Last weekend I completed the second part of the Ceremony Matters super conference on Diversity & Inclusion. The first part on Non-Binary thinking and LGBQ+ identity was held last October and there will be one more section on Mental Health & Disability in April.

Of course we should have been meeting in a lovely conference venue and able to chat away till late over a glass of wine or two. I really miss that social and networking aspect of a conference. It’s just not as easy on Zoom. On the other hand there’s no long journey in winter down to England and I save a lot of money on accommodation. (And wine!)

I also find that it can be easier to really focus on a presentation when it’s on screen. And there were some excellent sessions. It’s always really important to hear people’s own experience, and one thing that struck me was the constancy with which people of colour face all those daily “micro-aggressions”. And the toll of stress – major and minor but continual, that I as a white man just never have to deal with. Of course we all face stresses and have to contend with difficulties in life but the colour of my skin isn’t one of them.

Dundee is not a very ethnically diverse city but I still think it’s important as celebrants to be aware of these issues and how they and the language around them is changing. Today we hear a lot of criticism of political correctness and “woke” culture but for me it’s about trying to understand people and their situation. To really listen to their stories without judgement or pre-judgement. To do so with respect.

Thank you to Emma Curtis who organized the conference and to all who presented and attended and took part. Well worth the tired eyes by the end of Sunday!

Michael Hannah, Dundee, 21st January 2021

Conference: Racial Equity – Deeper than Skin

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