Pole dancing and ABBA: How UoN’s societies have adapted to lockdown

Pole dancing society have hacked the system

Transitioning from face-to-face gatherings to now virtual rendezvous, societies have adapted and diversified in new and nifty ways.

UoN campus might be closed, but students have kept it alive: whether it be virtual concerts, online sign language classes or using a washing line for pole dancing. Nottingham students are certainly proactive, and willing to get involved no matter the circumstances.

We spoke to Nottingham’s best student societies, and here’s how they’re adapting to remote uni life.

SignSoc- ABBA ‘sign-dub’

With sign language so dependant on the face to face interaction, lockdown has been a challenge. Despite the huge setback, new online classes known as “signsolation” have proceeded, giving members of this society a different perception on ways sign language can be taught.

With weekly Zoom calls from 7-8pm every Tuesday, instead of paying the £1 fee directly to the society, members have  donated money to SignHealth, a charity aimed to improve the wellbeing and health of deaf people. This society has done numerous British Sign Language quizzes, addressing the topic of deaf culture. The amount of people attending these remote sessions has been outstanding and increased in-depth learning about deaf awareness has been achieved. 

Before lockdown, SignSoc were in the process of creating a “sign-dub” to “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. Despite the challenges to continue with this project, they managed to send in clips, and dress up like ABBA to create a fun recording. They’re in the process of piecing the clips together and attaching subtitles, to create an inspiring and uplifting piece of work.

ABBA themed zoom call

Despite scheduled trips and events being postponed, members have continued thriving in combined groups of mixed abilities and some members have even joined “signsolation”, have cultivated an inner confidence, feeling more involved than ever before.

Blowsoc- online concert

This music society is for people who play woodwind, brass, percussion, double bass, and big band jazz. They typically rehearse up to 9 times a week but have had to cancel several concerts. A devastating ‘blow’ to the members of the society. However, they have tried their best to keep the uplifting ambience of the society alive.

The society have raised over £1600 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, by creating an “Online-angaza”. It was put together by members playing their individual parts at home.

On the 27th and 28th June, Blowsoc, along with other societies, are taking part in Upload Virtual Festival, a festival designed to support various arts across Nottinghamshire, including music, dance, comedy, and much more.

Members have also taken part in a Blowsoc Bake Off and shared results on social media.

Acapella- zoom renditions

With acapella so dependant on being in a physical group, the concert and last big music event of the year was unfortunately cancelled.

However, through the power of Zoom, members of the Radioactive group collaborated to create an outstanding rendition of George Michael’s Faith, whilst Unplugged group members brought Are you ready for love, Elton John, to life. Members have even tackled quizzes during Zoom socials.


Acapella practising on Zoom

Pole Dance society- nifty pole use

With no physical classes, pole dancing has been difficult to practice in lockdown.  The society is organising strength, flexibility and tips videos, to make sure the members still continue with their pole fitness.

Members have instead found alternative methods to continue with their passion for pole.

A washing line

A lamp post

And a home pole… for the luckier few

Creative Writing society- online book

This society, along with other creative societies, hosted a live online creative showcase, broadcasting Nottinghams most talented students. The showcase was supporting Nottingham Hospitals Charity and they managed to raise £340.

In addition, Firelight magazine, their original magazine, was unable to be published in paper version. However, a online copy was made available and published.  Firelight contains fiction and poetry, with a range of genres from romance to sci-fi; the diversity of styles makes firelight a great read and can be a great distraction during lockdown.

Front cover of Firelight magazine

Board Game society- play over a server

And finally, board games, which are typically played in large groups, have been skilfully moved to an online platform where games can be played in a less formal way, from the comfort of your own home.

They set up a discord server where members can communicate online; both in voice and on text.

The society is already ahead of the game, thinking about alternative methods, should social distancing measures continue in the next academic term.

Lockdown has certainly been no impediment to Nottingham societies. Committee members have combatted Covid to come up with innovate, exciting and original ways to function.