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Blending Art and Politics at Macalester

Before the pandemic and the protests over George Floyd’s killing hit Minneapolis last year, pianist Paul Cosme (Philippines, UWC Robert Bosch College, Macalester ’22) had separately pursued his two majors in international studies and music. But then, he writes, “I realized quickly that art is a political tool, an aesthetic expression of a culture. “I composed countless music during these months. One of them is a clarinet quintet called ‘Rememory,’ and is published by the UCLA Music Library. This piece, echoing Toni Morrison, is my reflection on the George Floyd protests and the role of memory in trauma and healing.” He also had a piece of writing included in This Was 2020, a book on the experiences of Minnesotans during the pandemic and the protests.

Last summer, Paul received a G. Theodore Mitau Grant “to explore the politics of art,” he says, “emphasizing the role of networks, both living and non-living, in daily political life.” He’s part of HASTAC Scholars, an international fellowship that “works in the intersections of art, technology, science and the humanities.” He is co-chair of the college’s Filipino Association, and he helped to create the campus BIPOC Student Coalition. “This is a platform for BIPOC students and organizations to synchronize and solidify our efforts in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on campus.”

Paul also serves as vice chair of governance for the UWC National Selection Committee in his home nation. “I want other people from underprivileged backgrounds to receive the same chances I had from UWC, with hopes that they will do the same.”