Wales goes woke

Wales goes woke


norman lebrecht

May 14, 2021

press release:

The College is very proud to announce that Professor Uzo Iwobi OBE has been appointed as a Vice President of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. 

Uzo is currently a Specialist Policy Adviser on Equalities to Welsh Government. Previous roles include Commissioner to the Commission for Racial Equality UK and Chief Executive Officer of Race Council Cymru. 


  • Alexander says:

    the name sounds like a personage from Star Wars …

    • La plus belle voix says:

      And your job, Ἀλέξανδρος, is to defend the man.

      • Alexander says:

        your name sounds like another personage of that cosmic saga 😉 est ce que tu es la plus belle voix vraiment ? je voudrais entendre 😉

    • Max Raimi says:

      And you share a name with one of the greatest mass murderers of the ancient world.

  • Kenneth Griffin says:

    Uzo joined the College three years ago, and has now been appointed alongside eleven other VPs. So, no reason for any provocative bloggers to wet themselves at this news.

  • M McAlpine says:

    As it is a college of music, a relevant question might be, is he a musician? Or just a specialist in equalities?

    • Marfisa says:

      That would be a she. And she is a lawyer – an expertise much needed in these contentious days for any college administration.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Who asks about musical qualities if equalities are concerned? What is more serious: the suffering of people or the suffering of music? And what happens if people suffer because of the suffering of the music? And what if both become insufferable?

    • Mr. Knowitall says:

      SHE is a lawyer with deep experience in racial equality and human rights. That matches the job she was hired to fill.

      • Patrick says:

        Getting ridiculous …A non musician/dramatist for the Welsh college as VP! Next we’ll be having an ex banker/doctor/painter as a leader of a major London orchestra. World has gone mad. It’s who you know now, to run the musical asylum.

    • SVM says:

      Alas, this is not the first instance of an executive appointment being made to a non-musician. Last year, the ABRSM appointed a computer scientist (and former university pro-vice-chancellor) as its chief executive. I find it perplexing that these prestigious music organisations seem unwilling to seek a candidate who has both a *professional* background in music and suitable managerial/administrative experience. I realise that the population of Wales is less than half of the population of London, but I still find it hard to believe that such a candidate does not exist… or could not be ‘groomed’ for the job (e.g.: head-hunt a former lecturer in music from a Welsh university/conservatoire with administrative experience or a former principal of one of the Welsh orchestras who has worked in Higher Education and who has served as chairperson on one or more management committees).

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Politically Correct Persiflage.

    • Marfisa says:

      I clicked on the link within your link to the excellent essay by Helen Pluckrose. In her concluding paragraph: “Our current crisis is not one of Left versus Right but of consistency, reason, humility and universal liberalism versus inconsistency, irrationalism, zealous certainty and tribal authoritarianism.” Yes!

      So, in that spirit, I hope you do not think that having a qualified lawyer experienced in matters of equity on the governing body of a College of Music counts as craziness.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Indeed I don’t. But there is a little bit of worry in the corner of my mind – since the appointment was seen as necessary at all.

        • Marfisa says:

          It is indeed sad that it is necessary. Racial inequities existed before they became a ‘woke’ (I HATE that word) issue, and they have not gone away.

          • Le Křenek du jour says:

            > “…and they have not gone away”

            Nor will they.
            “Inconsistency, irrationalism, zealous certainty and tribal authoritarianism,” to quote Ms. Pluckrose, make very ineffectual instruments of structural change.
            Change the structures, and only then will the mentalities change. But such change is as slow and difficult as it must be profound.

            Wokism works akin to the biblical whitewashing of sepulchres: a thin coating of lime to mark ritual purity; beneath it the old rattling bones and accumulating decay.

            This is not the way to bring about durable, viable, sustainable change. And when the fashion abates, as it inevitably will, the next spring floods will wash away the last of the lime. The skeletons will still lie in there, rattling, and for all the clamoring and empty posturing, not one thing of substance will have changed for the better.

          • Marfisa says:

            Yes, Le Křenek, I agree, and the “slow and difficult change” will come about in part by appointing well-qualified and experienced people, such as Professor Iwobi, to positions on governing bodies of institutions.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Oh god, where are Gilbert and Sullivan when so sorely needed?

  • Miranda Green says:

    A shame that the article was not illustrated with a photo of the college – to my mind a more attractive piece of architecture.

  • Symphony musician says:

    For the sake of my patience and that of many other readers of this blog, can we please have a moratorium on the word ‘woke’ on this website, not least from its author?!

    • John Borstlap says:

      I read that in London an anti-woke society is in the process of being set-up, with luminaries like [redacted] and [ redacted] at the board, and that its name will probably be the ‘Wise Online Knowledgeable Elite’. But there is still some controversy about the name.