’, a play that sought to internationalise King’s message of non‑violence, justice, and equality. In addition to performing in Beijing’s Oriental Pioneer Theatre with the National Theatre Company of China, Ré has also performed at the National Theatre of Uganda and toured with the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In late 2012, she was invited to sing as the principal performer at the First International Nubian Tourism and Heritage Festival in Khartoum and Wadi Halfa.

Just to prove her full range of creative abilities, Ré also has professional experience as a visual artist, in which her work explores symbols of faith and peace in transnational contexts. She has exhibited her artwork in New Delhi, Barcelona, Oxford, Atlanta and Palo Alto.

“As an artist, I strive to alchemise both personal and global socio‑political struggles into musical and visual works of beauty, hope and fascination.”

Through all of Ré’s endeavours flows a common stream of non‑violence, mutual understanding and the power of shared dialogue; messages that Ré is proudly expounding through word and art and deed.

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