Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures

Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures
31 Aug – 2 Sept 2018
University of Leeds, United Kingdom

African-Atlantic Futures

Three-day International Conference

At a time when new dynamics are emerging around the issues of justice (transitional, reparative, etc.), mourning and commemoration in Africa and its diaspora, the conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to consider the current historical conjuncture and the extent to which it reveals new questions about memory in the historical, temporal and social contexts of slavery and imperialism. For example, how do the growing calls for reparations and the urge to restructure or challenge the politics of commemoration within imperialist societies point to the emergence of new “conceptual-ideological problem-spaces” (Scott, Conscripts of Modernity) in how African-Atlantic postcolonial communities engage with historical memory? How will an analysis of these dynamics, of the gaps they point to, and of the urgencies they highlight, foster new understandings of the stakes that the particular memories of slavery and imperialism bear within the spaces marked by this history, including the imperialist societies themselves?

In tackling these questions, we wish to consider the valences of performance in the contemporary moment and the extent to which they are cross-fertilising and mediating the most urgent issues in Africa-Atlantic memory. We wish to reflect on how spaces and modes of performance – including, but not limited to, theatre, dance, literary texts, music, visual art and sports – are being used to energise both the particular and the entangled concerns of aesthetics, politics and epistemology within the memories linked to African-Atlantic colonialism and slavery. Are contemporary performances of memory, particularly those that point to African and Afro-diasporic alternatives to Euro-Western modes and models, reflecting historico-political and cognitive shifts in how the relationship between African-Atlantic pasts, presents and futures is conceived?

The three-day international conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to approach these issues from a vigorously cross-/inter-disciplinary perspective. We invite scholars, artists, curators and other professionals within fields as varied as literature, theatre and the performing arts, visual art, history, law, anthropology, cultural studies, to engage in a conversation around the dynamics of memory within the historical framework of African-Atlantic slavery and colonialism and the political, aesthetic and epistemological specificities that they engage in the current moment. We hope to underscore how these dynamics, too often overlooked in the critical and theoretical sites of memory studies, are currently shaping, reshaping and (re)mediating the global flows of memory.

We propose two main axes of investigation:

Shapes and forms of memory

How do we think the forms and effects of the enfleshed, material memories of slavery, colonialism and their afterlives and the ways in which these are enlisted in the spaces of performance, be they physical (theatre, dance, ritual, oral performance, etc.) or textual (the different performative manifestations of the written word)?

This question necessarily involves a consideration of how African diaspora time-senses fashion modes of performance of memory and how oral and ritual performance forms impact, shape, record and encode memory in the context of colonial violence. Can African and diasporic forms of embodied memory become tools that combat imperialism? How can the performance of post-slavery/ post-Empire memory shed new light on Western theories of memory that emerge from Holocaust studies or on Western theories of haunting, trauma and mourning?

Epistemologies of memory

What challenges do African diasporic modes of memory bring to Euro-Western epistemologies of justice, History, and the human? How does postcolonial memory call into question the social deployment of memory within the nation and across nations? At a time when the movement for reparations for slavery in the African diaspora is achieving unprecedented momentum, we invite contributions that question settled understandings of the triad of time, history and justice and those that address postcolonial engagements with memory through “corrective” performance practices of justice, “truth-telling” and witnessing. Additionally, in considering institutional marginalization, suppression, and exclusion of postcolonial memories, we seek contributions about practices that challenge the order of remembrance in official commemorations, museums, schools, archives and discourses.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • institutions of memory

  • memory and the law

  • memory and reparations

  • memory and colonial enlightenment

  • memory and ‘the human’

  • new ‘problem-spaces’ of memory

  • memory and futures

  • Black Speculative Arts Movement and futures

  • Afrofuturism

  • ritual performance and futures

  • decolonising memory

  • decolonising the museum

  • decolonising the curriculum

  • citation as a politics of memory

Each presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes in order to save time for questions and to ensure a smooth program.

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts in English of no more than 300 words should be sent to afroatlanticfutures@gmail.com by Friday, 2 March 2018. Please send abstracts in PDF or Word format, accompanied by the title of the paper and a short biography. ­­­­­­

We also welcome proposals for complete panels, which should consist of 3 presenters. Panel proposals should not exceed 500 words and should be accompanied by short biographies of each of the presenters.

The organising committee will communicate acceptance decisions no later than 9 March 2018.

Conference Conveners

Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant (University of Leeds)

Prof. Maxim Silverman (University of Leeds)

African-Atlantic Futures
Keynote speakers

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Dr. Louise Bernard (Museum of the Obama Presidential Center)

Prof. Lubaina Himid (University of Central Lancashire)

Prof. Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University)

Prof. Adam Sitze (Amherst College)

Dr. Chokri Ben Chikha (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent)

Please address enquiries to Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant.

Quiet racism and why our work is so important.

Source: nbcnews.com

LONDON — Disparaging reactions to Prince Harry’s relationship with actress Meghan Markle have highlighted the racism and class snobbery that persist in British society.

The American will become the first person who identifies as biracial to join the upper echelons of the U.K.’s royal family when she marries Harry in May.

But some black women said coverage of the Los Angeles native’s roots by some media outlets is indicative of the underlying racism that they experience daily.

“I feel like racism in the U.K. is pretty insidious,”

said Paula Akpan, a co-founder of Black Girl Festival which celebrates black British women.

Read the full story. Quiet and overt racism against black women in Europe is a problem which is why our work is so important. Help us build the most comprehensive directory of organizations in the UK and across Europe that support black women. Submit the names to contact@bwiesmg.org today.

Our 2017 Annual General Meeting

Board Members

Annual General Meeting

The Black Women in Europe™ Social Media Group held its 2017 Annual General Meeting yesterday. Board members in Copenhagen, Denmark, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Sweden and New York, USA met via Skype and telephone.

Of the 8 members of the Board, one was in Stockholm protesting the slavery of African immigrants in Libya and another was being interviewed by German state television and were unable to attend.

Of the 10 agenda items discussed this change to our Statutes is of direct interest to society:

7) RULES FOR MEMBERSHIP AND EXCLUSION

All persons who completely accept and support the statutes of our association are welcome to become members of the Black Women in Europe™ Social Media Group.

Scholarships can only be awarded to Members who are black women living in Europe. For these purposes, a black woman is defined as having direct African descent.

Membership fees and donations will be used to cover the costs of executing and maintaining the three pillars of the organization.

Voting results: 8 Aye
Board members unable to attend the full meeting were offered a Proxy to submit their vote. 3 votes were submitted by Proxy.

You have been accepted into the Google Developer Challenge Scholarship

Investing in our future

Google Developer Challenge Scholarship

I am very pleased to have received this news! In my application I stated that I want to learn how to ensure that I can fulfill one mission of our organization:

To provide alternative platforms to mainstream media to showcase and promote positive images and news stories about black women in Europe. The platforms will include a multi-award winning blog and social media.

Congratulations! #GoogleUdacityScholars

We are excited to offer you a Google Developer Challenge Scholarship to the Front-End Web Developer track. We received applications from many talented and motivated candidates, and yours truly stood out.

Class begins November 6, 2017. As a scholarship student, you will be automatically enrolled into the program. We’ll be sending you an email on the first day of class, November 6th, 2017, with instructions to get started.

Chaitra, on behalf of the Udacity and Google Scholarship Team.

Decolonial Daughter

Lesley-Ann Brown

Our board member Lesley-Ann Brown will have a new book published next year. Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to Her European Son will be available in paperback on –15 May 2018. 

A Trinidadian-American writer and activist explores motherhood, migration, identity, nationhood and how it relates to land, imprisonment, and genocide for Black and Indigenous peoples.

Having moved to Copenhagen, Denmark from Brooklyn over 18 years ago, Brown attempts to contextualise her and her son’s existence in a post-colonial and supposedly post-racial world where the very machine of so-called progress has been premised upon the demise of her lineage. Through these letters, Brown writes the past into the present – penned from the country that has been declared “The Happiest Place in the World” – creating a vision that is a necessary alternative to the dystopian one currently being bought and sold.

Pre-order now in Europe or the US.

Board Member Irene Opira’s Kulturföreningen Maisha presents NANDI FLAME

Presented by Maisha Cultural Association

NANDI FLAME NANDI FLAME

 

Welcome to an evening inspired by Wangari Maathai, environmental activist and founder of the Green Belt Movement, also the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. If the trees – Nandi Flames could speak, then they would sing about Wangari Maathai and tell you this evening about the global climate and the situation in Africa. A performance of dance, music, and ghosts will be to and fro about the climate.

Extreme weather and natural disasters around the world make us unable to shut up for climate change. But much can be prevented and prevented.

Come and listen to Mats Nittve Vi-forest ambassador who tells you about their amazing work in East Africa. On stage, dancers meet and have a dance show! The Troubadour Tauna Niingungo plays on several instruments, including a rainstorm. Jessica Karlén about doing stand-up in South Africa and much more.

participants:

Mats Nittve Vi-forest ambassador

Tauna Niingungo Trubadur

Jessica Karlén artist, writer, and comedian

Darun poet

Charlotte Rieback & Diasmany Dance (Afro-Cuban)

Matilda Peltonen solo no

Kulturama dance show

The program is supported by the City of Stockholm. Maisha Cultural Association is part of Kulturens Bildningsförbund.

Photo: Goldman Environment Prize
Length: 2 hours incl. Break
Price: 120 kr, 100 kr student / retired
Date: 23 Sep, 19:00, Teater Pero

Meet Board Member Andy Collins

Note: One day in 2006 I received a phone call from Andy Collins. He had me at, “Hello” with his smooth voice draped in an English accent. He wanted to talk about his idea of a website about black culture in Sweden. He also offered to update my Black Women in Europe™ logo. He’s been my idol ever since.–Adrianne George

Board Member

Andy CollinsAndy Collins is freelance graphic designer and entrepreneur from London, England and lives in Uppsala, Sweden.

After arriving in 2005, Andy started the Afro-Swedish website urbanlife.se, a unique platform at the time focused on highlighting and supporting afro-Swedish culture.

His design projects reflected his desire to work with Black culture and the community with clients such as CinemAfrica, African History Week and Black Women in Europe™.

A passionate music lover and DJ in 2014 Andy started Urbanlife Radio sent directly from Uppsala’s Castle. He has also DJ’ed at several venues around Uppsala.

Since then he has been involved in several projects and currently devotes his time to supporting soul music from across Scandinavia on scandinaviansoul.com.

The website held the first ever Scandinavian Soul festival in 2013 and holds an annual award show.

Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well

Our board member Lola Akinmade Åkerström has published a new book, Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well.

Lola Akinimade
Books We’re Loving this Month: August

The hardcover version, released this month, was chosen by the famous British bookseller WH Smith for inclusion on their reading list for August:

We love nothing more than discovering new books, and even better, having a good chat about them afterwards with fellow bookworms. And so whether you’re devoted to Richard and Judy’s recommendations, searching for some Fresh Talent to read before all your friends, or simply looking for something new to get lost in on a Sunday afternoon, take a look at the books that we can’t stop talking about this month and let us know what you think!

We couldn’t be more proud!

Available on Amazon.co.uk

Available in Spanish.

Available on Amazon.com

Board Member

Award-winning writer and photographer Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström has photographed and dispatched from roughly 60 countries for various publicationsHer photography is represented by National Geographic Creative.

Her work has appeared in National Geographic TravelerBBCCNNThe GuardianTravel + LeisureSlateTravel Channel, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, National Geographic Channel, several in-flight magazines, amongst others. She was in South Africa on a photography assignment for National Geographic Channel and was featured in a vignette called “Through The Lens” which airs on Nat Geo channel across the globe.

She also owns and runs Geotraveler Media – a multimedia and travel consulting firm providing a spectrum of travel media-related services from writing and photography to web design and social media. She is editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm – an editorial site which encourages travelers to explore Stockholm deeper and slowly.

She is also a founding member of the Nordic Travel Bloggers (NordicTB) collective which brings together the top professional travel influencers and digital storytellers in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.

“Chocolate with milk?”

Source – CNN

Former tennis great Ilie Nastase handed four-year ban for racist Serena Williams slur

Serena Williams
Williams ranked number 51 in the Forbes 100 List of Highest Paid Athletes last year and was the only woman!

Former grand slam winner Ilie Nastase has been banned from any official roles in tennis until 2021 and fined $10,000 for his foul-mouthed outbursts during a Fed Cup tie between Great Britain and Romania in April.

During the tie, Nastase, the Romanian team captain, made “racially insensitive” comments about Serena Williams’ unborn child, the London-based organization said in an emailed statement on Friday.
He also made “abusive and threatening comments” to British No. 1 Jo Konta and a female British reporter who had reported his comments about Williams.

On the first day of the tie, Nastase had wondered out loud what skin color Williams’ unborn child would have after Romanian No. 1 Simona Halep was answering a reporter’s question about the 23-time grand slam winner.

“Let’s see what color it has,”

Romanian and British reporters had quoted Nastase as saying.

“Chocolate with milk?”

 


“It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers,”

–Serena Williams

Editor’s note – This is just Another example of why our work is so important. Help us compile the most comprehensive directory of organizations across Europé that support black women. Send submissions to contact@bwiesmg.org.