Emma Jayne Park’s talk – Stuck in the middle with who?? – got this year’s TEDxPortobello off to a flying start. Emma is a dancer with a strong sense of socio-political activism in her work. She founded dance company Cultured Mongrel and, as she told us today, mongrel is a word that is integral to her sense of identity.

Here’s 5 things we learned from Emma Jayne today.

  • She loves Aussie soap¬†Home and Away – and as a nine-year-old, Alf Stewart‘s derogatory use of the phrase ‘flaming mongrel’ made her question what the word means, and whether it’s really such a sign of inferiority.
  • Emma Jayne celebrates being a mongrel – she’s trained in many different styles of dancing, from jazz to hip hop. But people haven’t always understood. But when she decided to define herself as a ‘cultured mongrel’, her identity became clearer.
  • At one time, Emma Jayne had four CVs, three social media pages, and lots of Twitter handles. She had to become an efficient manager to communicate who she was to people.
  • Amazingly, she once had funding rejected from a well-known funding body on the grounds that the word “mongrel” was offensive”! “Purity is a fallacy,” Emma Jayne said. “You just don’t see everyone’s layers on first glance.”
  • “You are the average of the five people you spend most time with”. This quote by American entrepreneur Jim Rohn was the starting point for Emma Jayne’s talk, and where she ended. “Mongrel is a term I would encourage you to embrace,” she concluded, “because it makes me far more than the average of the five friends I spend the most time with.”

Find out more about Emma Jayne

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