EDITORIAL

Stuart Hall’s wrote the landmark essay “Whose Heritage? Un-settling ‘The Heritage’, Re-imagining the Post-nation” 20 years ago, but it feels as if it is only now that the sector attempts to address the issues that he raised.

 Stuart Hall pertinently wrote: “Like personal memory, social memory is also highly selective, it highlights and foregrounds, imposes beginnings, middles and ends on the random and contingent. Equally, it foreshortens, silences, disavows, forgets and elides many episodes which – from another perspective – could be the start of a different narrative.”

Many conferences now claim to have the “diversity agenda” as their core aim, but as Stuart Hall asked in 1999 can the ”national story” truly be a “discursive practice”? Or worse, has it now become a purely (academic) discursive practice in itself in Britain?

 As Anish Kapoor’s Brexit artwork “suggests”, there is a frightening rift tearing the UK apart. In terms of multicultural Britain, while preparations are underway to commemorate the centenary of Amritsar or the 1919 Jallianwala-Bagh-Massacre, Britain is still struggling with questions like “Is it time Britain apologises for Jallianwala Bagh?”. Worse, some Brits would like, as Kehinde Andrews puts it, “an Empire 2.0” or wish to return “to the glory days when Britannia ruled the waves”.

 Meanwhile, French President Macron is promoting a “European Renaissance” to counter, among other things, a growing far-right movement in Europe. Macron wants the European Renaissance to cultivate a common European identity. But to what extent is it possible to have a coherent national or European narrative when it is increasingly difficult to confront divergent views and deep-seated silences?

 Macron’s France admittedly has the Orsay Museum in Paris running the exhibition “the Black Model from Géricault to Matisse“, which focuses on aesthetic, political and social problems revealed by the representation of black figures in visual arts, from the abolition of slavery to modern times. However, bizarrely, Macron seems to ignore that the Walls of the French National Assembly has a racist art mural, which is denounced by an international petition.

 What Monsieur le Président Macron surely nevertheless knows is, as reported by Libération, that an eminent French group of researchers wishes wider access to the archives relating to the genocide in Rwanda in order to establish the role that France played in Rwanda 25 years ago.

Thushari Perera

 

HERITAGE

 WHOSE HERITAGE? UN-SETTLING ‘THE HERITAGE’, RE-IMAGINING THE POST-NATION

By Stuart Hall (1999)

Stuart Hall

Read an extract of the article here via Reading the periphery

 

AMRITSAR CENTENARY

1919 Jallianwala-Bagh Massacre

Amritsar 1919 Massacre

“Is it time Britain apologises for Jallianwala Bagh?”

By Lauren Codling and Nadeem Badshah

(Eastern Eye, 10 April 2019)

Read the article here

AMRITSAR CENTENARY EVENTS

Museums

11 April 2019 – 2 October 2019

Amritsar 1919

“Jallianwala Bagh 1919: Punjab under Siege”

(Manchester Museum)

Find out more here

TV

“The Massacre that Shook the Empire”

will air on Channel 4 on Saturday 13 April 2019 at 9.00 pm

Read an article about this TV programme presented by journalist Sathnam Sanghera here.

Radio

“BBC Rdio 4 – Amritsar 1919: Remembering a British Massacre”

(28 min)

Currently Available to Listen here

AMRITSAR CENTENARY BOOKS

Amritsar 1919 Kim Wagner Book

Amritsar 1919: An Empire of Fear and the Making of a Massacre

(Yale University Press – Hardcover – 1 February 2019)

By Kim Wagner

Amritsar 1919 Kashi House

Eyewitness at Amritsar: A Visual History of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

(Kashi House – Hardcover – 18 April 2019)

By Amandeep Singh Madra & Parmjit Singh

Amritsar 1919 Anita Anand

The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the Raj

(Simon & Schuster UK – Hardcover – 4 April 2019

By Anita Anand

Amritsar 1919 Saurav Dutt

Garden of Bullets: Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh

(Independently Published – Paperback – 21 Mar 2019

By Saurav Dutt

25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GENOCIDE IN RWANDA

Leave None to Tell the Story

“Rwanda: 25 Years On, Solidarity With Victims

Justice Efforts Continue for 1994 Genocide”

(Human Rights Watch, 4 April 2019)

Read the article here

 

Access Alison Des Forges’ (Senior adviser to the Human Rights Watch Africa division) authoritative account of the Rwandan genocide, “Leave None to Tell the Story”.

 

Watch a short video including Alison Des Forges talking about the importance of memory, archives and records and the international community’s indifference and failure to act in Rwanda in 1994 here.

ART & CULTURE

“Anish Kapoor’s Brexit artwork: Britain on the edge of the abyss”

Anish Kapoor Brexit

By Jonathan Jones

(The Guardian, 3 April 2019)

Read the article here

“France is addressing black people’s invisibility in art. When will the UK?”

By Kehinde Andrews

Modele Noir Musee d'Orsay

(The Guardian, 28 March 2019)

Read the article here

 

“Say No to Racism on the Walls of the French National Assembly!”

By Mame-Fatou Niang

(Change.org/FrescoFiasco, 2019)

French National Assembly Mural

“My name is Mame-Fatou Niang, I am an Associate Professor of French Studies at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), a filmmaker, and a specialist of Afro-French Studies. On March 8, 2018, I was stunned by this huge fresco seen at the National Assembly in Paris. I shared the photo in my circle of friends and held several presentations in Brazil, in the United States and in England on the issue. On April 3rd, 2019, I received a tweet, a call from an Afro-French schoolgirl embarrassed, pained and angry after a school visit to the Palais Bourbon, where the French National Assembly seats. The teacher could not find the words to explain the inexplicable, to contain the laughters or the anger brought by this work of art commemorating the abolition of 1794. This petition, started with French novelist Julien Suaudeau, is a commitment to this girl: the object of her discomfort and of her anger, the object of our collective embarrassment must go!”

Find out more here

Read a related news article in the NouvelObs here (in French)

 

TV

 “Chadha’s Beecham House turns colonial cliches upside down”

Beecham House

(Eastern Eye, 10 April 2019)

Find out more here

LIBRARY

“Sheffield library dedicated to black literature ‘will help tell untold stories’”

Sheffield Library

By Robert Cumber

(The Star, 8 February 2019)

Read the article here

 

EVENTS

Until 30 April 2019

CONWAY HALL ETHICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS: WINDRUSH – BRENT’S PIONEERING GENERATION (CONWAY HALL, LONDON)

Windrush – Brent’s Pioneering Generation

Photographic portraits by Nadia Nervo.

 

‘Windrush – Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation’ traces the arrival of Empire Windrush and explores Brent’s Carribean Heritage through the eyes of its residents. Using photographic portraits and unique stories collected from residents, it celebrates 70 years of the United Kingdom’s Carribean diaspora. The ‘Windrush’ generation , named after the ship, Empire Windrush, which arrived at Tilbury docks, Essex on 22 June 1948 from the Caribbean. The passengers were invited to come to Britain to help with Britain’s post-war reconstruction. This event is seen as the beginning of immigration from the Caribbean that would go onto have such a profound and lasting effect on the culture, fashion and music of Britain. The people interviewed for the Windrush project came here to work in a wide variety of fields. Areas of work included: medicine, transport, industry, music, construction, entertainment, sport, politics and fashion. The intimate portraits of Brent’s Caribbean community by artist and photographer, Nadia Nervo offer an insight into their daily lives.  Since receiving a master’s degree in Art Communication and Design from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Nervo has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Investigating the relationship between photographer and subject, Nervo often works with strangers to explore the nature of how connections are formed.”

Find out more here

2 May 2019

EDWARD W. SAID LONDON LECTURE 2019: IS JUSTICE STILL POSSIBLE? PALESTINE, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND PUBLIC DISCOURSE (THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, LONDON)

Edward Said London Lecture 2019

“The rights of Palestinians are enshrined in international laws and resolutions. Yet Israel and its supporters continually act against them. What can international law offer to change this reality? In the spirit of Edward Said whose demand for justice for the Palestinian people was unremitting, and to celebrate its tenth year, the Edward W Said Annual London Lecture brings together four world-renowned scholars; Wadie Said will chair a discussion with Susan M. Akram, Hassan Jabareen and Philippe Sands. They will examine the question of Palestine from an international legal perspective, and address the role of political discourse in the struggle for justice in Israel-Palestine.”

Find out more here

18 April – 6 May 2019

2019 SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS EXHIBITION (SOMERSET HOUSE, LONDON)

2019 SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS EXHIBITION

“What You’ll See: The world’s best imagery from 2018 will be on show at Somerset House for the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. With more than 800 images on display, this global photography exhibition presents all winning and shortlisted entries, including the Photographer of the Year, from this year’s Awards across its four competitions: Professional, Open, Youth and Student. From portraiture to landscape, architecture to wildlife and fine art to street photography, the selection is truly international in its scope. The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday 18 April and closes Monday 6 May. The display will then embark on a worldwide tour.

Alongside the main display will be an exclusive exhibition of work by recipients of the 2018 Professional and Student Grants, as well as the shortlist and winning imagery of the ZEISS Photography Award 2019. Another highlight not to miss is the carefully curated set of images from The Swap Project, an initiative between the World Photography Organisation and the Creativehub where the global photography community swapped their best prints with one another.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY

A special curation of images and film by the Awards’ 2019 Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient Nadav Kander will exhibited in the East Wing. Celebrated for his intriguing photographic practice, British artist Kander has released seven books, been included in almost 30 international exhibitions and in 2015 was awarded an Honorary Fellowship Award from the Royal Photographic Society. A unique selection of acclaimed and lesser-known series – including his varied portraiture, figure studies, landscape and moving image works – creates a substantial survey of Kander’s career. This is a rare opportunity to witness the artist’s varied imagery all in one space.”

Find out more here

4-5 May 2019

BARE LIT FESTIVAL 2019 (THE ALBANY, LONDON)

BareLitFestival 2019

Bare Lit is a festival of stories, bringing together poets, journalists, playwrights and novelists. Join us for a weekend of readings and discussions, performances and debates, industry insights, networking and workshops. The festival is an initiative responding to the lack of inclusion of people of colour in the literature industries. Our research has shown that BAME audiences often feel excluded by the expense of these events. In 2015, the UK’s three largest literary festivals featured over 2000 authors. Of those 2000+ authors, only 4% were from Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian or East Asian backgrounds, based on a report published by Spread The Word.

Find out more here

10 May 2019

WHITE PEARL By Anchuli Felicia King

(THE ROYAL COURT THEATRE, LONDON)

White Pearl

 “It’s just a fun ad. Now the whole world is going crazy.”

“In Singapore, Clearday™ has developed from a small start-up company to a leading international cosmetic brand in less than a year. But when a draft of the company’s latest skin cream advert is leaked, the video goes viral globally for all the wrong reasons. YouTube views are in the thousands and keep climbing; anger is building on social media; and journalists are starting to cover the story. This is an international PR nightmare; the company cannot be seen to be racist, they’ve got to get it taken down before America wakes up. “It’s on Buzzfeed. It’s on Buzzfeed. We’re not defending it.”

White Pearl marks writer Anchuli Felicia King’s international playwriting debut. She is a New York-based, multidisciplinary artist of Thai-Australian descent. Director Nana Dakin has previously assisted on Mary Jane (New York Theater Workshop, where she is a Directing Fellow) and Wild Goose Dreams (Public, NYC).

Theatre Dialogue Club: White Pearl Wed 12 Jun 7.45pm (free but ticketed)
Dialogue Theatre Club is open to anyone who likes watching theatre and chatting about it too. It’s a bit like a book group, but for plays: you buy your own ticket to see the show when suits you, then return to the theatre on the day of the club to discuss it with other audience-members. Co-hosted by Maddy Costa and Rhiannon Armstrong.

White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King was developed with the assistance of Roundabout Theatre, Yellow Earth Theatre and Playwriting Australia’s National Play Festival 2018.

Find out more here

24 May 2019

WHOSE HERITAGE? Symposium with David Olusoga and Dawn Walton

(THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS, NEWCASTLE)

Whose heritage Symposium

“Northumbria University presents “Whose Heritage?”, a symposium honouring the 20th anniversary of Stuart Hall’s landmark address: “Whose Heritage? Un‐settling ‘the Heritage’, Re‐imagining the post‐nation”. The free, one-day event features internationally renowned Keynote speakers David Olusoga (BBC broadcaster and public historian) and Dawn Walton (Eclipse Theatre Artistic Director), plus panels and performances that reflect on Stuart Hall’s project to challenge inequalities in the culture and heritage fields.”

Find out more here

Until 17 November 2019

YINKA SHONIBARE CBE (TATE MODERN, LONDON)

Yinka Shonibare The British Library

“The British Library [installation] highlights the impact of immigration on British culture and invites visitors to join in the discussion. Yinka Shonibare CBE was born, studied and lives in London, but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2019 and has added the title to his professional name. His dual identity as British-Nigerian has been the starting point for much of his work. This is particularly true for The British Library, which contains more than 6,000 books. Printed in gold on the spines of 2,700 of the books are the names of first or second-generation immigrants to Britain. Whether celebrated or lesser known, they have all made significant contributions to British culture and history. There are also books with the names of those who have opposed immigration. Other books are unmarked, suggesting that the story of immigration in Britain is still being written. The books are bound in African wax print fabric, the artist’s signature material. The history of this fabric reveals a complex relationship between colonialism, cultural appropriation and national identity. It was developed in the nineteenth century in the Netherlands as a mass-produced imitation of the batik dyeing process used in Indonesia, a Dutch colony at the time. The cheaper, machine-made textiles were poorly received in Indonesia. In West and Central Africa, however, they were quickly adopted and absorbed into local traditions. An important part of the installation is a website, which can be accessed from the tablets. It contains recent materials selected by the artist to present different viewpoints relating to immigration. You are invited to submit your own story, and a selection of visitors’ responses will be available to view on the website.”

Find out more here

Read about the installation on Artforum here

CALL FOR PAPERS & CONFERENCES

27 June 2019

MeCCSA

DISCOURSES OF IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP: FROM WINDRUSH TO BREXIT

De Montfort University, Leicester

The media coverage of the Brexit Referendum in 2016 focused disproportionately upon the notion that Britain close its borders and reduce immigration if the country left European Union. Media discourse on the issues of immigration, race and ethnicity are best described as negative, whilst Government policies on immigration, appear to promote a hostile environment in order to deter potential immigrants. This discourse is not new, sixty years ago when the Windrush generation arrived in Britain they faced discrimination, prejudice and last year, a number of them who had arrived legally, most likely as children, were  been removed from the UK because they were unable to prove they had a right to remain.

So what if anything has changed in the intervening years since Empire Windrush docked in 1948 bringing to the UK hundreds of Caribbean migrants? What parallels are there between the media discourse of Windrush and newer migrants from Eastern Europe or further afield? Does post-Brexit Britain mean incidents like Windrush will be legitimised as the UK takes control of who is welcome in the country?

Although post Brexit immigration policies still remain worryingly unclear there is the possibility that people already in the UK under the Freedom of Movement Act will be required to prove their status. Therefore this conference examines media discourse on Brexit, and asks has it enabled racism and anti-immigration attitudes to flourish in British society? How does this discourse de-legitimise people’s histories and their political claim to British citizenship?

To mark Windrush Day, the MeCCSA Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Network, in collaboration with The Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, at De Montfort University examine if and how the media discourse on immigration has changed and evolved or have people’s personal narratives and right to live freely regardless of their background been taken away? To tackle these issues requires the consideration of political policies, histories and the media narrative.

Key note Speaker TBC

Academic papers are invited to explore (but not limited to) the following topics:

Please email a 200 word abstract and a short bio to meccsarace@gmail.com by Friday 3rd May 2019.

Following a review of abstract notifications will be made by Friday 18th May.

What legacies should be commemorated on Windrush Day?

What are the different legacies of Windrush? And what lessons can be learnt from it?

Is there a relationship between Windrush and Brexit? Ie commonalities and similarities.

How do people’s attitudes to immigration help us to understand society and media?

Has reporting on Windrush, immigration, citizenship and race enabled racism and prejudice to be normalized?

What does the discourse on immigration suggest for power relations in terms of gender and race?

What frameworks are required to address issues around race and discrimination following Windrush and post Brexit?

How do the media use immigration as a tool for racism in their discourse?

Immigration/citizenship what are challenges and issues facing newer and other minority communities.

Please email abstracts to meccsarace@gmail.com.

Any questions or queries please direct to gaujla-sidhu@dmu.ac.uk. This is a free event

8-9 July 2019

Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies

‘DIASPORIC DIALOGUES’

“The Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies (CCDS) in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum will host its fourth ‘Diasporic Dialogues’ conference on 8th– 9th July 2019.

The deadline for poetry readings, performances, panel and paper proposals is 8th May 2019. CCDS’ Diasporic Dialogue conference series aims to extend our understanding of diaspora, to connect diasporas and, in the process, to forge new critical directions. This year, we take up questions of slavery, about which, notably, UK universities have been overwhelmingly silent. Nonetheless, the recent ground-breaking UK report, ‘Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow’ centralises concerns with facing an institutional history embedded in the profits of Atlantic slavery (Mullen and Newman 2018). Key to the present day, the authors argue, is ‘how we intend to use our knowledge of this past’ in a “Programme of reparative justice.”

Given the UK’s history of prestigious institutions and their entanglement with the ‘profits of racial slavery’ alongside its centuries-long established black presence, this conference intends to a) question practices that serve to inhibit such necessary intellectual labour b) connect related theorising and practice, especially that centring the Caribbean region, North America, Africa and Europe and c) bring into relation the past centred on slavery, the present built on continued racial inequalities normalised through practices of slavery and colonialism, and the future burdened, already, with pressing issues of restorative justice and equity.

The RHS’ Race, Ethnicity and Equality in UK History (2018) rightly points to studies that have ‘extensively documented the persistence of racial and ethnic inequality in UK universities’. While the silence of History departments cannot be ignored, this conference is interested in interrogating the role of the Humanities as a whole in maintaining a complicit silence. Bringing past, present and future, diasporic spaces and home together, our focus on Atlantic slavery and its afterlives seeks also to question anxieties suggesting consideration of slavery as backward-looking, particularly in ‘post-racial’ times.

While centralising the place of the humanities in our deliberations, we wish to invite proposals from scholars in any discipline interested to explore critical, theoretical, and creative questions in relation to the Caribbean and its diasporas. We particularly welcome North-South and South-South intersections and/or dialogues. We welcome papers that are interdisciplinary and / or stretch the limits of this theme to include a range of forms of cultural expression including music, visual arts and digital technology. We warmly welcome interest from postgraduate and early-career researchers in the field.”

Possible topics for consideration include but are not limited to the following:

  • Knowledge(s) of Slavery and Decolonising Methodologies for the University
  • Gender, Sexualities, Representation and Slavery
  • Caribbean Imaginaries, ‘Relation’ and Conditions of Cultural Production
  • Activism and Vision – Past and Present
  • Slavery, Languages of Justice, Creolisation, Diaspora and Region
  • Theoretical Discourse and the Creole Cultural Artefact
  • Oral Word/ Written Word/ Visual Art/ Verbal Art
  • Towards an Inclusive Humanities
  • Legacies of Slavery, Absences, Trauma and the Gendered Body
  • Connecting Diasporas/ Global connectivity
  • Windrush Legacies and histories
  • Diversity, Europe and the Black Atlantic/Black Pacific
  • Views of the Diaspora from Caribbean and other Harbours
  • Race/ Racism/ Institution/ Social Justice
  • Colonial/ Imperial legacies, Visibility and Voice
  • New Literacies centring the Caribbean/ diaspora

Proposal/ Submission Deadline: 8th May 2019

Notification of Acceptance: 17th May 2019

Abstracts

Submit an individual proposal of not more than 250 words and a brief biography (100 words) with full details including institutional affiliation. Complete panel proposals (250 word overview + 250 word abstracts for the papers + brief CVs) to the conference email. Both Abstracts and Bios are required. Please send both to the Conference Committee at caribbean@gold.ac.uk

Dr Marl’ene Edwin SFHEA, FRSA

Deputy Director | Churchill Fellow

Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies (CCDS)

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross

London, SE14 6NW

T: 020 7919 7402

E: m.edwin@gold.ac.uk

W: www.gold.ac.uk/caribbean

 

Image Credits: Stuart Hall via Wikimedia; Jallianwala Bagh Yvan Travert / AKG-Images via the Newstatesman; Jallianwala Bagh 1919: Punjab under Siege via Manchester Museum; Anish Kapoor, “A Brexit, A Broxit, We All Fall Down”; Exposition Modèle Noir, Musée d’Orsay; Mame-Fatou Niang; Beecham House via Canneseries; The Star (Sheffield); Conway Hall Ethical Society; Mosaic Rooms; 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition; Bare Lit Festival 2019; White Pearl via the Royal Court Theatre; AHRC-funded (Multi) Cultural Heritage fellowship at Northumbria University; Yinka Shonibare.

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