Dr Rebekah Okpoti

Liverpool Hope University

Presenter Profile

Rebekah Lectures in Musicology at Liverpool Hope University and is Director of Music at Lancaster Priory. She is known on social media as The Girly Organist. Rebekah’s academic work is in the field of Domesticity spanning Theology, Culture and Composition.

Anne Lister, the Pipe organ and The Girly Organist:

Curating the sound world of an icon to address bigotry

This paper will address perspectives on bigotry through the combination of a reflective ‘own voice’ contribution in the form of Rebekah’s Diary Entries, from a mixed African heritage Pipe Organist ‘The Girly Organist’ as a scholar about the Organs of Anne Lister Project (BBC Gentleman Jack). The Organs of Anne Lister Project is funded by Arts Council England. The Organs of Anne Lister Project set out by Dr Rebekah Okpoti to compose and premiere a new pop inspired Organ work, with Her Ensemble, the UK’s first Women and Non-binary string orchestra performed in Halifax Minster, England. Anne Lister of Shibden Hall is the focus of the BBC drama series Gentleman Jack written and directed by Sally Wainwright for BBC and HBO. This chapter addresses the areas of Bigotry, New perspectives, Contested spaces and Feminine representation in sacred church spaces. In the world of church music the pipe organ reigns supreme both in stature, status and sound impact, it is for all intents and purposes masculine. Bigotry for women in the organ and church music world manifests itself through connection to place, space and the pipe organ in an unprecedented way. Globally the pipe organ and church music world profession is split 50/50 male and female in gender binary however there is masculine tendency with little space for feminine tendency present. Bigotry in this context shows itself through reception of the individual rather than as a collective statement. This paper overviews a forthcoming book chapter in The Role of Arts and Creative Practice in Addressing Bigotry (2024), UA Press, as part of the Freilich Project for the study of Bigotry.

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