IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION
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Cover Photo : Travis Alabanza www.travisalabanza.co.uk Photographer: Jay Lee
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A NOTE FROM THE LEAD. There is a growing tension and unrest worldwide that cannot be ignored. This can be heard in the quiet whispers and private conversations of the marginalised. If you listen and look hard enough you will see the tremors and signposts online and on social media. Yet, this is not a private conversation that we should be having. This is a conversation that requires everyone to be in the same room at the same time. With everyone sharing a seat at the same table having a voice and being heard. There should be no secrets and no pretence, particularly in universities where we are asking our students and ourselves as educators to expand our understanding of complex theory and artistic vision. Identity, Disruption, Democracy and Subversion has been given to you to aid dialogue, discussions and actions in the hope that we as creative practitioners can create meaningful change. • • • •
I cannot escape my Identity as long as statistically it is likely that I will underachieve because I am Black In order that I am not pigeon-holed or labelled I must Disrupt(ion) this ideology I believe in Cultural Democracy which means that many cultural traditions coexist in human society, therefore no one culture should be allowed to dominate and become an ‘official culture’ How does one de-stabilise and Subvert a system that is proven to be unfair?
Unfortunately, these are concepts that marginalised people cannot escape in their daily existences. My hope for this document is that it can bridge the growing divide that is rapidly occurring for PoC. That we can build a new level of consciousness, awareness and actions that will lead to a revolutionary shift in our approaches to marginalisation. Salute! Melodie Holliday
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KEY QUESTIONS. 1.
What responsibilities do we have as POC (People of Colour) when performing Blackness?
2. How damaging are negative representations and stereotypes of blackness to people of colour? 3. What is the role of the ally in social justice education? 4. Has popular culture commodified the black female body as hypersexed? 5. Is it Blackface when a person of colour performs it? 6. What are the impacts of internalised racism? 7. People of colour are underrepresented in the media and when PoC are visible, it is often in stereotypical ways. How can we change this? 8. How is colourism reinforced in society? 9. How does stereotyping affect the student experience? 10. What are the key barriers for social justice in creative education? 11. What are they key ingredients to make unique creative work? 12. What does decolonisation of the creative curriculum look like? 13. What are the roles of subjectivity and objectivity in creative inclusive pedagogy?
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Critical mass- Illustration by Daniel Holliday
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CRITICAL MASS. Over the past 5 years I have noticed a growing presence of focus on the underrepresented voices in Higher Education. Within University of the Arts London, I don’t think this is new. This institution have for many years engaged with collectives of the marginalised but what has changed are these voices visibility. Some of the activities, collaborations and or supporting organisations this particular institution has engaged in includes:
BAME Talent Day Careers and networking event for all undergraduate and postgraduate graduates, as well as industry representatives that are interested in entering the teaching profession. The talent programme that was started at LCF by Angela Drisdale Gordon, which has now been rolled out at several colleges across UAL and has contributed to the progression, access and invitation to industry specialists from diverse backgrounds, many who are UAL alumni.
Black Art & Modernism www.blackartistsmodernism.co.uk Launched in 2015, a three-year research project in collaboration with Middlesex University exploring the question: “How do artists of African and Asian descent in Britain feature in the story of twentieth century art?”. The project is being led by Professor Sonia Boyce, Chair in Black Art and Design at UAL who will produce a range of materials based on the research findings.
www.blackblossomsexhibition.tumblr.com This exhibition was curated by the then Arts Student Union Education Officer (2015/16) Bee Tajudeen, supported by UAL and Shades of Noir. It ran from July to October 2016 and celebrated the voices of black women. It included paintings, photography and illustrations from recent UAL graduates predominantly exploring the intersections of gender, race and identity. Around 800 people attended the exhibition, making it one of UAL’s busiest Showroom events. This organisation has now grown beyond this institution.
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Diversity Matters www.diversity-matters.org.uk In April 2016, UAL alumna Kai Lutterodt ran a Diversity Matters Awareness Week in collaboration with the Diversity team, Teaching and Learning Exchange, and Shades of Noir. The aim was to highlight the relevance of diversity within arts, media and education. The initial successful collaborative intervention propelled Diversity Matters to continue to develop and live beyond the institution.
Group for the Equality of Minority Staff (GEMS) This group was established in the mid 1990s and was then chaired by Avril Horsford, who is no longer with the institution, however GEMS continues. GEMS endeavours to promote the personal development and create a network of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff. GEMS has a membership of over 100 BAME staff across all departments and levels. We are the largest and longest standing staff network at UAL. This community of members contribute to discussions, and monitoring the progress of the Universityâ€™s published objectives, including the Equality & Diversity Strategy. Additionally it is a forum to meet and develop friendships and support beyond your department and or college via face to face or virtual interactions.
International Curators Forum www.internationalcuratorsforum.org A network that meets to discuss emerging issues of curatorial practice in the context of key events in the international arts calendar. It offers bursaries and professional development opportunities to curators and works in partnership with key national and international bodies. This program has been conceived to promote opportunities for curators to visit and participate in several major international art events to enable them to network and gain experience for their career development.
Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) www.transnational.org.uk/about The University of the Arts Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation is a forum for historical, theoretical and practice-based research in architecture, art, communication, craft and design. Central to the Centreâ€™s activities is a consideration of the impact of identity and nation on the production and consumption of artworks and artefacts in this new global context. Transnational relationships are explored through crossings that traverse different media including fine art, design, craft, curation, performance and popular art forms. 8 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
Shades of Noir www.shadesofnoir.org.uk Shades of Noir (SoN) is an independent organisation, created in 2009 by Aisha Richards and delivered by evolving groups of students, graduates and academics to inform teaching and learning within Art, Design and Communication Higher Education (HE). Its aims are to enhance the practice, process and experiences of students and HE staff. SoN do this by placing marginalised communities at the centre of HE and embedding social justice in all aspects of curriculum design, teaching practices and institutional processes. Additionally, SoN provides space, knowledge, expertise and a visible intersectional presence for students, graduates, HE staff and creative practitioners both virtually and physically.
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Whilst this in many ways may illustrate the overarching institutional support to give voice and space to the underrepresented which they should take pride in. It doesn’t however illustrate the challenges to circumvent the following effecting the marginalised individual, the things I have experienced personally, witnessed happen to others, or and heard of from staff and students of colour includes: Marginalisation Treatment of a person, group, or concept as insignificant or peripheral. Cultural Misappropriation The adoption of cultural elements in a colonial manner: elements are copied from a minority culture by members of a dominant culture, and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context—sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of representatives of the originating culture Oppression The exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner Prejudice An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. Racism A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. Tokenism The practice or policy of making no more than a token effort or gesture, as in offering opportunities to minorities equal to those of the majority All of the above still linger in the air within arts higher education. I know this may not sit well with some. However, here are some questions for the creatives, staff and students reading this to think about. These may help understanding and identify some practices that have negative effect on people of colour, impact lives and attitudes: •
How many staff of colour do you have in your facility, department or organisation?
How many times have you gone to lunch with a creative, staff or student of colour?
Can you name any senior staff of colour in your institution or organisation?
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Have you ever witnessed racism and challenged this in the workplace or educational setting?
Have you ever suggested to a staff member of colour to go for promotion?
Do you use the term ‘BAME’ even when talking to a person of colour who doesn’t use this term?
Have you ever talked to people about issues you’ve witnessed regarding racialised inequality?
To be honest these questions only touch the surface but I think they are a good start for reflection and understanding. Who and how we can be complicit as individuals even when an institution is making steps to transform. This institution feels like it is on a journey of meaningful transformation, with a growing critical mass of marginalised communities supporting sectorwide change - let’s see what happens...
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MY SHADES EXSPERIENCE. Words by a Mica Schlosser.
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I’ve never had a stranger just starting touching my hair on the subway. Or my skin. No one’s ever asked me why my art is about my whiteness. Or to justify why I’m concerned with my family history. A fellow student has never said she can’t look at me while I’m talking because of my white face. I don’t get called thuggish or intimidating for sitting in the corner of the cafeteria with with friends. When I travel, I don’t get chosen by security. My country isn’t banned, but bans others. People don’t stare at me when I walk into a faculty room, or an office, or a classroom because I’m the only one with white skin. My parents have never denied the legitimacy of my sexual orientation. Or called it a phase. Or attention seeking. Or refused to call me by the pronouns I identify with, instead of by those I was born into. In ten, twenty, thirty years—I’ll be called auntie, mother, grandma. And it won’t cause any discomfort. Any awkwardness. Any dialogue, really. *** These are everyday, lived realities, that have been described to me since I started working at Shades of Noir. In interviews or more casual conversations. And with story, I was shocked. That these things still happen—and happen every day. And that, fundamentally, reveals my privilege. Privilege is a fluid thing, I think. Our relationship with our own privileges, our understanding, is one that I imagine will continue to shift. Growing up, I’ve always been uncomfortable with the randomness of privilege. Why should I have benefited from such a good education, a home, a loving family, a system of support, because of my birth? Something I had no control over. But the privileges I’ve experienced due to my white race, and even my American nationality, I’ve only fully started to understand since working for Shades of Noir. And this is not because people made me feel my white western privileges. Because I’ve been somehow excluded or a minority for the first time. No. I’ve long felt complicit to systematic forms of oppression—oppression that I’m just starting to understand the scale of. But this year, the lived experience of these
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oppressions has come into sharper focus. And within myself, I’ve been trying to find the ways in which I can be an ally. One of the things I find trickiest is when to be vocal, and when to be silent. When standing aside, and listening is the most important thing for a person in my position as a white woman. Yes I am more than my race, gender, and class. But the realities are that white American women have a complicated relationship with intersectional feminism—something I think Shades of Noir represents at its core. How do we make amends and reparations? How do we hear criticism without closing up? Without counter attacking? Without falling back on our own forms of oppression? Our definitive mechanisms? I don’t have the answers. But I think being better listeners is a start. Criticism of ‘white feminism’, for example, is not a critique of all white feminists. It’s an attempt to unpack the ways in which feminism that does not explicitly consider the impacts of race, or sexuality, is failing to represent a huge proportion of women. From my own perspective, I think prejudice is often rooted in ignorance. But unlearning assumptions, confronting bias, hearing criticisms of how your own progressive stance is limited or even hurtful—can be a difficult process. But this makes sense. Inequality is so pervasive. It has been so divisive. It has (and still does) enabled some human beings to strip others of their humanity. Remedying this reality was never going to be a simple process united under a banner of solidarity for women. It was never going to ‘work’ by ignoring different experiences. These divides existed at the very inception of the Women’s Movement over 200 years ago. The damage that has been caused is too complex, and too deep rooted, for the ‘solutions’ to be simple and painless. But what I think women who are threatened by intersectionality fail to see is that this form of feminism is not ultimately trying to break the movement apart through internal criticism. Intersectional feminism aims to include. And in order for this process of inclusion to occur, criticism must be viewed as an aspect of progress--not as an obstacle. My time with Shades of Noir has taught me that it is better to be trying to change, learn, grow, speak out, or listen as an ally—than it is to stay silent. Afraid of causing offense. Of saying something ignorant, hurtful or damaging. Do I still worry about doing this? Yes. This is my third attempt at this reflection because I don’t want to proselytize, claim to have the answers, come across the wrong way, say the wrong thing. But it’s a work in progress. And despite the complexities and nuances of our intersecting identities—some things are very simple. The words that come to mind are focused on womanhood, but it is relevant irrespective of gender: 14 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
Photograph taken by Jay Lee
â€œI am not free while any other woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my ownâ€? (Audre Lorde) The last 8 months have shown me that these shackles, in their various forms, are often ignored. Undermined. Dismissed. Or, once called attention to, quickly denounced as paranoia, weakness, or sensitivity. As a white woman, I may have not only ignored these chains, but benefitted from their grip. Shades of Noir has given me a clearer lens through which I can see both the oppression of others, my own complicity and privileges, and the channels through which I can make reparations as an ally or activist.
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BLACK STRUGGLE AND WHITE VITALITY. Words by a Ebun Sodipo.
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I’ve been thinking about the cycle that black people have found ourselves in: oppression resistance - success - co-option/appropriation - more insidious, abstracted oppression. I am worried that the vision of present day activists will be co-opted and while for a moment we’ll think we’ve succeeded, that everything is much better, we come to find that the bindings have simply taken on new, strange forms. There isn’t anything fully realised yet but I want to put down my thoughts right now, and then continue researching and thinking. •
Black bodies are disposable bodies. We are reminded of this every time we see dead black bodies on our screens. We are reminded of this when we hear Black Lives Matter. We are reminded by the number of black men in prisons in the UK, Brazil and the USA. This is known.
But does blackness function in the psychic economy as simple disposability and fungibility? Is our configuration in this global system of race simply one of disposability and fungibility?
There is obviously something productive about blackness. We do not exist simply to be othered and exploited. We do not simply exist to be the ground zero of domination, subjugation, oppression. In terms of the system of race, i.e. white supremacy, blackness seems to have an especially crucial positive quality.
The conditions which bring blackness into consciousness also mean that blackness is rejuvenative in some way for the global system of race. The means by which we become racialised subjects, the consciousness that one belongs to a race, is the means by which the powerful maintain their power, the privileged their privilege.
After every ‘win’ of the black race around the world there is severe backlash that functions to keep the black race in its place, its inside-outside quality, its social death. Every ‘gain’ for the black race has been accompanied by major material gain for the oppressing class. In fact it is directly through the putting through of the ‘gains’ of black folk that the oppressing class gains. I am thinking of reparations for slave owners in the British Empire following the abolishment of the slave trade and slavery; the Reconstruction in America, Haiti’s independence and consequent indebtedness to Britain, France and then the USA; the end of Apartheid and the deepening of black poverty in South Africa; mass incarceration in the USA and prison labour, the role of IMF and aid funds in postcolonial contexts.
But I am also thinking of the condition of Blackness as struggle. I am thinking about what Black culture means in the context of cultural capital and cultural appropriation. Black culture is produced under struggle, blues, jazz, rap, critical race theory, any sort of art that affirms itself as Black, graffiti. As Hortense Spilliers says, Black culture is a revolutionary culture. But what does it mean when our cultural products are continually taken from us, out of context, made to produce some value for whiteness.
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I am thinking of how blackness functions in the paradigm of modernity. Blackness is that which was made to birth modern notions of freedom and liberty. Capital, finance, loans, corporations grew to be what it is through the trade of predominantly bodies that were labelled black. It was constituted to aid in the construction of what we call the modern West.
I’m thinking whether blackness functions in this world to rejuvenate and transform whiteness when its position is being threatened, i.e. when capitalism is being threatened.
I’m thinking of how our theories are incorporated into the mainstream but our oppression carries on, but the mainstream simply evolves by taking our theories and using them to construct new ways of making value, capital while keeping us down, down where we continue to create products to rejuvenate the constantly nearly dead construct that is whiteness.
I’m thinking of the use of ‘diversity’ to increase profit in university, in films, in companies.
The only way of escaping this cycle, that of struggle, to intellectually and cultural resistant, radical, liberatory production, to the incorporation of these products into the mainstream, to the evolution of the mainstream, to the continuation of struggle. Every time the struggle changes, because the methods of subjugation change, sometimes only minimally and slowly other times quite rapidly and obviously. We become confused on how to deal with the new changes, time is required to understand these new changes and then more time to build tactics to fight and resist with, all the while the oppressing class continues to benefit, with greater increases, from our continued subjugation, and all the while we continue to die. As we build new methods of resistance, these are swiftly appropriated by white people.
I am thinking of the impassioned recent discussions on cultural appropriation, on attempts to define exactly what it is, how it happens, what can fall under it. I am thinking of memes and how they are a product of black resistance that are becoming increasingly capitalised by corporations, business and white people. I am thinking of the ways the circulation of these memes is being more closely surveilled now.
I am thinking of the inextricability of capitalism and race (racism).
I feel as though the discussion about cultural appropriation comes from the recognition by black people of this cyclical history. We are understanding that Western notions of freedom and liberty when it comes to cultural and even intellectual exchanges were ‘created’ alongside and through the conception of blackness as subjugated, of black people as always subjugated and needing subjugation. I am thinking it seems more than coincidental to have such theories of cultural exchange that enable and empower those in a privileged positions but give nothing to the marginalised.
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I am thinking of the post on Tumblr that asked for alternative form of resistance besides protesting to raise the awareness of people who are already perfectly aware and choose to do nothing.
I am thinking of Hamilton, The Get Down, Netflix’s roster of ‘diverse’ shows. The V&A’s BBZ takeover. The use of black bodies as enticement, as advert, to induce pleasure, ease guilt, to produce nothing but the permutation of the status-quo. This history goes back to the institutional European practice of enslaving Africans.
I am thinking of supposed liberations that always retain a recognisable vision of the future.
There seems to be a certain flavour within blackness where our attempts and struggle for liberation simply result in further sophistication, abstraction of the mechanisms of oppression. How can we affirm and fight for liberation for blackness that does not see it incorporated into an already existing structure, a structure whose existence is dependent on our continued subjugation in some way? Instead of liberation we enter upon a new terrain with the same relations in place, namely race. Instead of liberation we enter upon a new terrain, unfamiliar yes, but we remain familiar to each other as subjugated, and not, ‘those who were previously subjugated’.
I am thinking now of the Yoruba diaspora, arguably one of the most visible of the African and the Black diaspora and how it is a massive, though largely unacknowledged part of the cultures of more than a few South American countries.
I feel as though our propensity for amazing cultural and intellectual products is directly a function of our subjugation and that the continuation and permutation of our subjugation require the oppressor having some access to these products, if not that our subjugation simply requires these products to sustain itself. Are our products under subjugation not what the oppression class desire anyways? After all, good art is made in the midst of struggle right?
Blackness, on the stage of white supremacy, functions as a productive machine, a source of cheap/free labour. But blackness for those who actually have it, who are part of it know better.
Perhaps I am seeking ways to amplify the thoughts of those already Black, to put through our notions of blackness, our own stage, our own ethics and notions of freedom and liberation. We do not seek to make it commensurable with the desires of whiteness. The existence and functioning of whiteness depends on the subjugation and constant negation of blackness. No more. But how do we protect against appropriation of our struggle?
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IN CRITIQUE OF BLACKFACE AND INSTITUTIONAL INDIFFERENCE TO RACISM. By Dr Deborah Gabriel, CEO, Black British Academics
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Who is this Neanderthal that dons Blackface, Disrespecting my people and mocking my race? The imbecile that when challenged, says “I’m not racist, I have Black friends” Yet is ignorant of, or indifferent to what offends, The fool that does not know the history of racial oppression, cultural appropriation or misrepresentation, But perhaps worse of all, is that this took place at the Bournemouth University Summer Ball,
And people of all ethnic backgrounds willing to challenge injustice. To the universities we say, we will not tolerate racism forever, It’s time to get your act together, Higher education should be a culturally democratic space, Whatever your ethnicity or race, That is why I have resorted to poetic words of resistance, To address the growing institutional indifference,
Where Black students had to suffer upset,
Passive victims we will never be,
Because of a climate of disrespect,
We are self-determined people seeking true equality.*
Despite the protests there is no action, So for people of colour there is no satisfaction, Through critical race theory I have come to realise, That racism has been normalised, Such an affront makes a mockery of any claim to value diversity, So don’t talk to me about your Dignity, Diversity and Respect Policy, Until there is some action on racial equality, As a Black academic, united I stand with students of colour in pursuit of social justice,
* http://blackbritishacademics. co.uk/2016/07/05/in-critique-of-blackfaceand-institutional-indifference-to-racism/
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WHAT IS PERFORMANCE ART? CHAPTER 1. Words by Katy Jalili.
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A look at non-male artists claiming performance art. In the 70’s, there was a big revolution of feminist movements and performance art. This doesn’t mean feminism and female artists didn’t exist before, but for the first time women were being noticed for their creativity. However, this acknowledgement wasn’t all positive. Many women artists were sharing their frustrations with society, exploring ideas around gender, sexuality and misogyny, and male artists were not all that supportive, neither were they impressed. Still about 40 or so years later, the works of non-male performers go under appreciated. The most relevant performance to the subject of male artist’s entitlement to female bodies and their art, is the “Interior Scroll” a performance art piece by Carolee Schneemann in 1975. In this famous piece, she stands naked in a gallery, takes out a scroll out of her vagina. This piece was not necessarily aiming to be titillating or to excite the male gaze, although many art critics perceived it as such, but this piece was a comment on how art made by women is always undervalued, and not taken seriously. Apparently what had inspired Schneemann to make this piece was comments from art critic Annette Michelson who refused to watch Schneemann’s art films, perhaps due to their erotic nature. A year ago, I had the pleasure of having a very quick chat to Schneemann herself now age 77 at the Cafe Oto event on the Dialectics movement. As someone
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who explores body politics herself, she gave me a great perspective on how to explore personal and social issues that challenge the patriarchy, bearing in mind commodification and self righteousness. Instead she advised me to question the social structures that are evil and oppressive such as Capitalism, Heteropatriarchy and White supremacy, these were the roots of women’s movements within performance art. Around the same time as Schneemann, art history also witnessed the revolutionary Ana Mendieta, a performance and time-based media artist, a woman of colour whose work continues to influence many artists and activists. Mendieta’s work was also questioning gender, representation, gendered violence and many other subjects such as body-earth art. Mendieta was a Cuban migrant in the US. Her work was not necessarily about race itself, however it is impossible to separate the race from the body in the same way that it’s impossible to separate the gender from the body. The reason for these being the social structures mentioned earlier. After meeting her husband Carl Andre, she became interested in “How women’s art practices affected male artist social attitudes?”. However, after her sudden death in 1985 we may have found the answer to the question. Many believe that Andre murdered her. collectives such as Where Is Ana Mendieta, 24 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
have been protesting the showcase of the work of Carl Andre at the Tate, and they believe that abusive male artist should not have a place in art galleries. The work of Ana Mendieta is highly under represented whilst the works of many male artists even if they were accused of abuse is never affected by their past. However, performance art as a medium has been one of the mediums claimed by women and non-binary/queer artists as a medium to address these issues, which in my personal opinion performance empowers the artist and educates the audience in a way incomparable to visual arts. Performance art demands the idea that our bodies are political, which makes the work inherently political. This is emphasised on the level of societal oppression the artist might be facing too. For example, a person of colourâ€™s art will always be interpreted as a commentary on race. For most artists, using art to express their frustrations with social oppressions, whether it is about racism, sexism or homophobia is an act of empowerment and relief. Which is what made the 1970â€™s feminist art so powerful, as it was the start of a discussion on oppressions. But now almost 40 years later, artists are still talking about arguably the same issues, so will we as artists who face oppression, ever have the luxury to make art about anything else but our chains? Or is that even a luxury to yearn for?
Further Reading: Performing Oppressions www.shadesofnoir.org.uk/performing-oppressions/ Gifs as art = Gifs as resistance www.shadesofnoir.org.uk/gifs-as-art-gifs-as-resistance/ Carol Schneemann- Interior Scroll www.fineartmultiple.com/blog/carolee-schneemann-interior-scroll-masterpiece/ Where Is Ana Mendieta?- Tate protest www.huckmagazine.com/perspectives/reportage-2/ana-tate/
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GRRRRRRR 1. Words by Melodie Holliday
I will not dance for you I will not be part of your entertainment I will not be the one black girl you went out with once In your youth. I will not be your fling Your other woman The exotic Dressed in tiger skin That thing That you talk about in the locker room to other men. That all singing all dancing bit on the side The doormat you carry The dark secret you hide
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I am not here for your amusement So don’t tell me I have no sense of humour I am not your erotic golliwog And I will not laugh at your jokes While she dances to amuse you I pity her confusion She will do anything for that cheque Even sell her soul It’s her way to survive Me I would rather stay poor
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Illustration by Daniel Holliday 28 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
AUNT JEMIMA, PICKANINIES, & WOGS. Words by Beatrice Carey.
Dialogue of the Perpetuation of Stereotypes. Growing up in white spaces in my small town and being the only black face in white dominated parts of academia consistently left me with the impression that I, at any given moment would have to give a performance. Whether it was having to play up black stereotypes while amongst my white friend to appear cooler than I was, showing off the fact that I had rhythm while dancing to popular black music, or even translating popular slang and terminology on demand. At some point during the latter end of my sophomore year of undergrad I decided I was going to turn away from performing stereotypes for this particular audience and keep my artistic integrity by only representing black artists, figures, and struggles in an uplifting light. Unfortunately, not every black artist chooses this path. The art world is a very difficult field to not only survive, but thrive in. Those chances decrease if you are an artist of color and decline sharply if you are a black artist. So I can truly understand the feeling of finally establishing oneself and work amongst an audience that not only gives you a platform, but a paying one at that. The silent unequivocal questions that black artists in particular must ask and answer for themselves are, who are their intended audience and what is it that they wish to communicate to said target. Some black artists embrace their heritage and incorporate that into their work. While others want to be seen just as an artist and to let their works transcend race and time. And then there are others who buy into gimmicks or fads of the time and to the audience that has the largest buying power or in short, are artists for hire. For artists of color, it can be way too easy to make your race a gimmick. When artists do this, and in particular black artists, it is truly the whole race that suffers, as this becomes the new definition of black art and its purpose in the art world. With poor representation in artistic fields, any negative depiction creates difficulty for the next generation and cheapens the legacy of black art and artists before it. When viewing artworks that perpetuate oppression , my heart saddens and I instantly think back to my own American Black History. Most do not understand the racist stereotype that Aunt Jemima depicts. Aunt Jemima perpetuates the mammy archetype of black women. The belief that black
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women are obese, repugnant, and only fit to take up roles of domestic accord and therefore were subservient to the ideal image of beauty: the white woman. The idea for Aunt Jemima came from a minstrel show written in 1875 and the use of this as a symbol for the pancake and waffle brand came into play in 1890 by former slave Nancy Green. As time progressed those who played this role were looked down on by the black community as it propagates the negative and destructive underlying beliefs about black women. This practice is tactlessly quite common in art today. If black women are seen at all in the gallery spaces, and in the view of the white gaze, it is most likely in the form of one of the archetypes placed upon the double minority. More often than not black women are fetishized under the umbrella of the Jezebel archetype, or the hyper-sexualisation of black women to enforce the belief that any violent sexual act forced upon them has been asked for because of the common knowledge of promiscuity supposedly perpetuated by all black women. The root of this can be found throughout history in the form of the adulterous appetite of white men, the jealous nature of white women and both wanting to absolve themselves of any guilt or blame. As this has been institutionalized into our way of life and subsequently into our thinking and understanding of aesthetics, it comes as no surprise that this has found its way into art. It can be seen in our media, music, and has subtly dominated our regard for black womenâ€™s bodies. Artworks made by PoC, who unknowingly perpetuate oppression by reinforcing negative stereotypes does the same for not only Black British individuals, but black people overall. It stirs up the pain the immigrants of Windrush endured in England, and the continuous suffering of the descendants of the Diaspora and those who are fighting for better representation for PoC, but most of all it shows an insensitivity and ignorance in understanding Black History in the UK and around the world. It also helps to reiterate the privilege that comes within the dynamics of colorism. As white privilege conquers, it also divides other ethnicities. This comes in many different forms but the most obvious comes in the form of complexion. The use of wogs, pickininies, or any other destructive blackface image as merely an object for play when it has been used to symbolize racial discrimination proves that the intended audience was not and could not be people of color, but for those who throughout history have found joy and humour in this kind of imagery. It is disappointing to watch performances such as this and to see the racist America and UK come alive through pieces such as this and to see that the Arts Council England and other prominent institutions who shape the momentum of what is deemed aesthetically pleasing support this blatant depiction of racism under their name. Just because the artist is black does not mean it is acceptable for them to do derogatory work towards their own community. Remember, there were black performers who participated in minstrel shows. As artists we have history in our hands, we are the voice of our generation and documentors of the unseen. This is evident in many great works such as Goyaâ€™s Third of May painting, and it is 30 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
our duty to make sure that the work we are creating tells an accurate account of our era and its people. My only desire for black and PoC artists would be to ask them to begin to study Black History and to themselves when given the task of creating work that could be detrimental to marginalized races ask one question: Would you want anyone to depict you in history the way you have portrayed the black race or PoC in this particular piece of work?
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Art work by Samia Malik 32 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
ART BY WOMEN OF COLOUR ARTISTS AND CULTURAL ‘NEGOTIATION’. Words by Samia Malik.
Cultural political complicity and silence that was instructed in art education after the black arts movement in the 80’s and 90’s, created a generation of A Political POC artists, products of art schools in the late 90’s and 2000’s. In the 80’s Women of Colour artists acutely battled to discuss their identities in the most true and honest form, using politics as a tool to frame discussions about identity, gender and race. Fast forward to 2000’s, women of colour artists emerging in art school, were being told that identity politics should be presented through a refined context - to provide the least amount of discomfort to the white supremacist gaze. As women of colour, our experiences of racism and sexism live with us from inside our homes, to work, holidays, exercising, shopping - everywhere. We cannot escape, separate, divide, isolate, segregate our human experiences of convergence of our struggle that we carry with us twenty-four hours a day. In a capitalist patriarchal world, women of colour are not meant to be seen, let alone heard. Our presence is the problem, our presence in white supremacist institutions is a conflict and a war zone. As a lighter skinned South Asian Muslim woman who doesn’t wear hijab, with superficial tokenised institutional art school privileges, I have to check myself continuously. I also come from a generation of artists, who were trained and functioned to be A Political. However, as a Muslim woman I do not have the option to ignore and turn-away from the rampant disease of Islamophobia. My superficial privileges have allowed me at times to ‘switch off’ and be nebulous about my struggle, which only proved to be further counterproductive. As a younger artist in my 20’s, I negotiated between politics, and the industry often. Now in my mid 30’s and after studying brave and bald Women of Colour artists from the 80’s, I do not feel the need to negotiate and am not willing to compromise to make abstract art in the name of ‘contemporary modernism’ victimising my body and other black and brown bodies to fit-in and entertain the oppressive white supremacist culture. To reach certain decisions, women of colour artists with privileged positions and access, need to confront and negotiate with themselves, and retain self-criticality to not fall into traps of a reformist culture that customarily uses social injustices to reform racist white supremacist culture.
ARTISTS, CAN YOU EXPLOIT YOUR OWN CULTURE? Words by Charisse Chikwiri
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“You have to have a realisation, that when you exploit your own kind, that you are in effect, counter revolutionary. That you are hobbling and crippling the struggle of black people’s freedom and dignity” - Robert Beck. There are two definitions of exploitation, the first being to “use or utilisation, especially for profit.” This can be understood as common practice in creative industries, where art and business intersect, and cultural identity is commodified. An example of this would be ‘Blaxploitation’, a term coined in the 1970s to refer to a genre of black action films, aimed at black/African-American audiences. The genre rose after the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, as many African Americans became actively dissatisfied with the lack of representation of their culture in Hollywood’s film industry. Whilst the rise of the genre had much cultural significance, it was also heavily criticised for reinforcing socially damaging stereotypes of black characters and for its lack of artistic integrity. Exploitation can also be defined as “selfish utilisation,” synonymous with “taking advantage” and also understood as “the act of treating someone unfairly, in order to benefit from their work.” In the arts, exploitation is often discussed under the umbrella of cultural appropriation and ethics. Where “members of the dominant culture (or those who identify with it) [exploit] the cultures of minority groups.” However, since we are asking if it’s possible “to exploit your own culture?”, appropriation does not apply to the progression of this particular conversation. For several possible reasons, “the exploiter” is always in a higher a position of privilege or power to those they exploit. Be it through class, access to resource, access to knowledge, heritage or wealth. It is important to note that these factors of privilege are not exclusive to those of the “dominant culture.” Rarely, do we discuss how a culture can be exploited by those within it, and what kind of effects this has. In an article about Film Director Lee Daniels’ proposed remake of ‘Paris is Burning’, Myles E. Johnson explores how Daniels uses “his material proximity to a culture or experience in order to exploit it.” “Lee Daniels’ ability to exploit narratives is never questioned because we often only look at shallow evidence of who is a part of a community and who is not.” Meaning there is a general assumption that, if you are part of a community, you cannot exploit it. So, Lee Daniels being both black and gay, recreating a film (Paris is Burning) that represents also black and queer individuals, the assumption would be
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that he cannot exploit this experience. Thus, ignoring other evidence, such as the “transcendental” privileges of his wealth and integration into Hollywood for example. Both of which the characters of Paris is Burning were not afforded, or able to obtain, and were further affected by being marginalised within the drag scene/ball culture of New York. (Please read the article by Myles E. Johnson, for further clarification). Whilst the dominant culture is quickly called out and critiqued for its exploitation, the language to critique those who identify with the minority is still very limited, and must be explored intersectionaly. For example, Brett Bailey, the white South African artist behind the controversial ‘human zoo’ exhibition. Another case of misplaced privilege. Whilst Brett Bailey may be African, and his exhibition was about an aspect of African history. He is white, and of European descent. His whiteness makes him able to distance himself from the harsh realities of the black experience, as and when he wishes. “Those who have caused Exhibit B to be shut down brand the work as racist. They have challenged my right, as a white South African, to speak about racism the way I do. They accuse me of exploiting my performers. They insist that my critique of human zoos and the objectifying, dehumanising colonial/racist gaze is nothing more than a recreation of those spectacles of humiliation and control.” - Brett Bailey. The “they” Bailey speaks of are black people, the descendants of the mothers, fathers and siblings, who he displays as lifeless objects in chains and cages – reinforcing painful imagery of lived experiences and subjecting them to “public interpretation.” So as Bailey wishes, the public “explores the meaning” of this evocative and in many cases traumatising work, and then what happens next? How does this push society forward? Those who have privilege of being able to look at the work subjectively, have a new topic for their dinner time conversation, whilst those who are directly affected by it, are left to process the trauma caused by it. The work is violent and emotionally abusive, as well as exploitative. So again I ask, as a critique, how does such work push society forward? Why is it always those with privilege, even if they identify with the minority, who feel entitled to create this controversial work? There are many questions that need to be asked and answered by the artists behind such work, BEFORE, they are sponsored and granted residencies to exhibit it. Accountability is a vital virtue. 36 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
Further Reading: Scafidi, Susan (2005) Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law (Rutgers Series: The Public Life of the Arts). besser.tsoa.nyu.edu/impact/s99/Projects/paper/joanne.html www.separatecinema.com/exhibits_blaxploitation.html www.philadelphiaprintworks.com/blogs/news/to-serve-celebrity-lee-danielsand-the-possibility-of-a-paris-is-burning-remake www.thoughtco.com/cultural-appropriation-and-why-iits-wrong-2834561
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NOTHING COULD MAKE YOU LESS BLACK.
Words by Ebun Sodipo.
Nothing could make you less black. Or more black. There are no quantities to blackness. Your blackness makes you black That’s all there is. Your experience of blackness is blackness It is all you ever need. You looking back on your life Knowing you are black Knowing your ancestors were black Knowing you have a genetic ancestral link to those subjugated for being black For having a black body From having this particular ancestry Experiencing your life with this knowledge This is blackness That’s all there is to it. It is important to remember that we are affected by our bodies; that our bodies in part determine how we (are allowed to) move through this world; and that we are forced to relate our bodies to other bodies that are most physically similar. This force is not simply a ‘natural’ one, but is almost always socially constructed and socially coerced. Representations of the bodies that can be, or are meant to be, read as black leaves impressions on those with this body, or similar bodies. Blackness is in part about this particular relation, between black people’s perception of their own bodies, including those that aren’t quickly read as black, and their knowledge of the ‘black body’ present only and always in the white imaginary. Our bodies become incredibly salient when we come to blackness. Some of us have similar bodies to the ‘black body’: that one with the Negro nose, 4c 38 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
hair, full lips that Kylie Jenner would mutilate herself for, and skin darker than Pantone 59-4 C. We are affected particularly for this. Our blackness can never be denied, or removed from, us. Our blackness speaks for itself. Even when we are not conscious of it, we are affected by this bodily similarity. I think those of us who become conscious of our bodies and its blackness can never separate ourselves from blackness. It becomes inconceivable. We will always be read as black and there is no escaping from it. There is nowhere we can turn, no other we can become, no aspect of ourselves we could ever imagine to take refuge in. It must be said then, that those with bodies similar to the black body, in possession of ‘Bantu features’, who deny their blackness are casting an illusion upon themselves, a different illusion that I have cast upon myself I guess. Either that, or they are in a context where blackness is not read off their bodies; in a context where a narrower set of features that are legible as black than elsewhere in the world, than a place like London. (the racial categories that are in use in these contexts are arranged so as to pinpoint a person’s proximity to African-ness/Blackness via their ancestry, and/ or are separated by skin tone which is used to determine proximity to Blackness/ African-ness. Racial categories are not neutral or natural. They exist on a hierarchy. It is important I think, to know why individuals choose to identify with the boxes supplied by this categorisational logic; the extent to which agency is involved in this choosing and what kind of agency; and why they dis-identify. As I’ve tried to make clear above, the possession of a body that is similar to the ‘black body’ that comes from the white imaginary, as well as the knowledge of one’s African ancestry (and not in the sense that humanity is descended from Africa) inevitably result in the formation of blackness. For those with undeniably black bodies, identification with a racial category you are always told you are would seem inevitable. Our bodies are marked out by racial categorisation for our easy subjugation Dis-identification from blackness, with regards to those who are read as black, with bodies similar to the ‘black body’, and in Western contexts, I find is usually down to anti-blackness. Especially in contexts where ‘black’ describes a broad range of physical features and having only a few of these features results in that body being read as black. As opposed to situations where one can only be black if their skin is darker than a deep ochre. Identifying your body as a black body means identifying it as a body constantly under attack. And the first means of counteracting this is to love it. You must love all
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that makes this body black. You must learn to re-love your body, your black body. And you must learn to love your blackness. You must learn to love your body despite the anti-blackness of this world (this journey is harder for the darkest people). You carve out reality to create space for you to love your blackness. It is healing. It is protective. You learn to love your colour, your black features. The features that are so salient and visible for you because you live in a world, a system of symbols, that targets those with these particular features. This is inseparable from blackness. No matter the proximity to the black body, these experiences of visceral anti-blackness (determined by physical bodily features) I describe above must be salient in black people’s conceptions of their blackness. And not only because it takes one away from Afro-centric conceptions of blackness (sub-Saharan africans are not the only people with bodies that can be read as black). Black people with bodies far in proximity to the ‘black body’ should always remember, when having that inner conversation that constitutes blackness. Our blackness is always visible, even in spite of our efforts to deny it. The concept of anti-blackness would be severely diminished if we were to throw these experiences aside as simple ‘essentialist notions of race and blackness’. It affects us so viscerally and constantly, it makes us hate ourselves even before we know we are black. We are forced to operate upon this essentialist ground because our bodies bind us to it. My body is a black body but also a body. The identification of non-black people, i.e. those with bodies far in similarity to the black body, with blackness usually leaves me feeling uncomfortable. It is, generally, not a political alignment, but an appropriative gesture. This is some of the reasons why I am defensive and apprehensive when I hear about or meet these people. They can, if so willing, discard their identification as black and find affirmation, straight away, as not-black. It will never be possible for me to do so under the current racial paradigm. Nor would I want to, precisely because of the political implications of identifying as black; the joy and freedom that comes with it; and the love I had to (re-)build for myself through this identification. These things I share with all who identify as black. I do not share the inescapability of blackness with all black people, only some. Blackness is all-consuming. But I’ve learnt that this drowning and suffocating within blackness is the inception of a beautiful transformation. But blackness is liberatory. Blackness is radical. 40 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
TRAVIS ALABANZA ON ‘BURGERZ’. Words by Katy Jalili & Tiff Webster
Pre-show interview questions by Shades of Noir Shades of Noir sat down with London based performance artist Travis Alabanza, ahead of their sell out opening - of their new show BURGERZ. SON: On the description of ‘BURGERZ’: ‘exploring the act of survival, the way a body can dodge objects and how a person is received and examined in the public sphere.’ Could you speak on the idea of agency over one’s body as a black transfemme;
TA: I think it’s really interesting that you picked up on agency, because I think that this is what this piece of theatre is screaming to obtain, and to get the tiniest piece of agency that I can have over my own body. I think as a black transfemme, gender nonconforming person, we don’t have any agency. We lack consent and control over our bodies. I feel as though as soon as I step outside, I’m now public property. I think the way that we are treated in media online lacks agency as well. Recently with folks like Chimamanda,
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Germaine Greer, and other high profile cis-feminists, there’s constantly this idea of cis people talking about whether or not we are enough. But to be completely honest, the narrative around trans ideas and identities to Non binary femmes is one that often takes away our agency too. We still have a trans politics that is incredibly binary, and often that removes agency from my own identification. Which I think speaks on the lack of Agency that we have. I think what BURGERZ is trying to show is that it requires the two of us, it requires ‘me’ and the ‘audience’ and the people outside to help me obtain that Agency. SoN: How much of a role does the audience at ‘BURGERZ’ play in this piece? TA: Audiences are crucial in this, I didn’t want to create a piece where people in the room could passively sit and watch and then leave and think thoughts about the piece afterwards, because I think that’s too much In common with how we view trans-feminine bodies on stage, we are always on stage looking fierce, looking fabulous, applauded and then left and I really wanted the audience to be an active part of the piece, because during my harassment and during my abuse in public, people have done nothing, so it is super, super important for me that the audience actively choose to participate in this piece.
SON: ‘BURGERZ’ asks the question: ‘How does one become a protector, rather than bystander?’ What advice would you give to a conscious bystander, (be them allies, supporters, etc.) that want to be more active and become a protector? TA: I guess in terms of public harassment, I speak of people not stepping in.When I think about the bystander I think about how if there are multiple people in the room then the first thing they should do is to physically get the person away from me. And to remind the person, the victim that they didn’t deserve that. I think it’s up to the bystander in a certain situation what ever that may look like, sometimes it just requires a look of acknowledgment but others it may require an actual physical presence, actually stepping in the way of the attacker. I think about class in this, like how much better if all these rich white women were paying for transfemme and people of colours taxi rides home, you know? What it looks like to use wealth to give you safety. SoN: On the subject of ‘Survival’, what are your own current methods of survival? What does the word survival mean to you currently in these urgent times? Considering #blacktranslivesmatter #protecttranskids #sayhername? TA: What I always say is ‘you gotta do what you gotta do to survive, In a world that is literally trying to kill us. Do what you
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gotta do.’ I’m bored of people judging other folks survival methods. If it is not harming others, then we really need to realise that survival is very much vital. Sometimes survival means putting on my trousers and my jumper and walking through the world in that way and that doesn’t make me any less trans. Survival for gender non conforming / trans femmes looks very different. “I can imagine there are lots and lots of possibilities that are cut short for gender nonconforming folk, because sometimes I feel an immense pressure to transition in certain (medicalised) ways in order to survive. I think about how I want to imagine worlds where my survival doesn’t have to equal a pressure to conform to a binary that is either a trans or cis binary. I think that being around other people of colour in particular femmes and trans femmes of colour, is my mode of survival. But also survival is really complex, because a lot of survival techniques require money and wealth and if you’re struggling to make ends meet then maybe you don’t have time to put into your self-care and survival. SoN: How much of a strain on mental health and well-being (particularly in QTIPOC communities) do you think these constant thoughts of survival create? TA: I think it’s paramount and a crucial
reason why there is a lot of mental health issues in the QTIPOC community. I think white supremacy is enough alone to drive anyone into poor mental health and when you add onto that disability and transness, or gender-based violence, you’re gonna have such a strain on your mental health. I think ‘BURGERZ’ looks specially at specific moments that if they happen repeatedly can ruin your mental health. SoN: On your selfies posts, you add: ‘so take selfies 2 heal’. Your Instagram account acts as an archive. You also speak about archiving through social media. Could you tell us more about selfies and one how you navigate online? TA: The idea of archiving is very important to me; so sometimes when I’m feeling low and looking through my Instagram, reminding me of the looks I served or when I felt my gender or not dysphoric, it really helps me to remind myself that there was a time when I didn’t feel dysphoric. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me growing up and if my Instagram and twitter is reaching younger trans-femme kids, particular trans femmes of colour that show a broad range of narratives behind transness I’m really happy that they can see myself fully and that they can be like, ok this person is doing things, this person is smiling and laughing, this person is with other friends that are also trans. It shows our existence.
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SoN: Within the interview of HISKIND, you spoke about ‘communal activism’ rather than outward activism, your thoughts reminded me a lot of ‘pleasure activism’, could you expand on this as an act of resistance? TA: I think obviously all forms of activism are valid. I am just really interested at this current time about inward activism too. I also think there is this lack of recognition for the people doing the less public facing activism, that’s kind of keeping us alive. I think of the activist Tobi Adebajo who runs a femmes of colour group and tirelessly she organizes healing days, she organises workshops, where we come and and do lots of things, like gather, braid hair, make spells, eat, chill… I feel this communal activism is what’s keeping us alive, it’s what’s keeping us and what’s reminding us that we have community, that we have family and that we can find a safe space. SoN: What have you learnt from your experiences teaching young kids? TA: I absolutely love youth work. Recently with my residency at the tate, means that I work with young kids from 6-16 every week, I’m learning so much about gender through working with young kids, I think I’m learning loads about when gender starts to affect us, how gendered kids worlds and minds are. I’ve also had loads of joyous moments with kids, when a kid came up to me three weeks ago I think and said: ‘sir, I mean miss, I mean’ and I looked at them and I said ‘maybe just Travis? And they
were like, ‘maybe just Travis’. And we had this really lovely moment where we both paused and smiled. I think kids have this amazing way sometimes of reminding me that my gender encompasses more than my body, and is in my energy too. SoN: In 2016, you have performed about 110 shows! You also have a residency at the TATE, touring, going to the States, debuting your new show and so much more. What/who keeps you going and gives you daily motivation? TA: My mum. I always just say my mum, straight up. I think about my mum a lot when I’m working and when I’m doing things. My mum raised us like a single parent most of our lives. She raised two kids and she was alone in this country and she’s from the States, and she was just alone in this country, broke. As a single mum, I think about her work ethic and I think about how her energy and really a lot of it is when I work hard, it’s because I want to make my mum proud.I think she is an incredible person, and a black woman and strong and the way her blackness is encompassed in her is really inspiring. I’m so inspired by other QTIPOC around me too, I feel really really blessed that a lot of artists, curators, activists, workers, and other QTIPOCS are around me in my life, which means I’m constantly given examples of the best ways I can be and sometimes when I’m not inspired I can just go onto my timeline and see all of
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these incredible people who are in my life, doing amazing things such as: The Black House in Peckham, Screaming Toenail, Rebekah Ubuntu, Karnage, the list goes on... SoN: We know you will be performing with Mykki Blanco, how are you feeling about that? TA: (Laughs) Gaaaasssssed!!! SON: What has recently brought you joy these past days TA: Thank you for ending on that! I went to watch ‘Get Out’, I watched it with a group of black people and that brought me some joy and on Saturday night I hang out with loads of QTIPOC and watched the webseries ‘Brown Girls’ and it was really fun, so… yeah that’s what’s brought me joy.
Further Links: www.hackneyshowroom.com/burgerz Follow Travis Alabanza on Social Media: Facebook www.facebook.com/ travisalabanzaartist/?hc_ ref=SEARCH&fref=nf Twitter/Insta: @travisalabanza
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DENNIS MORRIS X SON. Words by a Charisse Chikwiri. Photograph by Pearl Morris 46 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
Dennis Morris’ photographs of Bob Marley and the Wailers, and the Sex Pistols, are what his name is most prominently recognised for. He is a strong believer in his role as an artist “to record our existence in a society.” As the practice has existed for centuries, Dennis tells me that “we all have a duty to record our achievements in whatever way we can, so the future generations can learn directly from us and not from a doctored history.” Born in Jamaica, he moved to Hackney, London with his mother at the age of 4. Through the church, he developed a penchant for photography from the tender age of 8. He would later become respected as a remarkable photographer, a pioneer with an outstanding career. He made the most of everything he had available to him to succeed, despite being told as a young boy that there was “no such thing as a black photographer.” The same thing he told himself then, is what he would say to his younger self today; “if you look through history, every one who had a unique idea was constantly told: ‘no!’ Self-belief, drive and hard work will see you through.” Dennis Morris is a man with incredible stories of individuals who contributed to shaping pop culture in the 70’s. He began working with Bob Marley as a teenager in 1974, and maintained a close relationship with him all the way through to Marley’s last days. A year spent travelling with the Sex Pistols began in 1977. I wondered whether the photographer’s
journey would have been different if he was born a millennial, if he could’ve sent a tweet of his work to Bob Marley. What if he had a smartphone and an Instagram account, instead of having to use the telephone box across the road from his house as his office number and build his portfolio by being both physically present and invested. To this Morris replied, “I don’t think my journey would differ if I was a millennial; if anything, it would be easier. When I started, the opportunities were non-existent. It took total solid belief, perseverance and hard work to get through. It is a lot easier today. In some ways, too easy.” In 1979, he filled the position of Art Director at Island Records, in the same year Dennis became lead vocalist of punk rock band ‘Basement 5’, as someone with an eclectic taste in music, he wanted “to show people that Black music needed to go in another direction.” He describes the grime scene today as “very innovative.” “Having spent time in America, I have learnt many things: one is the difference between the Black music scene in America is that Black Americans draw from their history of music; most Black musicians never draw from the great heritage of British Black music. We are constantly mimicking American music. We have over the years contributed a great deal to music.” The Laforet Museum, Tokyo; Today Art Museum, Beijing; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
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are only a few of the galleries across the world where Dennis Morris’ work has been exhibited. Whilst several books of his work have been published, he has also been featured in Rolling Stone, Time, People, V, GQ, I-D and Vogue. As I learn more about Dennis Morris, his multi-faceted nature becomes more and more apparent. The appreciation of his diversity, is why he is now regularly in the US. “From my experience and from what I have learnt, if you are really a master of all, leave England, go to the US. They encourage you to move in all directions, which is not the case in England.”
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Critical mass- Illustration by Daniel Holliday
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WHY PUNK IS NOT DEAD AND IS NOT A CLICHÉ CHAPTER 1. Words by Melodie Holliday.
If it wasn’t for Punk I wouldn’t be here in all my green haired glory. I am 100% sure that I would have some boring corporate job somewhere in the sticks, living a conventionally dull life playing the part of somebody’s little wifey, raising sweet kids buying into the capitalist dream. Instead, I make art, sing in a punk band, am the mother of two exceptionally talented politicised individuals and work for an organisation which champions social justice for marginalised groups. I discovered punk at 16 years of age and when I went to study art, it turns out one of my teachers was one of the Bromley contingent (http://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/ bromley.htm). An original punk who came down from London to teach in the small town in which I lived. Later, I would see a picture of a young Bruno (my teacher) at the front of the queue at the first ever punk gig at the 100 club (Coon, 1982). We immediately struck up a friendship and he gave me a mixtape that changed my life. You see on this mixtape it had bands like the Slits “Typical Girls” and X ray specs “Art-I-Ficial”. If you have ever heard the words to “Typical Girls” then you would know exactly what I mean when I say I used to play that record over and over again. Let me give you an idea about the 1970’s, the backdrop to the punk movement for those of you who were not born in those times reading this. What you will not be able to imagine is just how racist those times were. At my secondary school, I was one of only two black girls. Being called a ‘jungle bunny’ and being told to ‘go back to your own country’ was like a chorus line for my day. If you had the misfortune to be born a girl you faced sexism and there was very little expected of you. I cannot convey here how oppressive those times were. As a woman, you were considered a secondclass citizen, you were expected to grow up, get married and have kids. I, however, was never ever going to be normal, whatever that was. I knew right from the start that I was an oddball, I just knew it. I was never going to do anything traditional. I was never going to toe the line. This was not a choice it was just the way I was. You know sometimes I would wish, pray so hard to be normal but it never happened, sometimes I would feel such a damn freak! So here I was this black girl who was a punk in 1985. 50 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
The only one I knew of and the only one ever in the room. I hung around with the only other black girl in my school at the time I remember having to make a choice. She was into funk and soul, I was into Punk. She refused to come with me to punk nights as it just wasnâ€™t her thing. I would go to soul and funk nights dressed as a punk because I had no one to go with to punk nights. Until I met Bruno that is. It was a major dilemma for me because soul and funk nights were predominately attended by black folk and punk nights were predominately attended by white people. That was the situation, where I came from anyway. It felt very much at the time that I was choosing to be white and rejecting my people because I just didnâ€™t see anyone like me there. Difficult times but I just kept the love for the music in my heart and soldiered on. Years later I am so glad that black people are much more visible within the alternative scene. I think the internet helps, just remember that back in the day there was no computers, mobile phones or technology. My partner who is white and male used to travel the length of the country stalking punk bands. Seeing bands all over the place he was very active, I used to be quite jealous of his experiences because he is able to reel off seeing seminal punk bands in lists! I am jealous until I remember that in those days as a black girl it was rebellious enough to dress the way I was dressing and for me to have seen loads of bands I would have had to have the confidence to run up and down the country either by myself or with white friends that I had made. As sad as it sounds girls did not have the freedom that they do today. My freedom would come later via grunge music and running around Camden but that is another story.
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Well, my teacher Bruno just adopted me. There weren’t many punks in my hometown and certainly no black ones. So, when I got access to these two records particularly Typical Girls they gave me life. I hated wearing traditional hideous dresses, dreadful flowery things with awful court shoes. I didn’t want to dress how my mother dressed. I didn’t want to cook or clean or be a slave to the kitchen or serve and clean up after some man. I didn’t dream of a white wedding, a house with a picket fence or any of the nonsense society was trying to sell me at the time. Most people bought into those illusions and in those days, you really set yourself apart if you opted out. It is hard to describe the atmosphere by today’s standards. Men and women had traditional roles and there was very little opposition. It’s so easy to look around now and take these signifiers for granted. The dyed hair, piercings, ripped clothes, anti-establishment attitude. But in the past people were quite hostile to physical expression of all kinds. My own mother struggled with the way I looked and one so called friend of hers told me that I had made myself look “ugly” just because I did not subscribe to her idea of what constitutes beauty. It does make me laugh these days when people compliment me on the way I look. Because there have been times in my life where I have received insults, hostility and physical violence because of the way I have looked throughout my life. I was even sacked from a well-known black hairdressers when I was younger for growing dreadlocks. How times change!..... Punk gave and continues to give me life. Punks did not care to be accepted. The basic rule of punk is that there are no rules. The two songs that I have chosen as examples, I have chosen because they encouraged me to be the woman I want to be not the woman society expects me to be. I was never going to be conventionally pretty, I was never going to smell of roses and not perspire, I was never ever going to pledge to serve any man and furthermore, I would make my own rules thank you very much.
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GRRRRRRR 2. Words by Melodie Holliday
I see no one that looks like me In the movies or on TV Punk woman you give me life To cope with my burden and strife I see that you are not conventionally pretty You treat me with respect not pity Here, I can be whoever I want Punk rock royal debutante I shall deconstruct what a woman is Be my own person not his I will choose my sexuality Invent my own normality Punk is not dead It lives on alive in my head Your life is easy as a consequence Of my suffering and hence You can be so flippant now You have it a lot easier.
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RACISM IN BRITAIN PART.1
Installation by Melodie Holliday
Words by Julie Wright.
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A reflection on my teen years living in surrey. Racism in this country is discrete, virtually undetectable … at first. Finely packaged in coded language such as “Where are you from?” despite the fact my British accent is undeniably obvious. It’s a look and shift in body language. A vibe that only someone like me could ever pick up on. The touching of my hair by one of the “popular” white girls and hearing her group snigger as she walks away pleased with herself not muttering a single word to me. The white boys in secondary school constantly calling me names and making fun of my very existence as a form of entertainment for themselves and their peers, whilst the teachers pretend to see nothing and no mention of bullying is uttered from their mouths. Hearing that so and so’s mother didn’t want their child playing with us because we’re black or so and so’s grandparents allowing their dog to bark and intimidate a 14 year old girl, because she shouldn’t have been in the house. Being in what you thought was your so-called friends car and hearing their sister refer to your mother an immigrant with spite in her tone. Having to be exposed, through that same supposed friend, to a grown man, potbelly and balding head, trying to intimidate a 14yr old little girl because their mothers an immigrant and therefore that warrants hate. Despite the fact that immigrant mother pays taxes her wages from her JOB and contributing to UK society. Racism is being the only black face again in a college class filled with white boys in the countryside, a white boy throws his phone to the floor yelling “black piece of shit” then looking at me grunting “oh.” And I’m expected to laugh it off. Racism is wearing a weave and having a white boy tug at it and say “Oh so you can feel that?” when I turn around in reaction to his tug Racism is a white boy testing me, “can I say the word nigga” whilst watching my reaction. Racism is another white boy telling me the story of how his supposed black friend told him she hates being black and looking at me, waiting for me to agree with her. Racism is being asked to booty shake for them. Racism is those same boys thinking I find them attractive, simply because they’re white.
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CONCLUSION: REFLECTION ON A PEDAGOGIC ARTEFACT Words by Vivienne Eades
I’ve tried to engage with pedagogies of inclusivity and liberation, as well as critical library theory and use what I’ve learnt to facilitate students to criticise the library, systems of knowledge and academia and encourage them to fill gaps in information and practice with their ideas. The NUS/HEA student engagement toolkit referred to in the HEA’s Engagement through partnership talks of the four stages of student engagement. I think in varying degrees the workshop around the artefact attempts the first 3 stages: consultation, involvement and participation (Healey, Flint & Harrington, 2014, pp. 15-16). I want to develop this workshop into a bigger project; encouraging users to become involved in tagging items in our catalogue. If UAL Library Services would consider making user generated taxonomies this would be a great way to challenge bias in our system, involve students, make information practically more accessible, as well as allowing students, upon reflection, to have direct action upon our systems of knowledge. I feel this would take the project into the fourth stage of student engagement, real ‘partnership’ “involving joint ownership and decision-making over both the process and outcome.” (Healey, Flint & Harrington, 2014, p. 16). I see potential to link up with the Student Union’s Liberate my Curriculum campaign (Arts’ Student Union, 2017) and plan to meet with them about this workshop and work around the new zine.
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THE INVISIBLE AND HYPERVISIBLE. Words by Annabel Crowley.
Navigating a predominantly white environment is a balancing act both delicate and painful for those of us deemed ‘other’. We can feel both invisible and hypervisible at the same time. Our realities feel invisible, while harmful stereotypes take centre stage and misrepresent us. Research has shown time and again that stereotype threat has a tangible impact on our sense of ourselves and our overall achievement as people of colour. My own experience speaks to this impact, and I have found that survival in itself can be exhausting when we attempt it alone. To go beyond survival and truly thrive we need a sense of community and belonging. We need to see ourselves and be ourselves. We need dedicated spaces to express ourselves freely, and to see visible challenges and alternatives to the racial stereotypes that cause us to doubt ourselves and our worth. In this post-Brexit time where hate crimes and general suspicion against minorities have spiked across the country and the misrepresentation and scapegoating of migrant communities is rife in the UK media, we need to belong and feel safe more than ever. The Group for the Equality of Minority Staff (GEMS) is the UAL network for staff of colour. GEMS is the largest and longest standing staff network at UAL, and our membership continues to grow as staff of colour across the university learn that we exist. As we increase in number, our collective strength also grows. GEMS contributes directly to UAL’s policies and practices affecting staff of colour. GEMS also provides a shared space and community for staff of colour at UAL. We actively promote each other’s successes and encourage reciprocal engagement in our members’ work and events. Our members achieve so much both within and outside their roles at UAL, in spite of the odds, and sharing these successes uplifts and strengthens our community. Since I joined GEMS in 2014 and became co-chair in late 2016, I have not felt alone, even at times where I have felt otherwise helpless. I feel vulnerable fairly frequently as a racial minority in a predominantly white environment. Many GEMS members have shared their own feelings of vulnerability with me, which has taught me that vulnerability is not my flaw, but a natural reaction to an environment that jars us. When we learn of our shared experiences, we feel ‘normal’ and a part of something bigger than ourselves. We value our own perceptions and experiences as sources of truth and knowledge, and begin to reject the idea that we exist as mere deviations 58 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
from an established norm. We start to define ourselves for ourselves, emboldened by our sense of community. I cannot express this more aptly than the writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, and so I will conclude with this quote that I come back to again and again: “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
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MY PERSONAL RESPONSE TO CRITICAL RACE THEORY Words by Siobhan Clay.
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When SoN asked me to contribute a piece on my personal response to Critical Race Theory (CRT) I was honoured but daunted by the prospect, wondering how I could articulate my thoughts on such a wide-ranging theory in so few words. However, I’ve welcomed the opportunity to reflect on my MA research, in which CRT played a pivotal role in helping me challenge liberal notions of education. It allowed me to understand how inequalities play out with reference to Race and culture to disadvantage minority students throughout UK compulsory and Higher Education. I realised that writing a ‘personal’ account was important and fitting with CRT’s method of ‘storytelling’, which aims to give space and voice to underrepresented groups in society. As a white, middle class woman I am acutely aware that I do not ‘fit’ this category. I’m cognisant of my inherent privilege, opportunity and multitude spaces to be visible which is not true for minority groups. However, the ways CRT has helped me make sense of my current role as an Educational Developer and previous role as a sixth form art and design teacher in East London is testimony to its democratising potential. I first came across CRT at the 2009 National Arts Learning Network (NALN) conference, where keynote speaker Professor David Gillborn argued that ‘class’ might be an altogether more palatable focus of inequality, and lack of access to resources and opportunity, than the subject of Race. His lecture was personally significant because it put a spotlight on endemic inequalities that I had always known were present, but that a liberal UK school system seemed reluctant to acknowledge. It also spoke to my role as a teacher in one of London’s most multi-cultural and deprived boroughs, and the experiences some of my students had after leaving the security of a diverse sixth form college to go to university. I remember my concern at hearing that students who had made great educational progress with us, had left their courses because they felt isolated, out of place and didn’t see staff or students that looked like them. These narratives were worryingly echoed in my MA research into diverse students experiences of art school. Students recounted feelings of othering, their work being misread, misinterpreted or ‘raced’ when this was not its intention and conversely of a kind of silence when their work explicitly referenced cultures that differed from the majority white staff and students. I felt privileged to record these stories and was at times overwhelmed and humbled by the student’s resilience and positivity in spite of such difficult encounters. Finally, I was asked to think about how others might use CRT in their own teaching spaces. My research suggests that knowing and valuing your students; their stories, family histories, cultures and experiences can have a major and transformative affect on their sense of belonging and engagement in their studies and institution. This simple premise for teaching fulfills our fundamental human need for recognition and should be experienced by every one of our students at University of the Arts London.
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Further Reading: Clay, S. (2016) Diversity, Pedagogy and the Creative Arts: A study exploring the perceptions and experiences of diverse students in the Higher Education Arts academy. Unpublished MA Dissertation. Institute of Education, UCL. For a copy please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Gillborn, D. (2008) ‘Critical Race Theory: A new approach to an old problem’ in Racism and Education: Coincidence or conspiracy?’ London and New York, Routledge. - (2014) ‘Racism as policy: A critical race analysis of education reforms in the United States and England’ The Educational forum, 78:1, 26-41 Gillborn, D., Rollock, N., Vincent, C. and Ball, J.S. (2012) ‘You got a pass, so what more do you want?’: race, class and gender intersections in the educational experiences of the black middle class’, Race Ethnicity and Education, 15(1) pp.121-139. doi: 101.108/13613324.2012.638869 Ladson-Billings, G. (1995) ‘Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy’, American Educational Research Journal Vol 32 No.3 pp 465-491. Leonardo, Z .(2013) ‘The story of schooling: Critical Race theory and the educational racial contract’, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34:4, 599610. NALN conference (2009) http://www.adm.heacademy.ac.uk/events/what-nowfor-widening-participation-in-the-arts/ Ullucci, K., Battey, D. (2011) ‘Exposing color blindness/grounding colorconsciousness: Challenges for teacher education’, Urban Education, 46 (6) pp.11951225. Sage DOI: 10.1177/0042085911413150 Yosso, T.J. (2005) ‘Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth’, Race Ethnicity & Education, 8:1, pp.69-91.
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CULTURAL APPROPRIATION AND CULTURAL MISAPPROPRIATION WITHIN THE ARTS INSTITUTION. Words by Tiff Webster.
Ultimately, it comes down to Impact > Intent Actions > Awareness You may be aware of cultural appropriation, but when your awareness doesn’t match with your actions - is awareness enough? No. With this piece I will be answering this question within the context of the institution I’m currently navigating; higher education and specifically, within the arts. Spaces such as these are where I find that the misappropriation of cultures is most prominent. Recently, i’ve been thinking that this may be due to the arts being seen as a ‘free for all’ and ‘anything goes’ zone under the excuse of it being in the name of Art, Fashion, etc. For example: ‘It’s not racist, it’s art. It’s not disrespectful, it’s art. The stereotypes and signifiers are the sort of aesthetic I’m going for...’ Whilst I’m not saying these topics shouldn’t be explored within the arts; a certain background knowledge of critical race theory, whiteness theory and the perpetuation of the colonial gaze/actions and/or promotion of anti-blackness/ indigenous to name a few, need to be referenced and researched before these subjects are explored. Whether it be a subconscious or conscious flexing of white privilege, cultural misappropriation occurs and can take many complex forms, which makes it hard
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to talk about. Nonetheless, the complexity and distress it can cause when you try to confront this act doesn’t remove from the fact that it needs to be addressed and that the discussion needs to be had. What happens when this is on your course and you are one of the handful of people of colour on your course? Whether it be during crits with peers, or in a canteen grabbing a sandwich for lunch, to fixing your face in the toilet. If you feel uncomfortable around someone and/or identify something that causes disrespect to you or your culture and/or of others that you are aware of, the conversation needs to happen. Space needs to be held for this opportunity of growth and putting a stop to a vicious cycle. ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Intentions may be the best, and there may be no intent to cause any offensive, disrespect or harm to others on your course. But ultimately, it doesn’t effect the impact it causes. What’s the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural misappropriation? The two are very different. The lines that divide appropriation and misappropriation can get blurry and cause confusion. The differences are essential, but not always easy to point out. Cultural appropriation happens every day. It's the loose idea of borrowing, sharing and being inspired by other cultures. Cultural appropriation in this context and not the one shared on buzzfeed and numerous articles can be a good thing. We learn, and we grow. Cultural misappropriation is NOT GOOD. It’s a place where one culture (most often one that has a historical record of oppressing other cultures: white.) engages in the unauthorised taking of some aspects of another (most often an oppressed) culture. But it doesn’t end with just that primary format. Within communities of colour cultural misappropriation can also take place, just because you are a person of colour doesn't give you a free pass to wear a bindi. Basic knowledge of where adornments, what you wear, how you explore and what you experiment with come from and may mean, should be the initial starting point for any and every project, for decisions of what to wear, etc. It's important to keep the discussion lines open. It’s also important to do your research before making assumptions. You do not have to be an expert on a culture to have access to certain aspects of it. If you aren't sure if something is restricted or not, please ask someone who is from that culture. If people from within that culture tell you that what you are doing is disrespectful, dismissing their concerns because you just don’t agree is not indicative of admiration and/or appreciation. To readers of white heritage that are doing their research and are not sure about certain subjects 64 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
and can’t ask around them for advice or thoughts, my advice is; When in doubt don’t do it until there has been a discussion. Just don’t. Alternatively, speak with tutors and contact Shades of Noir for further resources and advice or support. Mistakes happen. That’s how we all learn. Whilst we can hold calm and respectful conversations without being dismissive, getting defensive and displaying fragile reactions, especially to a student of colour who brings a concern to your attention, (which is already distressing enough) The best thing you can do is admit you didn't know, and apologise if you find you were doing something disrespectful. A simple acknowledgement of the situation means more than words. It diffuses tension and makes people feel that they have been heard, respected, and understood.
What’s Wrong with Kylie Jenner’s Cornrows? | Decoded | MTV News Franchesca Ramsey: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYrgKIH1X2Y 7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED! | Decoded | MTV News Franchesca Ramsey: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXejDhRGOuI&t=307s WHAT’S WRONG WITH CULTURAL APPROPRIATION- Kat Blaque www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuO8Z12Ri1U What Is Cultural Appropriation? | Feminist Fridays www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT1sTYpOJ04 How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation at Coachella | Pop Feminist www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwV3LApkKTk www.religionandtheology.org/cultural_appropriation.html#Video www.uua.org/multiculturalism/introduction/misappropriation www.iheartthreadbared.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/theory-flash-coco-fuscowhos-doin-the-twist-in-english-is-broken-here-1995/ www.iheartthreadbared.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/blackface-and-theviolence-of-revulsion/ www.alagarconniere.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/critical-fashion-lovers-basic-guideto.html www.thecampanil.com/cultural-misappropriation-yep-still-racist/
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HOW TO FORM A PROGRESSIVE CRITIQUE. Words by Michael Ukaegbu.
The Difference between creating work that challenges stereotypes and the work that reinforces them: how to form a progressive critique. Thought provoking pieces of work that challenges stereotypes are always a nice thing to see. These pieces are occasionally viewed as controversial and usually result in interesting conversations and debates. However, I think we have the habit of viewing anything that includes some controversial topics, as challenging or progressive; when, if we’re being honest, not a lot of them are. Rather than challenging stereotypes, sometimes they do the opposite and reinforce them. I feel this often happens when there’s a lack of education regarding some of these stereotypes and their history, also when they're used in a way that doesn't seem genuine; but instead used in a way which feels like there sole purpose in the piece, is to simply draw attention or ‘fill the quota’. When critiquing these pieces of work, it’s important to know what makes that critique progressive, as opposed to performing mental gymnastics, fishing for some kind of deeper meaning or secret message. I believe it's best to be blunt, and simply tell it as it is, if you can only offer negative feedback then that is all you can offer; never forgetting however, to only critique from a neutral ground: neutral meaning holding no bias.
What is a Critique? The official definition of a critique is “a report of something such as a political situation or system, or a person’s work or ideas, that examines it and provides a judgement, especially a negative one.”. One could simply describe it as a review of sorts, but a lot more thorough and more analytical. As a journalism student I’m taught to critique work in a very blunt manner: we look at it from the surface, meaning we take it in exactly how it is given to us, without as said earlier fishing for some kind of deeper meaning. We state what's good and we state what’s bad; there’s no in-between. Art students are taught to critique work a little differently I believe, although we’re both taught to critique from equitable grounds, Art 66 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
students are taught to have more room for interpretation whereas as a Journalism student, we don't really look that deeply past what we have provided.
What Makes a Critique Progressive?
Progress is “the movement to an improved or more developed state”, and this is exactly what a progressive critique should do, help the creator of the piece to provide an overall better piece of work and better portrayal. whatever message or idea they're trying to communicate to the audience. What makes that critique progressive is building upon the negatives and highlighting the problems within the piece, what wasn't executed very well. For example: Explaining how stereotypes were reinforced. Explaining why stereotypes weren't being challenged. The impact and problem with including stereotypes in such a manner that could come across as quite ignorant and purposeless, and in more extreme cases quite mocking. Basically just creating a complex report that will better the creator's work.
Some Helpful Tips for Writing a Progressive Critique •
Do your own research on the subject of the piece.
Identify (In this scenario) stereotypes and topics included in the piece and provide knowledge on the subject that you have yourself, to inform what may or may not have been mistranslated
Identify the purpose of the piece if you can; what the message is trying to convey and its aims
Evaluate the piece in terms of how effective it is in its overall execution
Question whether the work favours a particular point of view? Is it effective?
Question whether the work shows an understanding of ( in this scenario) stereotypes or if it fails to do this?
Suggest methods for improvement
Give a very impartial judgement, and back it up.
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BLACK VOICES SPEAK ON THE USE OF BLACKFACE. I hate the use of Blackface. To be honest I think we all hate the use of Blackface. If you’re black or if you’re white I don’t want to see it. Whether for art, comedy or activism, just don’t do it. I don’t understand why people still continue to use it in 2017. The image of it just angers me. Not only are you mocking my skin, but I feel like you’re mocking my people and my heritage. What is black face? An insult, a mockery, a punch in the face, a low blow; it’s just no good. To further explain my point of how hated the use of blackface is and why it should never be used, I decided to ask my friends some questions to get their opinions on its usage and simply show their responses.
The Questions I asked 4 simple questions: 1. When you see someone donning ‘blackface’ how does it make you feel? 2. Why is that? 3. Do you think it can ever be justified, like for reasons such as art, activism, comedy? 4. What about when done by a black person, like Zoe Saldana in the Nina Simone biopic for example? 1. When you see someone donning ‘blackface’ how does it make you feel? A - “I immediately think: “Why?” S - “It doesn’t really anger, it just disappoints me. Why would you want to do that?” J - “Angry and Unsurprised” 2. Why is that? A - “You know the connotations of blackface. Because of how blackface was 68 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
used it can never be a thing you put to comedic use. We know the undertones of racist white people who use it” S - “Everyone knows it’s offensive, so why would you do it? What’s the need?” J - “They know it’s wrong, they know it’s offensive but they cast the feelings of black people aside so they can mock us.” 3. Do you think it can ever be justified, like for reasons such as art, activism, comedy? A - “It can never be justified, done by a white person.” S - “I don’t think it can be justified for anything, i just don’t think people should do it at all because its history is so offensive and affects so many people.It’s not even the black face itself, it’s the way they behave with the black face on and the way they dress as well; it just feels so disrespectful.” J - “It can’t ever be justified, maybe in an extremely specific satire, but most of the time i’ve seen it used for a “good reason” it’s still been offensive and they really should’ve gotten a real black person anyway. Like its never just you’re painting your face black: it’s painting it black and wearing a big 80s afro; painting it black and wearing a gold chain; painting it black and talking “hood”. I just feel like it’s a caricature of me.” 4. What about when done by a black person, like Zoe Saldana in the Nina Simone biopic for example? A - “That Zoe Saldana case was a bit weird to me. She herself is a black woman so I didn’t see anything wrong with it if she was playing a movie role. Robert Downey Jr did it in Tropic Thunder and there was no ruckus caused because his character was meant to be in that role in the movie. It’s subjective.” S - “When Zoe Saldana did it it angered me even more, why, as a black person knowing its history and knowing how you feel yourself when white people take on the role? It seemed like she was appropriating her own culture for her own benefit.” J - “Zoe Saldana is a very interesting case, I was completely against her playing Nina because: she only really identified as a black woman when it suited her, she usually identifies as Latina, she looked ridiculous, she looked like a caricature of a black woman and even when you say “it’s so hard for black women to get work” Zoe Saldana has starring roles in THREE of the most profitable franchises of the century, Star Trek, Marvel and Avatargenerally I think if you’re a black woman and you need to put on all that makeup and a fake nose to portray another black woman, you shouldn’t have the role. There are dozens of talented black women who looked more like Nina who could have done it.”
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ME AND MY ROLE MODELS. Words by Book Geek (age 11).
I expect my role models to be kind, caring, compassionate and understanding irrespective of their excellence. Generally, I am drawn to female protagonists or trailblazer. Over the years I’ve had many role models from doctors to singers, from dancers to family members but authors have always been a powerful presence in my life. I used to want to be a police officer but then I saw how the police were treating black people in America. This reoccurring brutality of men, women and children in my newsfeed made me think, this is not for me. They are treating people unfairly and unjustly; when they have so much power and opportunity to do good because of the colour of a person’s skin. I don’t think this is right and I don’t want to work in a job that racism and such violence is associated with. As a child you often either are with the crowd or not. I wasn’t with the crowd although I think I’m now quite popular. I love books, I love the journey, possibilities and emotions that can take place in a story. Growing up my role models have continued to be authors consistently, this has never changed. Whilst I think I will be a surgeon as I’m pretty good at the sciences and maths, people like Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson are my role models as they take me on different journeys with each book. However, for my friends it’s Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian. I didn’t always know who or what my friends were talking about, which has; in the past presented some issues. What I’ve realised so far is that people make choices about who they are, who they want to be and who inspires them. From being somebody who is comfortable in many ways not following the crowd, I have learnt that staying true to what you believe is an aspiration you seek in your role models. My attitude is inspired by my role models. If I had stopped believing and trusting in the writers I read to show me more of what ‘me’ could be, I wouldn’t be ‘me’. 70 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
ARTS SU TEACHING AWARDS 2017. Words by Tiff Webster.
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The SUARTS Teaching Awards serves as a time to highlight, recognise and celebrate the efforts, contributions the achievements of outstanding teachers, technicians, researchers, student reps, etc throughout the University of the Arts London (UAL). It was an evening for all to gather and to celebrate one another. This event took place on the evening of Thursday 25th at London College of Fashion. The room was packed full of teachers, technicians, librarians, all staff that are the driving force to deliver the best education possible to the students of UAL. This year the 2017 UAL Teaching Scholars received their awards from Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr at the annual Learning and Teaching Day. Speeches were given by both Professor Simon Ofield-Keer and by the SUARTS Educations Officer Hansika Jethnani. Aisha Richards, an academic, creative practitioner, lecturer on MA Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries at Central Saint Martins (CSM), the founder and director of Shades of Noir, amongst a multiple of other hats that she wears won the award for Cross University Teaching Award 2017. I assumed this meant students from cross-wide UAL colleges had voted for her, meaning she hasn’t just influenced her students at CSM but students all over UAL; this is very hard to achieve when only positioned within one college of UAL.The Shades of Noir team are from diverse Colleges of UAL, including London College of Communication, Camberwell and CSM and she has been a teacher/mentor and inspiration to each and everyone of us. She has also become well known within all colleges of UAL because of this. ‘[..] She is a teacher, a mentor, a role-model and above all has been that teacher that comes at that right time in a student’s life to consistently remind them that they are enough [..]’ Unable to attend on the night, I was asked to represent her on the night of the Awards. Naturally, when I was asked to receive the award and attend on her behalf I was extremely humbled but also overwhelmed. I had a 2 minute slot to express from a student’s perspective and as a content developer at Shades of Noir, how important teachers/mentors and academics, such as Aisha Richards, are within higher education in whatever field that may be. In this case, within the arts and creative industries. 2 minutes would never be enough, and words could never really express the importance of teachers that change lives or even save lives in some cases. ‘She has inspired, supported and unlocked the potential in all of us. Potential we had all along but never recognised.’ I spoke of this well known saying/phrase: ‘Those who know do, those who cannot, teach’. I find this one of the most untruthful phrases to exist. I personally view teaching 72 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
as one of the most important and influential roles on this planet. I also spoke of teaching not being for everyone. I personally view teaching as a calling, it’s a role and skill destined for some. Being able to recognise potential, to listen, to have patience, to take risks, to endure, to sacrifice..aren’t attributes that many have. Aisha Richards has all of these attributes and much more; she is a teacher, a mentor, a role-model and above all has been that teacher that comes at that right time in a student’s life to consistently remind them that they are enough, especially when they feel like they aren’t, or when they forget that they are and doubt ourselves. Because they are enough, we are enough and you are enough. Congratulations Aisha Richards, and thank you for your dedication and your inspirational labour in all aspects of your practice. Shades of Noir Salutes You!
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THE INCLUSIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING UNIT. Words by a Terry Finnigan. 74 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
The Inclusive Teaching and Learning unit: A reflective journey from the focus on problematic students, to disruptive and transformative pedagogies. I have been teaching on the Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) at the Teaching and Learning Exchange at University of the Arts London for over 9 years in the area of equality and diversity and so I feel it is time to reflect on how it has changed me as a teacher and as a human being. I have learnt so much during this time, sometimes through specific academic readings, blog posts and videos but often through difficult and challenging dialogues within the classroom and conversations with the other tutors after the students have gone. As a white member of staff I want to consider what the opportunity of working so closely with a black academic has given me and continues to give me, I acknowledge that I am further privileged by this insight. I know I have developed and changed because of this. I have always considered myself to be open, accepting and keen to learn from others. I see myself as a reflective practitioner and a good teacher. I relish being in the classroom, working alongside both students and staff. When I first started teaching about diversity all went well. I was first asked to deliver one session across the whole of the course about diversity within art and design teaching with a colleague, where mainly issues around disability and class were discussed. These always seemed to be the most palatable subjects for staff to consider under the banner of equality at that time. We would present a number of student case studies within a two-hour session and there was time for discussion and sharing of how the students could be supported. Looking back this was a very individualised model and in some ways was very comfortable and comforting for the participants. All their students needed was access to support, often from outside agencies, and their concerns and challenges would be met. Leaflets for counseling, housing, study support were duly distributed and that box was ticked. It was not their problem but just a problem of access to the right information, not taxing at all. We also would show the university stats around student achievement each year and how there were clear gaps between students from working class and middle class backgrounds and home black students and home white students. After the presentation staff would often question the data and its validity and sit silently and then find ways to understand it, which did not always impinge on their own teaching of course. Some staff would attempt to problematise the students who had not been taught well enough at school or whose language level was not appropriate for the course. However, other staff over the lunchtime would often want to discuss in more detail their studentsâ€™ needs and the data around achievement and how they could meet the students needs in the studio, the workshop and the lecture theatre.
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Let me make it very cIear, I am not in any way criticising the staff who were on the Pg Cert. They were there to learn how to be better teachers and how to support their students through their learning and their assessment. The course needed to radically change its approach, its focus and there was a growing need to consider inclusive pedagogies and curriculum. From this, working with Aisha Richards and Ellen Sims we developed a unit that provides staff the opportunity to study and reflect in more detail on inclusive teaching and learning in art and design was born. To be inclusive we had to consult in an inclusive way. We discussed this development with the Disability unit, the WP unit, the Language Centre within the university. We wanted it to be transformative for staff who studied the unit so we taught it through the frame of critical pedagogy using the writings of Friere (1970) and hooks (1994). We also made sure it was linked to the Art and design curriculum and so Burke and McManus (2009) and Bhagat and O’Neil (2011) were part of the key reading list. The Shades of Noir interventions, the Tell us about it artifacts and the Common Place UAL website were (and still are) key parts of the unit. It was essentially about staff understanding that diversity starts with themselves, it is not about the ‘others over there’. They also were encouraged to make changes to their teaching and the support students received within their own context. We also made sure we discussed the UAL achievement data and disparities in degree classification with the cohort and asked them how they could start to make some changes to the curriculum and the pedagogy, consulting with students along the way. The unit was validated in 2011 and was taught by three tutors, which is part of its strength; Aisha Richards, Siobhan Clay and Terry Finnigan. Having diversity within the staff team was essential to make this work effectively, although in the first couple of years this was, at times, an uncomfortable place for Aisha to be. I learnt a great deal during this period about myself but also to some level of the experience of being a Black teacher in a sea full of white faces. This was not a safe place to be in, not only did I witness this but she shared this with me after the classes. She was very upset about the questioning and defensiveness around the attainment figures for students of colour as well as the very aggressive questioning she received. I must admit that in the moment I wasn’t prepared for how the cohort behaved. She told me this was so very hard and next time could I present it and she would observe. I was concerned about her wellbeing and the emotional pain she was experiencing in this space so agreed. I was very shocked and it made me realise that this work was very complex and that I came from a position of white privilege as a teacher which I had never truly considered before. I had just thought that there were good teachers and not so good teachers and we needed to find ways to support students and facilitate their learning within a creative context. How naïve on my part! Suddenly I saw there were other layers to this which were to do with how people were perceived and their positions were validated or devalued even in a position of power as a black female academic by our peer students. In the first couple of years 76 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
we always had a debrief after the sessions (which has continued) and rethought how to present this data in the context that it was a reflective space, rather than aggression, we encourage consideration and understanding supported by case studies. I only delivered the data in the second year of delivering as Aisha built her own techniques to manage the environment and support the transformation of our cohorts. Additionally we brought other staff of colour in to run certain workshops which helped and the student attainment was discussed in small groups and fed back. The work of Sabri, (2014) who embarked on a longitudinal institutional research study at the university, helped with this as, using research data, was able to take the questioning around where the disparity came from out of the discussion. We moved straight onto, so what can we do about this then? Using the Frierian concepts of social justice and critical pedagogy, coupled with the involvement of students and educators engaging in dialogue to create change as the backbone of the unit and continues to be very powerful. Questioning the context on the course or workshop where the participants find themselves, as well as identifying a small change that can be implemented and evaluated is often transformational. We also, as unit tutors mirror inclusive practices within our own pedagogies and our own curriculum so that the sessions become safe and supportive spaces. Participants on the unit would feedback that it had changed the way they saw their role as teachers and had transformed their teaching and their overall approach with students. Sometimes students suggest this unit has changed their lives. We had moved a long way from reflecting on the individual problems of the students to a more systematic approach to change. This was in its own way at times disruptive and difficult for staff. Some course teams and line managers are very supportive while others feel at times threatened by the interventions staff bring to their area. This was all about change and there is still so much more to unpack and transform. In recent years it has been extremely important to create safe and supportive spaces on the unit so the participants can share their own diverse perspectives whilst receiving feedback and support from each other. The face-to-face sessions provide this but also the blogging spaces are really valued by most staff as it provides a place to reflect and share experiences, challenges and resources. Over the years the cohort has become more diverse (particularly since the creation of Shades of Noirs Teaching Within Programme) which is so positive and it enriches the dialogue and communication throughout the unit. We have been discussing inclusive curriculum, inclusive pedagogies and assessment for many years on the unit but now we are also talking about perspective on terms such as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, theories around
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white privilege, white discomfort, white fragilities, micro agressions and micro affirmations, islamophobia, the social model of disability and the use of pronouns for LGBTQI students and staff. It is not only about the strategies you can apply within the classroom such as group work and glossaries but also about the one to one communication between students and staff and students and students and staff and staff. I myself am thinking more and more about this now as language is key and an open and reflective response is necessary to truly move forward. Sometimes I still get it wrong. I use inappropriate language and get corrected and I am asked to think again which I am happy to do. I ask what words would be better here then? I still have a lot to learn but we have produced this space where I am willing to learn and do not feel in any way defensive. The space is now a space of mutual respect and learning and it has made me develop into a better teacher and a better person I think. This has taken years of delivery, practice and most importantly evolution through reflection to create a space that feels safe for all. Once you start talking about difference and inequalities in a safe space, provide students with the chance to read, reflect and share their experiences you also need to be ready to respond to what happens when silence is no longer a strategy to hold in injustices that some people have been holding for so long. As Lorde (1984: 44) comments â€˜It is not difference that immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken. The Inclusive Teaching and Learning unit then becomes a place of challenge and disruption. I have developed as a teacher and also as a person. I am much more aware of so many layers that exist around this work and of my contributions as an ally, both in the teaching setting and as the learner. I am constantly learning and am so thankful to have worked so closely with an academic of colour on this unit. Part of its success is that I was never a saviour but listened and always took on board Aishaâ€™s view as an ally and together we found solutions that worked.
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KEY TERMS. Ally
A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a group being discriminated against or treated unjustly. Assigned female at birth
Assigned male at birth
The classification of sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. Black A term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity to name people, especially one of African, Australian and Caribbean Aboriginal ancestry. Black-on-Black crime A phrase used to imply that black people do not care about, or are simply ignorant of, intra-community violence. Erares the fact that white people generally commit violence against predominately white people; the structural racism that hinders intra-community efforts to prevent crime, enable and exacerbate violence and incarcerates a disporpotionate amount of black people. Black Feminism The belief that sexism, class oppression, gender identity and racism are impossible to separate. These concepts relate to each other through intersectionality Body politics The term refers to the practices and policies through which powers of society regulate the human body, as well as the struggle over the degree of individual and social control of the body. The powers at play in body politics include institutional power expressed in government and laws, disciplinary power exacted in economic production, discretionary power exercised in consumption, and personal power negotiated in intimate relations Cisgender A person who identifies with the gender that was assigned for them at birth
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Female genital mutilation (FGM)
Describes the ideology and practice that dark skinned people are lesser than light skinned people. This ideology is indigenous to many cultures outside of the West but is one of the main foundations of racism and white supremacy. A form of government, tied strongly to Anceint Greek political systems, wherein citizens of a state elect representatives to govern them and potentially have the power to remove such representatives from their position. A Person of the indian subcontinent or South Asian diaspora. Desi countries include; Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Scattered population whose origin lies within a different geographic locale. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland. Also known as Gender Dysphoria, is an experience of discomfort or disconnect with one's assigned gender, often accompanied by a strong desire to change one's sex to better match their identity or to be called the correct gendered language. in general terms, consists of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan,South Korea and North Korea; sometimes, Mongolia and Vietnam are included in the definition. Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female circumcision) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical Reasons A set of behaviours, presentations and roles which are culturally associated with being a woman and/or possessing female sex characteristics. People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be feminine, but women and those who are assigned female at birth often experience societal pressure to be so. Femme is a feminine gender role which is sometimes used as a gender identity. The term femme originated in communities of lesbian and bi women. This term has been increasingly adopted by people who do not identify as women. Those who identify as femme may simply identify as women, have a feminine gender expression, and/or use femme as a non-binary gender identity aligned with femininity.
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Gender Gender Expression
Intersectional Feminism Intersectionality
Gender is an expression of the reenactment of certain roles. it may differ from time to time. Refers to the way that a person uses appearance, mannerisms and other personal traits to communicate their gender. A gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Gender queer is an umbrella term with a similar meaning to non-binary. It can be used to describe any gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary. Generally refers to the racist rag doll of the character Golliwogg in Florence Kate Upton's children's book series (1895-1909). The character is a product of the racist blackface minstrel theatre, intentioned to dehumanise black people. The character and the doll were hugely popular, and is still sold openly in some parts of the UK and Europe. The word is sometimes used as a slur against POC. The belief that people can only fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with fixed traditional gender roles. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or the only norm. Prejudice against same gender sexual and/or romantic relationships. This hatred extends to the cultures of LGBT/ queer people. A perspective within feminism that doesn't exclude people from the movement based on their Gender, Race and Class. A term coined by KimberlĂŠ Crenshaw which examines how social identities are used as a way to discriminate against marginalised groups who experience multiple forms of oppression simultaneously. Specifically women of colour who suffer from both gender and racial discrimination.
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Misogynoir Non-Binary Oppression
An intersex person is has sex characteristics e.g.sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, and/or chromosome patterns that do not fit the typical definition of male or female. This may be apparent at birth or become so later in life. To relegate to the fringes, out of the mainstream; make seem unimportant:to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power. A set of behaviours, presentations and roles which are culturally associated with being a man and/or possessing male sex characteristics. People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be masculine, but those who are assigned male at birth often experience societal pressure to be so. A social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of men, at least to a large degree. An example of a matriarchal society is Moja village in Northern Kenya founded by Rebecca Lolosoli. A term referring to misogyny directed towards Black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias. Non-binary gender describes any gender identity which does not fit within the binary of male and female. When a person or a group of people are subjected to unjust, and usually violent treatment by those in position of power. A social system in which cis-men hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of women and non gender conforming people, at least to a large degree. A concept describing the practice of using LGBT or queer issues in order to seem progressive with the aim of making profit, capital and/or political. Person/People of colour, has been used and taken up at different points in history in different places to describe nonwhite, European people.
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Hatred towards someone based on their identity. Example: An oppressed person of colour can be prejudiced against privileged races but cannot be racist. A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a individuals in particular groups by institutions. A word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse. People with various gender identities choose pronouns they feel comfortable with; some people may have more than one pronoun. Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour
An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual and/or cisgender Queer Phobia Similar to Homophobia, describes a fear or hatred of queer folk (any one who is not heterosexual) Racism Radical The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. The term suggests the demand for basic redefinitions of all facets of society. Radical feminism Radical feminism suggests that the answer to social problems can be a complete restructuring of how society defines human experience. Representation Refers to equality in opportunity and visibility. For example, representative media is media that is reflective of the variety of races, cultures, genders or religions that its entire readership belongs to. Self Defining women A person who identifies as a woman, regardless of what gender was assigned for them at birth Sex Denotation of human females and males depending on biological features (chromosomes, sex organs, hormones and other physical features) Sexual Orientations A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted Sexuality Refers to a person's sexual orientation/preferences in terms of sexual activities Subversion To undermine the power, authority and logic of an established system, culture or institution with the aim of overthrowing or causing a significant transformation.
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Transphobia Transmisogyny White Feminism
Transexclusionary radical feminism. A well known branch of radical feminism, known for it's adoption of biological essentialism that is used to exclude transwomen from womanhood and to justify attacks on transwomen. A term used to describe transgender people, assigned male at birth, who identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity. Trans man is a term which describes someone who is both a man and transgender. Trans men were assigned female at birth, and their gender identity is male. They also may be referred to as transmasculine. Trans men can have any sexual orientation. A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned female at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity. The term transsexual predates the term transgender, but has become less popular and savoury as it may imply that sex characteristics are more important than gender identity. A term which describes someone who is both a woman and transgender/transsexual. Trans women were assigned male at birth but their gender identity is female. They may also be referred to as transfeminine. Trans women can have any sexual orientation. The term transgender is an umbrella term for anyone whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth . Prejudice and/or fear towards the Trans folk A term referring to misogyny directed towards trans women. A feminism that does not take into consideration non-white women, often even partaking in the oppression of nonwhite people. White supremacy is an ideology centered upon the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior. It is argued by critical race theorist that all white people have a level of white supremacy values because of the media, education and politics have embedded whiteness as superior in society.
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Xenophobia Radical feminism
A term used to describe white actors or actress playing non-fictional and historical non-white character roles. Therefore writing and disconnecting historical events and achievements to the non-white community. Is the name of the ship that brought the first of a large number of British West Indians (at a time where citizenship was extended to the whole of the British Empire) to the UK after the Second World War. The term now refers to the entire series of migration from the Carribean to the British Isles in the period directly after WWII. Women of Colour Because mainstream feminism goals and ideologies differed to that of the needs of Black women, Alice Walker coined the term womanism where Black Women were at the center of the ideology without the need to racialise how gender plays an important role in the life of Black Women. Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. Radical feminism suggests that the answer to social problems can be a complete restructuring of how society defines human experience. In a contemporary sense radical feminist views are known to be transmisogynist because of their biological essentialist views. Refers to equality in opportunity and visibility. For example, representative media is media that is reflective of the variety of races, cultures, genders or religions that its entire readership belongs to. This may not mean cure, but does include not only a significant reduction in symptoms but also an improvement in the ability of the individual to lead a normal life including work, home life and leisure. Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential. Specialist health services which are usually hospital based and serve a wide area, such as a County or a large city. Apart from accident and emergency services, they are usually accessed through a referral from a primary care professional. IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION. // 85
Self-care simply means "taking care of yourself", it the therapeautic and healing actions that an individual may make in order to maintain a healthy mind and body, ultimately preventing illness. It can also refer to the practice of relaxing, unwinding and alleviating stress for yourself. It is a flexible term that can mean something different to every individual. Self Defining women A person who identifies as a woman, regardless of what gender was assigned for them at birth Sex Denotation of human females and males depending on biological features (chromosomes, sex organs, hormones and other physical features) Sexual Orientations A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted Sexuality Refers to a person’s sexual orientation/preferences in terms of sexual activities Specialist Someone who sees, assesses and treats a specific type of problem, usually having been asked to see a person by a generalist such as a GP. Examples would include Cardiologists (hearts), Paediatrician (children), Psychiatrist (mental health problems). Stigma Stigma is discrimination, based upon societies fear and ignorance about an illness or a problem. It causes peoples to be marginalized and mistreated, and therefore leads to social isolation, health inequalities and many forms of discrimination. It is derived from the term used to describe the marks burnt onto Roman slaves. Stress A state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Therapy Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. Trans Feminine
A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity. Trans man is a term which describes someone who is both a man and transgender/transsexual. Trans men were assigned female at birth, but their gender identity is male. They also may be referred to as transmasculine. Trans men can have any sexual orientation.
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Transphobia Transmisogyny Trauma
A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity. The term transsexual predates the term transgender, but has become less popular as it may imply that sex characteristics are more important than gender identity. A term which describes someone who is both a woman and transgender/transsexual. Trans women were assigned male at birth but their gender identity is female. They may also be referred to as transfeminine. Trans women can have any sexual orientation. The term transgender is an umbrella term for anyone whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth . Prejudice and/or fear towards the Trans folk A term referring to misogyny directed towards trans women. Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless, or completely overwhelmed. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves one feeling overwhelmed and isolated can be traumatic. Itâ€™s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but ones subjective emotional response to the situation. A type of feminism that ignores the fight for equality of anyone who doesn't identify as white, cisgender and heterosexual White supremacy is an ideology centered upon the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior. It is argued by critical race theorist that all white people have a level of white supremacy values because of the media, education and politics have embedded whiteness as superior in society. A term used to describe white actors or actress playing non-fictional and historical non-white character roles. Therefore writing and disconnecting historical events and achievements to the non-white community. Women of Colour IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION. // 87
Because mainstream feminism goals and ideologies differed to that of the needs of Black women, Alice Walker coined the term womanism where Black Women were at the center of the ideology without the need to racialise how gender plays an important role in the life of Black Women. Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.
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FURTHER RESOURCES. Books Ayers, W., Hunt, J. A., & Quinn, T. (1998). Teaching for Social Justice. A Democracy and Education Reader. New Press, New York, Baldwin, J. (2001). Another country. Penguin UK. Barthelemy, A. G. (1999). Black Face, Maligned Race: The Representation of Blacks in English Drama from Shakespeare to Southerne. LSU Press. Butler, J. (2011). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge. Cockrell, D. (1997). Demons of disorder: Early blackface minstrels and their world (No. 8). Cambridge University Press. Cowden, S., & Singh, G. (2013). Acts of Knowing: Critical Pedagogy in, against and beyond the University. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. Davis, A. Y. (2011). Women, race, & class. Vintage. Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical race theory. New York, NY: NYU Press. Dewey, J. (2004). Democracy and education. Courier Corporation. Duncombe, S., & Tremblay, M. (2011). White riot: Punk rock and the politics of race. Verso Books. Fanon, F., & Sartre, J. P. (1963). The wretched of the earth (Vol. 36). New York: Grove Press. Feagin, J. R., Vera, H., & Imani, N. (1996). The agony of education: Black students at White colleges and universities. Psychology Press. Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Bloomsbury Publishing. Holland, S. P., & Cohen, C. J. (2005). Black queer studies: A critical anthology. E. P. Johnson, & M. G. Henderson (Eds.). Duke University Press. Isaacs, H. R. (1975). Idols of the tribe: Group identity and political change. Harvard
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University Press. Lorde, A. (2012). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press. Mirza, H. S. (2005). Young, female and black. Routledge. Mirza, H. S. (2008). Race, gender and educational desire: Why black women succeed and fail. Routledge. Morgan, P. D., & Hawkins, S. (2004). Black experience and the empire (p. 317). Oxford University Press. Partridge, C. (2010). Dub in Babylon: understanding the evolution and significance of dub reggae in Jamaica and Britain from King Tubby to post-punk. Equinox Publishing. Perry, M. (2000). Walking the color line: The art and practice of anti-racist teaching. Teachers College Press. Sarup, M. (1991). Education and the Ideologies of Racism. Trentham Books. Small, S. (2014). Racialised barriers: the Black experience in the United States and England in the 1980â€™s. Routledge. Tate, S. A. (2012). Black beauty: Aesthetics, stylization, politics. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. Wade, P. (1995). Blackness and race mixture: the dynamics of racial identity in Colombia. JHU Press. Young, H. (2010). Embodying black experience: Stillness, critical memory, and the black body.
Journal articles Chiao, J. Y., Heck, H. E., Nakayama, K., & Ambady, N. (2006). Priming race in biracial observers affects visual search for Black and White faces. Psychological Science, 17(5), 387-392. Gillborn, D., & Mirza, H. S. (2000). MAPPING RACE, CLASS AND GENDER. Hall, S. (1990). Cultural identity and diaspora. Katsiaficas, G. (1997). The subversion of politics: European autonomous movements and the decolonization of everyday life. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. 90 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
O’Connor, A. (2002). Local scenes and dangerous crossroads: punk and theories of cultural hybridity. Popular Music, 21(02), 225-236. Ogbu, J. U. (2004). Collective identity and the burden of “acting White” in Black history, community, and education. The urban review, 36(1), 1-35. Singh, G., & Cowden, S. (2011). Multiculturalism’s new fault lines: Religious fundamentalisms and public policy. Critical Social Policy, 31(3), 343-364. Stinson, E. (2012). Writing Zines, Playing Music, and Being a Black Punk Feminist: An Interview with Osa Atoe. Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 22(23), 261-274. Wynter, S. (1979). Sambos and minstrels. Social Text, (1), 149-156. Yosso*, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race ethnicity and education, 8(1), 69-91.
Places to visit: Arab-British Centre 1 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE
The Africa Centre 66 Great Suffolk St, London SE1 0BL
Black Cultural Archives 1 Windrush Square, London, Brixton SW2 1EF
The Museum of East Asian Art 12 Bennett St, Bath BA1 2QJ
British in India Museum Hallam Road, Nelson BB9 8AD Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings 1 - 3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
The Oriental Museum Elvet Hill Rd, Durham DH1 3TH Womens Art Library Goldsmith University of London, New Cross SE14 6NW
Stuart Hall Library Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA
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Twitter users to follow. @AAPolicyForum @anothergaze @AfterTheBAM @BBFAcollective @bg_bookclub @BGUnscripted @BlackBritHist @BlackFeminisms @Blackgermans @BlkOutUK @ChairmanOhtv @colorlatina @CREN_WR
@CriticalReading @design_europe @fhalmarchives @KCCUK @poc_london @refugeejourno @TNBFC @tweetskindeep @WOCIReading @WOWtweetUK
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PHASE FOUR ZINES. You can now access all of our previous Terms of Reference (ToR) Zines from Phase Three and Four on our website at: shadesofnoir.org.uk/terms-of-reference-zines/ All of our Zines are packed with informative resources that supplement our events. They are a great tool for curriculum development and/or dissertation writing! Enjoy.
Women & Non-Binary Identities
Who Am I?
Mental Health & Creative Healing
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WITH THANKS TO. Phase 4 Shades of Noir Team
Contributors: Annabel Crowley Beatrice Carey Dennis Morris Dr Deborah Gabriel Samia Malik Book Geek Siobhan Clay Terry Finnigan Travis Alabanza Vivienne Eades Julie Wright Illustrations Dan Holliday Jay Lee
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W: shadesofnoir.org.uk E: email@example.com Tw: @shadesofnoir • Fb: shadesofnoir
WE SALUTE YOU!
Identity, disruption, democracy, subversion © Shades of Noir 2017 96 // IDENTITY, DISRUPTION, DEMOCRACY, SUBVERSION.
There is a growing tension and unrest worldwide that cannot be ignored. This can be heard in the quiet whispers and private conversations of...