Decolonising the Arts Curriculum: Perspectives on Higher Education

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This zine is a production of Arts Students’ Union and University of the Arts London, Teaching and Learning Exchange. It was collated and curated by Hansika Jethnani, Lucy Panesar and Rahul Patel Graphic design and layout by Hansika Jethnani Cover Illustration by Abbas Zahedi Printed and published June 2018

FoREWoRD By Hansika Jethnani (Students' Union, UAL), Lucy Panesar and Rahul Patel (Teaching and Learning Exchange, UAL) This zine has been created to bring together diverse perspectives on decolonising the arts curriculum in UK Higher Education. British arts education is world renowned and becoming increasingly diverse, yet inequalities and barriers to student success persist along the lines of nationality and race, evidenced by the attainment gaps affecting International students and students of colour. Such institutional inequalities and barriers are themselves founded on Britain's past; whilst some claim that we live in a post-racial and post-colonial world, colonial perceptions and mindsets are embedded into the fabric of our institutional structures. W.E.B. DuBois said that ‘a system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect’, and today's higher education system will continue to fail marginalised groups until its structures are dismantled. The growing international movement calling to decolonise higher education, from its curriculum to its campus statues, stems from the acknowledgement of the attainment gaps, the under-recruitment of students and staff of colour, and the discrimination faced by those who do enter the institution. In 2016, a student-led campaign called UAL SO WHITE brought these issues to light and prompted urgent action at the institution, and although there is still a long way to go, the attainment gaps are now being understood as an institutional issue, requiring structural and cultural change. Working in collaboration, the Students' Union and the Teaching & Learning Exchange invited an open call to UAL staff and students to contribute to this zine. Submissions were plenty, and all submissions have been included. To remain true to the nature of the zine, editing of content has been minimal to allow for the contributors’ perspectives to shine through. As such, the views contained in this zine do not necessarily constitute those of UAL. This zine is just the start of what will hopefully become an ongoing platform for exploring the possibility of a decolonised arts education, and on the back page you can find details of how to contribute to the ongoing discourse. We hope you find this zine insightful and inspiring.

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‘WHAT IS DECOLONISATION REALLY ABOUT?’ Dr Gurnam Singh, Visiting Fellow in Race and Education, UAL Put in very simple terms decolonisation of the curriculum is a profound project that is concerned with addressing the devastating and ongoing violence that European empires have perpetuated against people, mostly but not exclusively in/from the global south. Violence in this regard can be understood both as physical/material and symbolic/psychological. For example, Patel in his piece on the Black Lives Matter movement reminds us, through his reference to C.L.R James’ classic book The Black Jacobins, of the unimaginable brutality of slavery and how this violence continues into the present time. Unsurprisingly, many of the pieces in this Zine focus on the cultural realm, such as Cally Blackman’s explorations of the ways in which ‘race’ and ethnicity are literally and metaphorically woven into ideas about fashion. Decolonisation of the curriculum can manifest at different strata of the knowledge production and transmission process. At the fundamental level it is about highlighting ways in which all aspects of the imaginary western superior modes of thinking, being, doing and living are privileged over indigenous knowledges and histories, which are deemed to be primitive, irrelevant to modern life and irrational. By indigenous I refer both to those philosophical ideas that do not emerge from the orbit of Euro-North American culture and the experiences of people whose lives rarely get documented or do so in ways that renders them as objects of history lacking any agency. In a piece entitled Cultural Appreciation Vs Cultural Appropriation, E Okobi discusses how in music production, for example, the commodification of black culture so it is palatable to a wider audience, neutralises the ‘history, mystery and pain of Black culture’. Yet, this begs the question, is there such a thing as ‘authentic black culture’, or is it too simple a colonial construct? After all if colonialism is essentially a process of material and cultural conquest and appropriation, then surely this is as old as humanity? And so, perhaps the project of decolonisation is less about seeking out authentic culture as such but more about the opening up of creative spaces to facilitate the production of culture informed by indigenous thinking and doing. As George Sefa Dei (2011:3) notes, the recognition of Indigenous knowledge as legitimate in its own right requires that we rethink institutional spaces in which philosophy is done and envisage new ‘non-hierarchical’ spaces of knowing. Hiroki Yamamoto in his series of abstracts from the Japanese experience offers a tantalising insight into the possibilities that non-western primary sources can offer to us. Kai Lutterodt recounts the technique of ‘unmasking’ to enable students to explore perceptions and constructions of identity. This work clearly resonates with Frantz Fanon’s classical work, Black Skin,White Masks, where he examines the ways that colonialism of the oppressor becomes internalised by the oppressed thus producing what W.E.B. Du Bois had earlier termed ‘double consciousness.’ This theme is further developed by Lorraine Williams in her piece Still Hidden where, through abstract images, she shows how the emotional violence of colonialism, which is often camouflaged, was and is inflicted even today on black women. With some notable exceptions, universities, especially the so-called elite, remain largely trapped in an outdated, cloistered parody of white middle/upper-class privilege. For academics who are unable to hide within whiteness, either because they are positioned as ‘the Other’, or if they choose to challenge the power hierarchy, life can be difficult. Lucy Panesar in her piece Confessions of a Colonial Lecturer, offers a mixture of despair, in that she had bought into the colonial narrative, but also, through a process of critical self-discovery, hope and agency. There is always a danger that in discussing colonialism, whether that is about the past or the present, it becomes represented as an overpowering all-encompassing force. If colonialism represents a history of dominance and brutality, one must never forget it is the very same conditions that paradoxically end up producing profound insights into the human condition and the amazing capacity human beings have to maintain their spirit, to survive and fight back against oppression. It is precisely because there is a history of struggle, creativity, love and hope that makes the decolonising of the curriculum project worth doing. In this regard one of the most refreshing aspects of the Zine is the number of pieces that directly or indirectly address the issue of pedagogy. Rahul Patel’s Interview with Aisha Richards and Vikki Hill’s podcasts Critical Pedagogy Bites and Duna Sabri’s They come here to learn about us! are three of many examples of deep engagement with both ideas and the practicalities of transforming the curriculum. Indeed, in her piece Jo Shah tackles the key questions of how and why to decolonise head on! Taken together, the pieces in the Zine provide a patchwork of ideas, methods, strategies and practical interventions that offer great hope and possibility that we can decolonise the curriculum, which for me represents a de-racialised conception of both humanity and the university so that the original idea of universitatem or universes, referring to "the whole or entire" can be realised. References: Fanon, F. (2008). Black Skin, White Masks. Grove press. New York. Mbiti, J. S. (1990) African Religions and Philosophy. Heinemann, Oxford. Sefa Dei. G, J. (2011) Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education: A Reader. Peter Laing. New York


‘WE NEED TO TALK’ Sharon Bertram, Student/Staff ‘If we go through to have a school, further education then university experience with a continuous lack of representation within the curriculum and teaching practitioners then what effect will it have on our young adults from all ethnicities?’

‘We need to talk’ was a project through a series of workshops that I ran last year as part of my MA research. The project included discussions and workshops amongst young and mature black women. It was structured to create art work to be a voice of their personal stories. The project was an examination of Black female desires and aspirations and the importance of sharing our stories, that if not told remain invisible. The aim was for narratives shared to support, educate and guide. Each account had an important message about how we see ourselves and are seen; some transparent, others revealed, however inspired to provoke thought, reflect and open dialogue about our identity. The concept related to my study of historical and cultural traditions and ‘Rites of Passage’ to trace a small part of my ancestral roots, broken by the chain of my African diaspora. I had sought to discover where young Black female aspiring artists and designers saw themselves in the current British landscape and within their education environments. Their transition from Further to Higher Education and beyond as potential artists and designers within this context is a necessary and important part of their journey that continues to inform ideas and understanding around identities and cultures. By conducting this project, many concerns had arisen from my life experience of having had to navigate my way through as a student that lacked representation within the curriculum to twenty years later seeing students I teach be faced with the same. It distresses me, so I continue to address and challenge the inequality that still goes on. I pursue to confront this through influencing change through my own art and design and teaching practice. I have worked in secondary schools where there is limited positive representation within the curriculum and even more so with Art and Design subjects. This is important to mention as our identities are formed and secured from a young age. 2

‘DID I JUST GET IN BECAUSE I AM BROWN?’ Yasmeen Thantrey, Student

Getting into college/sixth form was never an issue, I was somehow able to understand most of what was thrown at me during my GCSE’s, so 5 C’s was never a challenge. Problems with my grades began during A Levels, when the leap was something I thought I was going to miss. For the first time ever I felt stupid. But somehow I managed to pull my finger out and land myself in a really good university. I was very lucky, I didn’t get the high A’s and B’s most people on my course did, so I assumed that I got let in due to the fact that I could write well, and formulate a convincing personal statement. Apparently, I am blind to my own ‘perks’ of being an ethnic minority. So many times, I have been told that I got into university to ‘tick a box’ and ‘fill a quota’. Whether these comments are light-hearted or not, they have an underlying bitterness that only adds to the racism that I have to face everyday. I am always still questioning; “Did I just get in because I am brown?”. Apparently, everyone else knew the answer before I did. 3

‘I DON’T GET IT’ Duna Sabri, Staff This is an abridged extract from Duna Sabri (2018) Students’ Experience of Identity and Attainment at UAL: Final year 4 report of a longitudinal study for the University of the Arts London. An important curriculum-defining site is the feedback conversation. How a tutor responds to a student’s work creates boundaries and proscribes what students come to believe is worthwhile work. In these conversations, tutors are often heard to say ‘I don’t understand’ or ‘I don’t get it’, but the phrase is meant and interpreted in many different ways. These phrases seem to occur more often in the experience of international students and black and minority ethnic students than white home students. Of course it is impossible to know the intention of the tutor. Different intentions are conceivable: to start a stimulating discussion, to challenge muddled thinking, to close down an exchange, as a substitute for more precise inquiry about a student’s work, or as an expression of utter tiredness on the part of the tutor at the end of a long day. Nonetheless, it is a powerful phrase. For some students who took part in my research, ‘I don’t get it,’ is a rejection of their work and a comment on the quality of their presentation of it. They feel powerless to engage in a verbal exchange once the tutor has declared, ‘I don’t understand’. As one student said, ‘No matter what you say, it’s going to sound like an excuse’. In this instance, ‘I don’t understand’ is not being interpreted as ‘I’d really like to understand your work’. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

‘THROUGH ANGEL’S EYES’ Angelique Master, Student

Created by 2nd Year LCC Illustration & Visual Media student Angelique Master and facilitated by printmaking technician Richard Roberts, ‘Through Angel's Eyes’ is a first-person narrative of a non-white art student's experience of university in the form of a handmade zine. In creating the work, Angel learnt the print technique of Offset Lithographic Monoprinting in order to create a visual language relevant to her experience and background. Inspired by street art/graffiti and concrete poetry, Angel communicates her thoughts on race, activism and social politics through a blend of stencil shapes, colour, language and rhythm. 4

Through Angel’s Eyes, Angelique Master, Student


‘COMPLICITY, 2018’ Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark, Student *** THESE ARE NOT MY WORDS *** Because of who you are, you get the choice to not care. You are not threatened. Your lack of caring shows that whatever happens politically, It will not affect your life. It may even benefit you. So, you stay quiet. I hope your white skin tans evenly. I hope your big house insulates you from the noises outside. I hope that bubble you live in is comfortable Keep not caring. Because rest assured, WE will NEVER shut up. I am so happy that none of this affects you. I am so glad you do not have to deal with the "negativity" of real life. I am jealous of you, truly. I wish I could ignore the problems of others. I wish I could ignore my own problems. I wish I could stop paying attention to politics stop protesting, stop shouting, stop crying stop worrying stop fighting, against an inherently racist, prejudice system which continues and continues, and continues, to hurt me. To hurt us. I wish I had the privilege you do. I wish all people had the privilege that you do. Privilege – being something that you do not know you even possess – But we do not. Ignorance and wilful ignorance are not the same thing. Retreating into a realm of the depoliticised, to withdraw into the haze of White, Western Academia during a climate such as this would not be possible without privilege. These long-standing, prejudice, institutional structures and the rigidity of the restricted narratives they preach must also be decolonised It’s time to recognize your complicity. *** THESE ARE OUR BELIEFS *** 6

Through Angel’s Eyes, Angelique Master, Student


H-Net Asia


The most updated information in the field of studying Asia in the world. This gives practically useful information for career development such as announcement of conference, course, job, publication, etc., but it gives the 21st century idea about ‘Asia’ beyond the politically tainted notion of ‘area studies’ as the Euroamerican centric study of ‘Other’. Subscription is free. Education about Asia This site is closely associated with the Association for Asian Studies in the USA. This journal provides very useful information about resources for teaching Asia and how to teach about Asia for all levels of education. Featured topics and articles are stimulating. Paid subscription is required. ICDHS International Committee on Design History and Studies (ICDHS) initiated originally in the Spanish-speaking trans-Atlantic cultural network with an initial conference in Barcelona by late Professor Anna Calvera in 1999, and since then has been instrumental in orchestrating a shift towards multiple geographical perspectives within design history and design studies. The way it operates is unique as it is transnational from the outset and intentionally has no nationally based headquarters. The bi-annual conferences were organized on the basis of local proposals and so travelled from Barcelona to Havana, Istanbul, Guadalajara, Helsinki, Osaka, Brussels, São Paulo, Aveiro and Taipei (with the next one in Barcelona in 2018). It aims at minding the gaps by redrawing the map of Design History and Studies into a more inclusive picture beyond the hegemonic Anglo-American centric discipline. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Conferences, networking, Journal and publications) Chen Kuan-Hsing (陳光興) started an inter-Asia cultural studies network which developed to the inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society, publication of the journal in 2000, and organisation of a bi-annual conference since 2007. There is an anniversary issue that states these trajectories by key members (Chen, Kuan-hsing ed. Trajectories: Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, London and New York: Routledge, 1998). Chen’s Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010) is also a key material leading the idea of ‘inter-asia’ and transnationalism as an academic activism for decolonisation of knowledge. READ (Reading East Asia) This is a cross-college postgraduate reading group within the UAL led by Yuko Kikuchi since 2018 and her PhD student Hiroki Yamamoto also jointly led since 2016. Reading materials have been selected from a broad spectrum of visual cultures in East Asia with particular focus on modern to contemporary issues to generate critical debate and knowledge from the site of ‘East Asia’. This is one of the hottest fields of study in the USA informed by rich resources including recently declassified official documents, unpublished materials and oral histories.


This study has successfully been changing the curriculum and narratives of the US history in line with inclusion of African American and Native American stories. Following materials have been used in READ: - Delphine Hirasuna, Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps 1942-1946 (the catalogue of the exhibition held at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum), Ten Speed Press; First Printing edition (October 1, 2005). - Jane E. Dusselier, Artifacts of Loss: Crafting Survival in Japanese American Concentration Camps, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2008. - Allen H. Eaton, Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps, New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1952. - John Okada, No-No Boy, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1979 (originally published by Charles E. Tuttle, 1957). - Hollywood Chinese (2007) This documentary film has created a big impact on the study of representation of Asians (meaning East Asians in North America) in the USA. Other stimulating work on representation of Asians in films and popular media include: - Gina Marchetti’s Romance and the ‘Yellow Peril’: Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction (1993). - Christina Klein, Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1845-1961 (2003). --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Long before 1789 the French bourgeoisie was the most powerful economic force in France, and the slave trade and the colonies were the basis of its wealth and power. The slave trade and slavery were the economic basis of the French Revolution.… The fortunes created at Bordeaux, at Nantes, by the slave trade, gave to the bourgeoisie that pride which needed liberty and contributed to human emancipation. Nantes was the centre of the slave trade. As early as 1666, 108 ships went through the coast of Guinea and took on board 37,430 slaves … The capital from the slave trade fertilise them; though the bourgeoisie trading in other things than slaves, upon the success or the failure of the traffic everything else depended.” - The Black Jacobins C.L.R James - 1938 9

‘THEY COME HERE TO LEARN ABOUT US!’ Duna Sabri, Staff When asked how they responded to students who wanted to pursue topics or concepts that came from a culture that was unfamiliar to them, some tutors argue that international students came to study at UAL because they ‘wanted to learn about London and British culture’. The evidence often cited for this argument is ‘they are here.’ There are several fallacies embedded in this argument. First, there are numerous reasons a student from another part of the world would choose to study here: the particular credential value of an institution such as UAL in comparison to local universities; a need to study in English; and prior personal connections in London, to name but a few. While many international students may well wish to learn about London and British culture, there is no reason to suppose that this is their only or primary aim. Indeed, their choices of dissertation topics, industry experience and research relating to final major projects all manifest interests in their own cultures and in the relationships between diverse cultures. Most will also go on to practise in places beyond London and the UK and expect their education to prepare them for this eventuality. Nevertheless, let us assume that some international students have said that they wish to learn about London and British culture. It should go without saying that there is much to explore with them about what is meant by ‘London’, ‘British’ and of course ‘culture’, and in problematizing which aspects of ‘London’ and ‘British’ tend to be foregrounded in our society, the extent to which Britain’s colonial past and role in slavery has explanatory power for our understanding of contemporary cultures. Furthermore, there is a great deal to be done in creating appropriate scaffolding that would enable international students to access and see the ------------------------relevance of those aspects of London and British culture which may be under discussion.



Though coming from different culture backgrounds, they showed the same sense of powerfulness through engaging in a conversation.


‘BALKANISING TAXONOMY’ Nela Milic, Staff The following text is an abstract from Milic’s PhD research, accompanying symposium, website and exhibition supported by the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles, AHRC and Graduate Office, Goldsmiths, University of London. This paper is tracing the questions raised by the project “Balkanising Taxonomy” developed last year as part of the archive research at Goldsmiths Centre in Textiles. The project aimed to interrogate notions of Balkan identity, and trouble the impulse to create a stable taxonomic account of the Eastern European subject. Through the construction of protective preservation chambers (light-safe boxes sewn out of black felt), fetishized Balkan could only be encountered through a small peephole. Also, photographs of Balkan people were placed in glass jars, to ensure that they are not physically handled by the viewing public. The voyeuristic impulse hidden behind the project of preservation was exposed, where the boxes and jars claim to protect the objects from light and decay, but instead contribute to widening the gap between the (Western) self and (Balkan) other. The labels which accompanied the garments and photographs contained a mixture of factual and imagined information, once more calling into question the taxonomic urge, and highlighting the problematic process at work behind studying and representing the other. Through the methods of conservation employed in this project, which intensify the relationship between the merging of scientific and absurd classification practices, the curator hoped to contribute visually to the already vast field of study which questions the space from which the Balkan subject is formed. The journey through artefacts has been led through memory and this paper will focus on this discourse within Visual Sociology. For more information visit - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Minority ethnic children make up a growing proportion of those offending for the first time, reoffending, and serving custodial sentences. Today 41% of under-18s in custody are from minority backgrounds, compared with 25% a decade ago. Young black people are now nine times more likely - to be in youth custody than young white people. I expected to find the youth justice system laser-focused on this issue. Instead, I have seen large parts of the system indifferent to issues of race.” - The Racial Bias in our Justice system is creating a social timebomb David Lammy, the Guardian, 8th September 2017 11

‘MARCH’ Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrated by Nate Powell Book Review by Karl Foster, Staff Sometimes there are two Americas. This has been said many times. John Lewis was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was one of the “Big Six” leaders of groups who organised the 1963 March on Washington, played many key roles and actions in the Civil Rights Movement and to end racial segregation in the United States. Today he is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987. Published in three parts, this graphic novel helps understand the distinct phases of John Lewis’ career in activism. Book One: Lunch counter sit ins. Book Two: Freedom Rides and the March on Washington (including John’s most famous speech). Book Three: Voter Rights, 1964 US Election (The election of L.B. Johnson) and the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery. It begins with the inauguration of Barack Obama, the 44th US President and is used as a counterpoint for John’s activities in his earlier life for desegregation and emancipation. Events take place from 1940 - 2009 during the most extraordinary period of US history. As a young man he is called to seek justice by the voice of God, believes in non-violent protest at a time when universal hostility towards black people by the US system and the white population was the order of the day. A radical departure. Living by the simple notion to engage peacefully with people who feared change and denied the possibility that African Americans could ever be their equal, he and many others challenged the segregation of the American South that had existed since the abolition of slavery. The further South he travels the more he is drawn into the heart of darkness. A tale of bravery and conviction at a time when courage and beliefs could mean the loss of job, personal injury, imprisonment or death. African American deaths were not a priority for investigators. The South was littered with victims of hatred and white supremacist ideology. Murders of white activists in Mississippi brought the media running in. The story says things can improve, that ignorance can be overcome, that Government can make concessions and enforce the law. Monochrome illustrations capture the period and intensity of the movements in their desire for progressive change. Scenes of church bombing in Birmingham are vivid and the expression of dignity of oppressed peaceful protestors comes across well. These images set the scene for a world that revolved around the actions of CORE, NAACP, SCLC and SNCC. Natural rivalries and divisions but 12

these were mostly generational. All agreed that change was necessary. Speed and intensity fuelled these debates. He survived this tumultuous period despite others close to him paying the ultimate price. The novel asks, “What would you be prepared to do or risk for what is right?” Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., became social activists rather than purely racial champions and both died for the same ideal. The trilogy has extra coverage and sales thanks to John Lewis’ spat with the 45th US President. The current US situation demands a return to the protests that shaped our present and may protect our future.

Photos taken by Caroline Thomson Publishers website Authors website Illustrators website Reviewer’s blog -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

‘… the haemorrhaging of history from our lives is not just an issue for our rulers. Actually, I think their tasks become significantly easier with its loss. In other words, that deficit has real costs for the forces of resistance and dissent.’ - Paul Gilroy: ‘Imagination is everything’ - The Johannesburg Review of Books - April 2018


‘BRANDS OF HIP HOP’ Kelly Waters, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, University of Connecticut, and Visiting Lecturer, Central Saint Martins

All images created by Kelly Walters

The Brands of Hip Hop are a collection of collaged posters inspired by iconic fashion brands mentioned in Hip Hop song lyrics dating from 1986–2014. The visual perception of black culture can be attributed to the complexities within black music, fashion, language, and geographic location. By locating the cultural shifts in media over time, I learn which visual markers have remained the same or have drastically changed.I am curious whether contemporary black cultural artifacts and representations are considered to be “post-racial” or still form a racial disconnect for black people. It is in these disconnects, that I find the most important aspect of my design practice: the formation of an alternative narrative that emphasizes voice, space and place. Each poster is 22" x 36."



This year I have introduced a student-led research project called Global Perspectives, that aims to decolonize the Fashion History & Theory curriculum by looking at dress in communities that do/did not subscribe to the traditionally accepted notion of the Western industrialized fashion system. The assumption was that ‘fashion’ did not exist in so-called ‘fixed’ societies – recently this perception has been challenged by socio-cultural academics and dress historians alike – it is now acknowledged that fashion coexists, in all societies, alongside humans: wherever there are people there is fashion. A range of invited experts have shared their knowledge of topics from Transylvanian village dress, Ghanian Kente cloth to theories of race, ethnicity, cultural appropriation and intersections of ‘fashionable’ and ‘non-fashionable’, ‘folk’ dress. We have visited the British Museum store at Blythe House and the Haslemere Museum in Surrey to see items of clothing from Eastern Europe. It is hoped these visits will be diversified each year to incorporate a wide range of surviving items of non-Western dress.

Sherman, c1911, ‘Three women (un-named) from Guadeloupe’

The significance of clothing to formations of identity has been explored by looking at images relating to my own research into representations of dress in early twentieth century colour photographic processes, especially the Lumières’ autochrome; many of these were taken of ‘folk costume’ because it was colourful. My research has been expanded (thanks to a recent UAL REFRESH-funded trip to the USA) to include the monochrome images taken by the chief clerk at Ellis Island immigration Station, New York, by Augustus Sherman, of people waiting to be processed on arrival in the early decades of the twentieth century. A tour of the museum there revealed how precious their own indigenous dress was to those who were about to embark on a new life in a new country. The students have chosen a variety of research topics to present in the summer term, including Argentinian gaucho dress, modern modesty dress, Polish dress, Spanish dress, Hererro dress and a dictionary of terms. Afterwards, they will reflect on and review the module, make suggestions to improve it and create a reference resource for future cohorts to take forward. This will be a continuous process repeated each year. The project is the first of many small steps we hope to take to deliver content on other (Other) histories of dress, and by doing, so to be more inclusive in our approach and curriculum.


Jo Shah, Staff * Why/How to decolonise art and design? By opening up critical conversations and contexts that look beyond a limiting Eurocentric lens to consider global art and design. To reconsider how we position art and design related discourses and practices within a global framework. In practice this would present as Eurocentric perspectives not being presented as generalizable, and global contexts not being positioned as bolted on considerations to be exoticised or fetishized. In effect, to shed any imperialistic ideology that may underpin curriculum design, pedagogy, and delivery. * Why/How to decolonise university life? By challenging privilege, unconscious bias, and micro-aggression behaviour among staff – as these can cascade into the classroom and regenerate. To consider the bigger conversation beyond the superficial equalities box ticking and actively promoting a safe and nurturing culture that ensures that staff and learners of colour or from post-colonial countries are awarded equal respect and dignity. * Why/How to decolonise academia? By expanding our knowledge base to consider broader contexts that exceed limiting eurocentricism and to ensure that such knowledge is treated equally and in balance. * Why/How to decolonise curricula? In careful planning and delivery that broadens the conversation. To enable an environment in which all ideas hold value and are respected. To ensure that pedagogical bias is questioned at all review stages and addressed. * Why/How to decolonise pedagogy? By diversifying the field and associated training so that a range of ideas and experiences can be brought together to enhance the learning experience of all students and to ensure that the knowledge exchange is free of racial or imperial bias.


‘ON DECOLONISING HIGHER EDUCATION’ M.F., Staff While the ambition on decolonising the curriculum is a courageous and honest step, the question remains whether UAL, or any British university for that matter can be truly decolonised? If we turn to the fundamental meaning of ‘colonisation’, then decolonising would work against the very interest of this University (and many others HE providers) who are keen to dominate the world Higher Education (HE) market. Colonisation used to be justified as ‘bringing civilisation’ to the rest of the world. It was believed that British society had reached the highest point of civilisation and saw its duty to ‘educate’ the ‘barbaric’ or ‘underdeveloped’ societies. Needless to say, the true motive was to exploit natural resources of the colonies and to boost the economy of the British Empire. Yet at the same time, it would be presumptuous to conclude that everyone in British society has benefitted from colonisation. No, let’s not forget about the poor, the working class, the slaves and the migrant workers in Great Britain as they were neglected and did not equally share the prosperity of the country in which they resided. Fast forwarding to present day, how is the strategy and structure of any ‘prestigious’ British university any different to that of the British Empire? They present themselves as elitist authority figures of their field and shamelessly empty the pockets of international students. Any non-western schools of thought are either undervalued or exoticised as ‘oriental’. Also, stereotyping students from specific countries for their ‘lack of critical thinking’ seems to be a common practice among academics. At the home front, what have universities done to make their programmes more affordable and accessible, in particular for BAME students who are systematically flunking out? Foolishly, HE providers believe the world is hungry for their knowledge, and simultaneously disregard other valid forms of learning, such as adult education or learning at work. It is with great regret that universities are seen as the ‘pinnacle’ of lifelong learning, often taking the spotlight from other ways of learning. It is no coincidence that funding for adult education or community centres has been hit the hardest, but the important question is what have universities done to foster non-formal learning in this country, or to spark interest of all kind of learners? Even looking at the inept courses for their professional staff begs the question of how lifelong learning is instilled in HE institutions. Furthermore, one should be watchful of ‘decolonisation’ not turning into another trend, but a form of criticality to shake the very ground on which UAL stands. To succeed, UAL and other universities would need to have a closer look at its imperial past, its globalised present and its ambitious future. Perhaps including ‘Orientalism’ by Edward Said in the teaching curriculum would be the first of many steps to achieve this goal. For teaching staff, using ‘cultural capital’ of Pierre Bourdieu to understand student retention and attainment would also be a good step in the right direction. 17

Layla Murga, Staff


‘CHOREOGRAPHIES OF MARGINALISATION’ Joel Simpson, Student Cloud Canyons is a student-led workshop group who meet weekly at Chelsea College of Arts. Our aim is to develop social, political, and theoretical ideas for students-as-practitioners, through questioning the university's approach to equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Below are minutes from one recent session entitled ‘Choreographies of Marginalisation’. 1: The enduring ‘Attainment Gap’ between ethnic minority ‘home’ students and white ‘home’ students. 2: The international student experience. 3: The CCW (Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon) restructure plans. A unifying thread of these narratives is the notion of cultural capital, as described by Richard Dyer’s critical race text ‘White’ (1997). Cultural capital is the idea that there are certain aspects to a person, their lifestyle, or indeed to an object, that have a particular ‘cultural’ value. In a white supremacist society, cultural capital corresponds with the prevailing racialized hierarchy, among other social and political hierarchies. Cultural capital is a factor in imbalanced assessment of BAME students, it is the potential exploitation of international students and the lack of urgency to their requirements, and it is the reason for the rebranding of CCW. Cultural capital inside the institution; how might eurocentrist and patriarchal ideologies be upheld through the circulation (or lack of circulation) of images around the art school building? Examples; i) One student’s work is made up of images of sexualised women. ii) A PowerPoint presentation in a lecture displays a photograph of two men being lynched in the American South. iii) The order in which a web visitor sees images on Moodle and the UAL website. Can these images become attached to the social identity of a student body? This leads to these considerations, ‘How do images move around the college?’, ‘How do we, as students, move inside the college?’ ‘Could this movement be exclusionary of certain students?’ This, in turn, directs us towards further questions; ‘How do we see our identities shifting and changing as we exist inside the institution?’ ‘How do we see our practice moving?’ ‘How do our ideas move through theory?’ ‘How do they move through the structure of our respective courses?’ ‘Does our practice move in the same direction as we do? Does it move in front of us, as we lag behind, or are we dragging it from behind us, as we move too quickly for it?’ ‘Might we describe our way of moving as with the college, a passenger, or a driver of the college? A voyeur, a spectator? Or do we move like fugitive, or thief, escaping, ducking and diving, or like a convict in the back of a police van awaiting trial?’ ‘Or do we move through the college just like a “normal citizen”?’ These choreographic questions, examining what it means to think about how we move inside the college, and whether the institution negatively affects our practice and the way we, and our practices, move, lead us to recap the biggest questions of the sessions in the previous term; ‘How do we place our practice within the context of the institutional discrimination (points 1 and 2 above), and the patrimony of cultural capital?’


Layla Murga, Staff




The legacy of colonialism is still evident today in our society and educational system. Diversity Matters hosted a creative participatory workshop at Central Saint Martins to go beyond the 'façade' of diversity, and unpick prominent race-related issues participants face in their everyday lives as a form of oppression. The workshop using masking-making as an aid to discuss unmasking colonial agendas was in support of MA student Vaidehi's research project using Anansi (the folkloric spider) to address research on legal agendas, it's influence on the distribution of stories throughout the world, and how the historical context of Anansi, the African-Carribbean folkloric figure, informed her own agenda of decolonising knowledge. Participants were invited to reflect on their personal experience of colonial agendas and design their own masks as a creative method of critically "disrupting the racist and euro-centric 'heritage’/ ‘tradition’/ ‘culture’ of Commedia dell’Arte and redistributing the power over the definition of the word ‘culture’ itself."



In our four filmed interviews ‘Critical Pedagogy Bites’ (2018), we explore how we can decolonise our curriculum by using critical pedagogy as a means to address oppressive power relations within the learning and teaching space. Decolonisation of the classroom/lecture theatre/ studio involves not only what we learn and teach, but the way that we learn and teach. Critical Pedagogy is most typically associated with the work of Paulo Freire, the Brazilian Educationalist, who was interested in raising literacy levels amongst peasants. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), Freire criticised traditional rote learning methods that alienated the learner (and the teacher) and instead aimed to develop self-reflexivity in the learner and awaken a critical consciousness. Education is intimately linked to the production and reproduction of social relations, power and politics. Therefore, the critical pedagogue argues that questions of oppression, social justice and democracy are not distinct from the acts of learning and teaching. In Critical Pedagogy #4, Gurnam expands on the importance of non-hierarchical dialogue and exchange to develop critical consciousness, to connect ideas to lived experience (and vice versa) and to affect change in the world. In practice, the pedagogical approaches that we, as both educators and students, can take forward would be to realise that creative teaching methods on their own are no guarantor of transformative learning but we should aim to deploy a broader canvas – visual, auditory, tactile, that can engage and stimulate. In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks writes “I enter the classroom with the assumption that we must build "community" in order to create a climate of openness and intellectual rigor. (...) It has been my experience that one way to build community in the classroom is to recognize the value of each individual voice.” (1994, p40) By decolonising our pedagogy, the learner can create a new framework for negotiating the idea of intelligence that is both critical and action orientated leading from personal perspective transformation to social and political change. Youtube link -


‘CULTURAL APPRECIATION VS. CULTURAL APPROPRIATION’ E. Okobi, Student As a teenager, my American Lit. teacher assigned our class the task of writing a blues song. This was at a school set in the then sparsely populated Arizona desert. Beforehand we'd read Langston Hughes and learned about his decision to write in what is now termed African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), and what was then politely called Black Standard English (BSE), and what was also disparaged as "Ebonics". This was at a time when the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) in California decided to embed this dialect into lessons taught to a primarily Black student body. I remember the debates on television, but never connected this to discussions we had in class which included discourse on the (African) continental roots of AAVE. What I did make a connection to was the fact that the "th" sound of words such as "they" and "them" were often transliterated into AAVE text as "de", e.g. "dey" and "dem". My parents' West African phonemic alphabet did the same thing. Although we did not discuss minstrelsy in these classes, this is another arena where one often encounters the "th"/"d" phonemic form. We also discussed musical forms, and how traditional African intonation made its way into Black American music, and eventually American pop music which has arguably shaped the landscape of global popular music today. We didn't really discuss the extent of that influence, but we did talk about Jazz, and how it is recognized as the only truly "American" music -- never mind that many Navajo (and some Hopi, Apache and Shoshone) students attended that school as well -- as is our persistence in describing people born and residing in the US as "American", a truly indistinct term if there ever was one… We briefly followed the mutation of African music, from the Middle Passage, to the plantation, the church house and the juke joint. Then we were set loose to write our own blues songs (extract of one song included here). Years later, I had a conversation about the cultural appropriation of the blues and gospel melisma with the musical artist and ethnomusicologist Imani Uzuri during Sinners and Saints, a festival of Black vernacular culture she curated in part to present Black music and culture as worthy of serious academic regard, and not just an object of parody and parroting. For her, the melisma was a prime example of how Black culture can be distorted by those who are ignorant, lazy, scornful or a combination of all three. Melisma, or the Vocal Run, is instantly recognizable when heard, and inextricably linked with Black music. It is the soaring, falling, then sometimes soaring again multi-note, and often plaintive wail associated with genres such as gospel, blues and R&B. Singers such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey make melisma seem effortless, and inspire throngs of less-talented wannabes. While Uzuri was willing to admit that many people of all ethnicities had perfected melisma without knowing the culture that birthed it, she felt that stripping it of its provenance diminished it to a cheap trick. There is history, mystery and pain in that wail, and like much of Black culture, it seems only palatable to the wider world when detached from its deeper significance -- or indeed from descendants of the black and brown bodies who first produced and perfected it. 24

Someday soon We gonna Get our free-ee-dom Someday soon We gonna Break dem chains Someday soon We gonna Walk with heads held high Singin’ Glory be Thank God I’m free Singin’ Glory be To Liberty Til that day We gotta Keep on ho-o-pin’ O yes Til that day We gotta Keep the faith



‘STILL HIDDEN’ Lorraine Williams, Student

Emotional Abstraction inspired 'Still Hidden’, a multimedia experimental psychological film which I created for my MA. The Emotional Abstraction focuses on a woman who endures physical and mental abuse in an abusive relationship taking into consideration the physical and mental abuse that the woman of African descent were exposed to at the time of colonisation. This was extreme physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the cruel social conditions inflicted by colonialism. I have considered the concept of de-colonisation and I have taken images from Emotional Abstraction film. I have re-worked the images, by way of exploring the lives of women of colour in society and institutions with abstract images and colours representing different emotions. I have a series of images with faces on top of faces creating layers on top of layers of emotional expressions. Women of colour are still exposed to physical and mental abuse still hidden in de-colonisation, and people of colour are still subjected to racist oppression still hidden in our society and institutions. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

‘One shouldn’t perhaps look at the art education institutions alone for the answers, as they are only parts of the art establishment at large. The knowledge which is passed on to art students is actually the knowledge received from the art establishment (i.e., art galleries, museums, art publications, etc.) generated by its recognition and signification of art activity. And since this recognition has not been given to black artists, even when some of them have been on the forefront of new developments in contemporary visual arts, they have remained, along with their contributions, invisible.’ - Rasheed Araeen: National Conference On Art and Design through Education – 1981



‘ I nterv iew

w ith A is ha R ichard s ( F o u nd er and Directo r o f Shad es o f N o ir) ’ R ahu l P atel, Staff

RP: You have contributed to the excellent new book ‘Inside the Ivory Tower: Narratives of women of colour surviving and thriving in British academia’ (2017) - what do you think this book will achieve? AR: I think the book is a powerful illustration as to the common experiences of women of colour across the sector and clearly illustrates sisterhood between the women contributors. It is a supportive book to students and staff, that gives power to experience, which Dr Gabriel, founder of Black British Academics, wanted when she created this project. RP: Shades of Noirs’ ‘Teaching Within’ (TW) is a success and getting more staff of colour into the University. What do you think it has achieved for the UAL? AR: It has removed some barriers and extended the Group of Ethnic Minority Staff community while celebrating the expertise of the individual. This means an increase in the visual presence of academic creatives of colour, which is a political act. TW is a magnifying glass on practices that have been taking place for academics of colour across the sector, as detailed in 'Inside the Ivory Tower'. This is not an arts issue but a sector wide issue, of academics of colour being treated poorly. TW has opened a clear dialogue in order to consider accountability and behavioural practices which are inappropriate. UAL is illustrating, not just through TW but beyond, that it values these individuals taking part, especially given that over 75% pf participants have secured teaching hours beyond the TW programme. RP: What factors are deficient in Arts HE for students and staff of colour? AR: We believe that we are liberal open minded, activists and practitioners of specialisms, with inclusive pedagogy being something we do already, and this is the biggest issue. Students are saying we don’t, and the attainment and progression data for both staff and students of colour continue to suggest prejudice and privilege is at play. RP: What should be done about this? AR: The PgCert Inclusive Practice Unit should be compulsory. Every student facing member of staff should have to do this unit as a gateway to understanding the students’ expectations, the power of cultural value and understanding of socio-political landscape of education. It was the National Union of Students that campaigned to liberate our curriculum in 2011. UAL Students that organised an award-winning campaign, UAL So White, in 2015. Institutions across the UK acknowledge that this is not new and that there are things that work. People’s lives are affected and sociological, cultural, behavioural and ideological changes are needed. Institutions need to acknowledge the required investment in their staff. Discussions have to take place when students or staff do not sign up to the University's aims to decolonise, liberate and achieve equity through a social justice model. RP: And what is missing from the curriculum in light of your experience? AR: Changes have to be made not just for students of colour, but for everybody. The whole sector benefits from an approach that values difference, global communities and histories. The above is an excerpt from a longer interview. For more information contact


‘HOW FAR WE HAVE COME’ Melodie Holliday, Editor and Curriculum Developer, Shades of Noir Shades of Noir is an organisation which builds community, and creates powerful events and resources which can be used in the educational environment. The resources are accessible to all and support important discussions around social justice and cultural democracy in arts education. Additionally, Shades of Noir supports recruitment of PoC (people of colour). What this means in practice is that within UAL there is increased representation of PoC at key events and teaching on some courses. This not only creates an environment which is reflective of the student population it seeks to serve, but also means that those new recruits have some involvement in creating strategies to diversify curricula through their specialist knowledge and lived experience. 27



‘CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?’ Kelly Walters, Staff Can I Touch Your Hair? explores the relationship between black women, their hair and the beauty salon. By pairing 30 found images from Black Sophisticates Hair Styles and Care Guide Magazine with an eclectic assortment of audio sounds, this interactive iPad app sheds light on the various supplies and tools needed to achieve certain black hairstyles. In the original photographs, each woman poses in profile or with a 45° tilt of their head on a brightly colored background. Their posture suggests a hyper idealized beauty standard, reinforced with flawless skin and perfectly pinned strands of hair. I cropped these images to just under their eyes, in order to emphasize the complexity of hair textures (natural, straight, weave, loose, curly or kinky) and the intensity of the black female gaze. The app elicits a sense of curiosity and playfulness from its users in order to model the encounter of someone unfamiliar with black hair care. Upon a single touch of an image, a video is cued and synced to the appearance of image and text fragments as they transition into the scene. Among the text fragments are names of popular black hair products (B&B, Ampro Pro Styl) and the naming system for purchasable packets of hair (1B/Yaki). The last element to transition into the video are the durations of time black women can spend in the salon. By indicating the time in green, the user is also exposed to another layer of information that is sometimes unclear outside of black culture. While some videos are accompanied by music heard in the salon, others are matched with the sound of rain as a metaphor for washing hair or the sound of a frying pan to that of hot comb pulling through the hair.


All images created by Kelly Walters

‘WALL OF WORDS’ Jonathan Randall, Staff The issues facing International students when arriving at UAL


‘DECOLONISING CURRICULUM’ Hiroki Yamamoto, Student

Photograph by Kakeru Okada

positions: asia critique (journal) The renowned academic journal positions: asia critique, published by Duke University Press, has developed a critical approach to scholarship of Asia Studies since its birth in 1993. A wide range of stimulating articles, which cover such fields as philosophy, history, sociology, political science and visual art, scrutinise significant issues and offer pressing questions in the social, political geo-historical and postcolonial contexts of Asia. A special issue focusing ‘socially engaged art in East Asia’, to which I also contributed an essay on Japanese socially engaged art in the settings of postcolonial Japan, will come out in 2018. Wansei Back Home (film, 2015) The word ‘wansei’ refers to the Japanese people who were born in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule and repatriated to Japan after the Second World War. In this regard, ‘wansei’ people are a sort of postcolonial diaspora in post-war East Asia. It is argued that there were about 200,000 ‘wansei’ Japanese. Based on the autobiography written by an elderly ‘wansei’ woman, Wansei Back Home was directed by Taiwanese filmmaker Huang Ming-cheng in 2015. This documentary film tried to excavate the barely known memory in Taiwan’s modern history. Yuko Kikuchi, ed., Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007. As a design historian intensively working on the East Asia region, Yuko Kikuchi explores the intricately entangled interrelationship among Western imperialism, Japanese colonialism, and the colonised territories in East Asia, such as Taiwan and Korea, by using her concept ‘refracted modernity’. Focusing on Taiwan, Kikuchi and other contributors of her edited volume Refracted Modernity analyses how colonial practices of Japan, which itself was the very projection of Euro-American imperial powers, have mediated the formation of the modern East Asian culture, including painting, craft, architecture, and material culture. Kuan-Hsing Chen, Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010. 32

Kuan-Hsing Chen, a leading cultural studies scholar in Asia, considers, in his Asia as Method, how to construct a transnational network among Asian states and regions in order to push ‘deimperialization’ (for him, this term is broader than ‘decolonisation’) forward. It is significant that he insists that ‘decolonization, deimperialization, and de-cold war have to proceed in concert’ in East Asia. Melissa L. Wender, ed., Into the Light: An Anthology of Literature by Koreans in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2011. The term ‘zainichi’ in Korean means ‘Koreans living in Japan as long-term foreign residents’, and the majority of them can trace their roots to Korea under Japanese colonial rule. When WWII ended, there were more than two million Koreans residing in Japan, and it is argued that some 600,000 decided to remain in Japan. Edited by Melissa L. Wender, ‘Into the Light’ is one of the very few publications available in English, including novels written by ‘zainichi’ Koreans from the early 1930s to the late 1990s. Hiroki Yamamoto, ‘Art as Decolonisation: “Zainichi” Korean Art since 2000’, paper presented at the International Symposium ‘Transnational Cities: Tokyo and London’, Tate Britain, London, UK, 2017.

Disha Deshpande, Student

This presentation surveyed the works produced by contemporary ‘zainichi’ Korean artists in conjunction with rapidly changing situations of Japanese society concerning ethnic minorities. It focused on the period of the ‘post-2000s’ because two events that happened in 2002 (FIFA World Cup co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, and the first Japan-North Korea summit) had crucial impact on the relationship between Japan and Korea. In this talk, I considered how young Korean artists in Japan have addressed the issue of identity and belonging in singular and diverse ways. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


‘DATA RIDDIMS’ Mikael Calandra Achode, Student/Staff Documenting the rise of African post-internet music scenes Young Gifted and Black! What do these three words mean in Sub Saharan Africa nowadays? My pursuit as a practitioner is the challenge of the aesthetic discourse and visual semantics that are often put in place while observing youth cultures generated in the African diaspora. Driven by my interest in curation and culture studies I've recently created a visual collective, Crudo Volta, which documents the development of post-internet musical scenes of the African diaspora through documentaries, publications and other graphic mediums. Crudo Volta's idea is to use the languages of visual communication and sound culture to narrate, document and participate actively in the development of urban music and dance culture which can trace their roots to contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. The first visual format devised by Crudo Volta is the Taxi. A documentary format where the collective investigate a musical scene through the expedient of a taxi ride.


Woza Taxi Our first taxi, Woza Taxi, was a collaboration with record label Gqom Oh! which focuses on releasing dance music from Durban. Woza Taxi aimed to give a human dimension to the label's artists, which is made difficult by the obvious geographical distances and also by the limits of a medium like the Internet which reduces drastically the significance of a determining factor like the "music scene" when we consume music in a global landscape. The project tries to contextualize the authenticity of the sound while capturing the energy surrounding Durban and its vivid townships. Yenkyi Taxi As hinted in Woza Taxi, African urban music is increasingly influencing the fabric of, European club culture. Our upcoming documentary, Yenkyi Taxi, documents how that influence comes into play, once it reaches the creative process of an artist who is both European and African. The project, at crossroads between back to roots and coming of age narratives, follows and captures the trip of Hagan, a music producer from London of Ghanaian origin in search of creative authenticity in a context of multiple identities. Yenkyi Taxi is an inspirational documentary that uses the narrator’s perspective aiming to encourage more artists to reconnect with their roots. Photographs by Crudo Volta & Tommaso Cassinis


‘BRIDE AND PREJUDICE’ Disha Deshpande, Student As the Briefest Introduction to Internalised Colonialism Bride and Prejudice (2004) could easily be a 'Eat-Pray-Love'-esque story (minus the consumption of foreign cultures) of one-woman's battle against racism within and without her South-Asian community. Mr Darcy (Martin Henderson) is less romantic-interest, more one-dimensional sponge made to incur and then soak up every drop of sarcastic savagery levelled at him by Lalita Bakshi/Elizabeth Bennet (Aishwarya Rai). Lalita doles out patriotic pride born of postcolonial cool, up heaves the notion of the "simple", "traditional", "subservient" Indian woman with her 'killing' remarks on Darcy's white-saviour complex, Kiran's 'coconut' views of the motherland, the hypocrisy of judgement towards arranged marriage customs, and the internalised racism of green-card holding expat Indians. Like Mr Kohli in his Nike LunarGlides during Garba, and Ashanti's 'item-number' appearance in My Lips are Waiting - Bride and Prejudice, plays on tropes familiar to the South-Asian community and its diaspora. We all know of the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Kohli-type who returns to India with a new American vocabulary and no understanding of its implementation, a source of humour while simultaneously relaying a betrayal towards the internalised racism so many subscribe to: 'This is my dream home. Colonial style.', 'Ah, these Indians, they don't know how to treat tourists.- There's no sophistication.', 'Ah ... ba da bing, ba da boom.'. Kiran-coconut-Bingley and her haughty attitude are not simply because she is based on Caroline Bingley, a main antagonist in Jane Austen's original, but because she is the condescending returnee turning her nose up at customs she sees as backwards as she has 'progressed' into the West- yet she is still laden with the insecurities and colonial burden delivered to her by her heritage- 'I don't want to get Delhi belly on my first day.'. 'I don't want to get too dark.' However, these are surface-level interpretations of the diasporic existence. The nuance of these characters and their access to the discrimination and rebuttal of this discrimination is handled with a naivete which seems to be caused by the sheer vastness of paradox and subtlety delivered to the community at large. It seems as though filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, of Bend It Like Beckham fame, simply didn't have the accessibility nor the time to extrapolate and shade all the degrees of internal and external racism and classism- understandably so. The acting is loud, the songs are brilliantly kitsch, and the set changes from tourist location to tourist location at break-neck speed. The whole film is diabolical in its sheer naffness which is what makes it so true to form and garishly direct in its delivery. A saccharine yet obtuse recollection by a British-Asian film-director- while it is an outdated view of the paradigm within the diasporic community- one may argue that for its time it was progressive and for the present it is a hilarious reminder of how far we've come in determining and addressing the coexisting and contradictory aspects of our South-Asian existence. It's no 'Clueless' to Jane Austen's 'Emma', but it is a start away from Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' and the orthodoxy of the singular 'Englishness’. 36

'I DON'T SEE COLOUR...' Shannon Bono, Student The center of this piece is made up off two black female bodies, without their brown complexion and without their heads. The significance of not using these two attributes relates to the ideals of western society relating back to the colonising of African nations: the awe of the black female bodies and our talents but not the actual black female. This piece is also a response to the term 'I don't see colour', which in my opinion is bogus. The freedom of the colourful inks surrounding the bodies is a message contradicting the term yet amplifying it at the same time; it's a statement saying that we need to see colour, all colours to be equals in society because representation matters.


i traveled across the ocean only to be told my mother tongue is a problem and to have the language of a world that broke mine enforced upon me - the migrant who left his heart at home for wages in a foreign land

(if only we lived in a world where my syllables did not offend yours)

Hansika Jethnani, Student/Staff



Viewpoints is an experimental space on Academic Support Online reflecting our commitment to the plurality of approaches fundamental to a 21st century higher education in a global context – no less. It’s further to the site’s many resources on learning awareness, reading, research, writing, collaboration, presentation, language, numeracy, and more, that can be viewed, listened to, read, or otherwise browsed and downloaded. None of these takes a didactic tone or claims ‘rightness’: the site is about perpetually evolving, multiple perspectives and contestations on learning, study and personal development in creative and cultural practices. The Viewpoints multi-media platform invites you to demonstrate or speak out about learning experiences, to share knowledges, challenges or provocations, to highlight potentially helpful or inspirational insights. It contains, for example, a section called Reading Stories, which comprises audio interviews, currently with staff, whose struggles, dilemmas and breakthrough moments in developing their own academic and creative expertise are commonly invisible to students, but none the less informative and perhaps reassuring. What we have or have not read (or viewed or heard) and what we have drawn from our ‘readings’ – as processes and/or contents – forms and positions us. Our experiences, our stories, construct our learning and therefore our teaching approaches, and inform our values, ultimately shaping what we do as ‘responsible’ agents influencing and designing the ongoing educational environment and its curricula. Reflective practice is essential throughout the whole community, to turn experience into learning. Without some serious reflection, new knowledges (which require the realisation of ignorances) are not going to prevail. So I reflected on my own ‘reading story’ in relation to the question of decolonisation and uncovered a path I’d not traced back before. I identified a number of milestones, for better or worse, my examples ranging from childhood tales (Little Black Sambo and Little White Squibba, Helen Bannerman 1956/66) to modern classics (Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys 1966), exhibition catalogues (From Two Worlds, Whitechapel 1986), cultural histories (History of the World in 100 Objects, Neil MacGregor 2010) and poetry galore… Almost everything, exploratory, satirical, critical, corrective as it may have been, turned out to be written by a white person. Shocking, irresponsible, shaming – this ‘disorienting dilemma’ (as Mezirow describes step one in the process of transformative learning) reminded me of another stunning moment. It was caused by a book shown and interpreted, rather than read. At a Shades of Noir debate that I helped convene at CSM back in 2011, our guest speaker, the artist Kimathi Donkor, handed attendees a massive volume - some History of World Art - without explanation, to pass around. After a while he simply pointed to the contradiction between the title and the astonishingly small percentage of non-western work within the book. Performatively and semiotically, this book told us loud and clear why we must decolonise the curriculum. Mezirow, Jack (1991) Transformative Dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 168–169 38

‘ADD YOUR REFERENCES’ Gustavo Grandal Montero, Staff

Photo: Gustavo Grandal Montero Libraries have traditionally played a key role in collecting knowledge and making it more accessible. They still do, now alongside a range of online digital resources. I recently attended an Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, held in a library, and spent a most enjoyable couple of hours fighting the interlocking matrix of oppression by adding bibliographic references and other information to several Wikipedia articles for female black artists, primarily using the fabulous bibliography ‘Recordings’, from the library collection. Keen, M. and Ward, E. (1996) Recordings: a select bibliography of contemporary African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian British art. London: Institute of International Visual Arts and Chelsea College of Art and Design 39

‘THE FEELING OF DECOLONISATION:�ILLEGIBLE LAYER’ Esmeralda Muñoz-Torrero, Staff Irene Martin Zubieta, Staff Oihana Martin Zubieta, Student

© Oihana Martin Zubieta & Esmeralda Munoz-Torrero

Our approach expresses the feeling that somebody experiences when entering the environment of British higher education. A clash between their natural background and that of an educational institution. This becomes a dispute of the different ethics, those imposed by birth and the culturally adopted.� We dive into predetermined circumstances by birth. Then, as adults, we adopt and adapt to new established environments in which we try to fit. However, during this transition, the opacity of predetermined innate ethics does not allow this merge to happen fluidly. It is when an�illegible layer�appears obstructing the development towards a total integration. Replacing old habits with new ones will lead to a state of confusion where wellbeing is compromised. Decolonisation will be to merge the old and new layers and allow a safe space for developing new perspectives. 40

the British colonised India the Dutch colonised Indonesia the French colonised Senegal the Americans colonised the Philippines like that - for every country, i could name you another your ancestors crossed the seas left an imprint on every seed breaking borders in the name of greed how can you not expect mine to leave? your movements resulted in mine but yours was always easy swift and strong mine was filthy 'illegal' and restless nonetheless these movements (every inch of them); have shaped you and me

we cannot deny that our existence is based on footsteps of refuge the veins on my wrist – they are the same as yours they carry every trickle of our story all the history of humanity our witnesses our strings our resistance a reminder that we are all immigrants human

Hansika Jethnani, Student/Staff

they are the wrinkles on your grandparents skin and the color in your eyes


‘CONFESSIONS OF A COLONIAL LECTURER’ Lucy Panesar, Staff I taught Contextual Studies on Foundation for over 10 years, and whilst it was my personal goal to instil in students a sense of social and environmental responsibility, in hindsight I could have done so much more if I had known then what I know now… When I first started the job, I consulted the awarding body’s handbook on what content to cover, and saw that I was to begin with early Modernism and the Great Exhibition of 1851. I got on with the task, looking to Gombrich and the V&A website for reference, and soon developed a fascination with the Victorian era and the British Empire. I enjoyed telling students the story of Paxton’s Crystal Palace, the showcase for Queen Vic’s imperial treasures, and I showed examples of design from that time illustrating her power as Empress, like the wallpaper pictured here. Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Wallpaper, 1887 © Victoria I would point to the inset and Albert Museum, London illustrations of ‘natives’ in loincloths, fighting amongst themselves in the colonial settings. I described this and while I was curious to know more and explain more I didn’t, as I’d need to quickly move onto the next example of European modernism: Pablo Picasso and the inspiration he gained from African masks. Not long before leaving that role, I had started a Masters in Education, investigating racial inequalities, learning more about decolonisation and becoming increasingly conscious of the implications of what I was including and excluding in my lectures, recognising the power of a single image in perpetuating an ideal of racial superiority and inferiority. A covering for a wall with a repeated print of dark, naked ‘natives’ surrounding their colonial mother / saviour / oppressor (delete according to your view). On reading Afua Hirsch’s book Brit(ish) I learn that a great British people are, to this day, proud of Britain’s colonial never felt such pride. As a descendent of Punjabi Sikhs, who and then the UK as a result of British Imperial rule, I find 42

majority of history. I have migrated to Kenya the wallpaper now


even more disturbing. Later in her book, Hirsh expresses something of what I feel when she writes: ‘One reason is that I didn’t know what Britain was. I didn’t know its true past, I was totally unaware of its secrets. And when it comes to race, Britain definitely has secrets. They lurk in the language, and the brickwork and the patterns of society, so that, for those who are silent or desperate enough to listen and search, clues gradually begin to reveal themselves. Some of these secrets relate to the days, turned years, turned centuries, in which British people mingled their destinies with the people and products of India, China, South East Asia and the Middle East for instance. Others would explain, if only we could hear them, why Britain and Africa are so closely linked. A link that was directly responsible for my existence’ (2018, p.37). I reflect on the mingling of my Indian and British parents, brought together by our Victorian Empress and what more I could have said in those lectures back then…



‘CSM ZINE LIBRARY’ Vivienne Eades, Staff Responding to demand from CSM students for zines to support their learning and making at the college, the CSM Zine Library is an ongoing project supporting visibility, inclusiveness and ‘unlicensed’ knowledges within our library. Because of the nature of zines, as independently produced publications, we focus on authorship or knowledges which may be underrepresented in academic or commercial publishing. Marginalised voices, people of colour, LGBTQI+, class, gender, sexuality, feminism, intersectionality, disability, local community actions, fat activism, mental health and self-care, subcultures, protest, squatting, anti-capitalist living and London are just some of the very important areas we identified together with course librarians. Our main objective is to address the gaps in the collections; to uphold diversity and inclusivity through visibility of under-represented voices. Whilst we cannot tackle the capitalist publishing behemoth single handed, we can try and capture and include in our collection the amazing content being produced by individuals and communities of people in zine form. We aim to support creativity and making here at CSM. We have many perzines and activist zines, often made with a specific audience in mind, and we also hope to contribute to inclusivity and wellbeing through these.

L-R back: Born n Bread (2017) Born n Bread. Issue #3. African Tales. London, England. Alex Creep (2016) Nancy: a queer zine #2. UK. Soofiya (2015) Bloody Hell : a zine about menstruation. Issue #1. UK. Front: Jacob V. Joyce, Krishna Istha & Travis Alabanza (2014) Fear Brown Queers. London, England. Image taken by Vivienne Eades.


Because academic publishing is a relatively slow process there are many contemporary topics which take academia a while to catch up to. So for instance when searching for resources on gentrification, fat activism or trans and non-binary people of colour, looking at zines on those topics may give you more contemporary perspectives on issues. In many cases more genuine perspectives: publications about trans people of colour, written by and for trans people of colour. The zines can be used in connection with the academic theory that you can find in the library, and we hope where necessary to critique and question it. Initial purchases were made at DIY Cultures 2017 and it was exciting to meet authors and discuss their work. We recorded their own subject tags, defining their content in their own vocabulary rather than that of academic libraries. Asking for permission for the zines to be included in our Library, the response was overwhelming; zine makers were genuinely pleased to contribute.

Back: Jacob V. Joyce (2017) The alphabetical anthology of white liberal proverbs. UK. L-R front: Thiiird (2017) Thiiird. Issue #1, Community. Spring / Summer 2017. London, England. Soofiya (2016) Auntie Fatima : the anti-fascist Aunt. UK. Jacob v. Joyce (2017) QTIPOC Assemble! : radical imaginations of queer, trans & intersex people of colour. Volume one. Image taken by Vivienne Eades.

Zines from the collection are findable on the library catalogue by searching ‘zines’ and filtering to ‘Central Saint Martins’. You need to ask at the information desk to view the zines, so note down the titles and authors you’re interested in. It’s been great to start receiving links and zine names from students. We are indeed a fledgling collection, just getting established, but we look forward to promoting the collection more widely in the next academic year, both for collection building and teaching. We’d really like to hear your suggestions! Any purchase suggestions or questions about the collection please contact Vivienne Eades or Jessa Mockridge 45

Jhinuk Sarkar, Staff I thought it was important to show two works from my MA at CSM. These address ‘The Mother Tongue’ which relates to the influences in a later illustration I wanted to include in this platform. ‘The Good Egg’ attempts to address all elements of our interactions that may indicate where we are on the scale of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In terms of decolonising the curriculum, this image resonated because, personally, my upbringing of two strong cultures (British and Hindu-Bengali) has influenced my opposing and inner frustrations about what it is to be a ‘good’ person. I created this illustration after travelling through countries, learning about local cultures and being a ‘good' citizen. From my travels, and native to New Zealand, the Kiwi bird is featured. Now endangered, they represent dying cultures as a cause of ideals forced upon us. The central, Good Egg, is unhatched, unknown and ‘perfect’.





‘NOT ABOUT THE ARCHIVE, BUT OF IT…’ Jessica Crilly, Staff

A new Reading Group was launched this year, based on the African-Caribbean Asian and African Art in Britain Archive, with 5 sessions planned for 2017/18. The Archive has always been well used for research, and in exhibitions, but the idea of the Reading Group was to add another dimension to this - to further open the archive and share its contents and meanings in this very particular way, through reading and discussion. The Group is led by Rahul Patel, and supported by Gustavo Grandal Montero, the archive curator, and the readings between them represent critical arguments, important exhibitions, publications and other interventions in Black British art in the 1980s. At the time of writing, we are three meetings into this year’s programme, so can perhaps pause for reflection, and articulate why I think it’s so important... The readings are all taken from within the Archive, so are not about the Archive, but of it. The content is primary material and ephemera, so for example a 2 page typed exhibition catalogue, or a letter, an invitation, a poster or a review cut out of a newspaper and this gives a sense of a direct connection with the past; reading these documents is very different from reading an article or book chapter about those events. The discussions in the reading group events have ranged over many subjects including... ...the nature of documentation, especially primary documentation and its significance to the representation of potentially marginalised groups; the experience of students of colour in art education generally and in our university; what has changed since the 1980s and what hasn’t; the contemporary resonances that link the present to the past; the historical and political contexts of the documents; and the ongoing careers of the artists whose early exhibitions and words are found in the archive... 47

‘FASHIONISTAN - CHANGING PERCEPTIONS THROUGH FASHION’ Zarar (Zac) Chaudhri, Staff My contribution is a Magazine I have created called Fashionistan. I wanted to use fashion as a means to effectively portray Middle Eastern and Asian men (including Muslims and all other religions) in a more positive light. Men from this region have constantly been branded with negative labels: terrorist, rapist, chauvinist, fundamentalist, ignorant, illiterate, poor, dirty, to name a few. Being a British Asian myself, I know the reality is very different from popular misconception. And then it hit me, a eureka moment. My team and I would photoshoot regular guys from the East wearing well known and internationally recognised, sustainable fashion brands. We could try to change an incorrect perception using fashion. Therefore, I wanted to showcase these men by creating a distinctive photographic collection of simple images with depth and soul.

© Zac Chaudhri (Fashionistan Project)


© Zac Chaudhri (Fashionistan Project)

Religion preaches peace and tolerance. I live in a place where Muslims, Jews, Christians and many other religions lived together happily. It is because we do not dwell on our differences, but instead concentrate on our similarities. Faith and humanity are one, you cannot be true to religion without humanity.

Art is embedded in my culture, our people were famous for Architecture Poetry, Calligraphy, Miniatures and many innovative art forms. It's sometimes hard to distinguish where art finishes and I begin.

This project focuses on the fact that humans, themselves, are fascinating. Yet, men in countries like Pakistan, India and Turkey are constantly stigmatised by reports of instability, terrorism, corruption or poor human rights. Countries like Dubai are perceived as one big, gold-plated theme park filled with Arab billionaires and playboys. I wanted to see a change in that opinion. Not a drastic change – not one that would presume to start a revolution but one that would in a tiny way kick-start a new perspective. Also, there as a reason why we used men only: menswear has always interested me, and it seems that Eastern men seem to get much worse exposure than women. The experience of visiting these countries and photographing these men that the world has labelled negatively was incredible. They started as strangers and ended as friends. Something that started as an idea during research developed into an enriching experience. It proved to my team and I that doing something different and creating something new is worth the risk, because each page and image has a heart-warming story. So, you don’t get to Fashionistan by plane or car; it’s a place within us all. A place of understanding and respect where we discover people who are different from us and appreciate them as humans. A place of diversity and acceptance where stereo types do not exist. Here we see the goodness in people we previously did not understand. Welcome to Fashionstan: A place where the only labels are on the clothes. 49

‘‘I am not sad that black Americans are rebelling; this was not only inevitable but eminently desirable. Without this magnificent ferment among Negroes, the old evasions and procrastinations would have continued indefinitely. Black men have slammed the door shut on a past of deadening passivity. Except for the Reconstruction years, they have never in their long history on American soil struggled with such creativity and courage for their freedom. These are our bright years of emergence; though they are painful ones, they cannot be avoided. . . In these trying circumstances, the black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws—racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing the evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced. . . . Todays dissenters tell the complacent majority that the time has come when further evasion of social responsibility in a turbulent world will court disaster and death. America has not yet changed because so many think it need not change, but this is the illusion of the damned. America must change because twenty-three million black citizens will no longer live supinely in a wretched past. They have left the valley of despair; they have found strength in struggle. Joined by white allies, they will shake the prison walls until they fall America must change. —Martin Luther King Jr., “A Testament of Hope,” 1969 Martin Luther King Jr. wrote these words in the weeks before his assassination, …It is almost never useful to compare eras; it is even less useful to look at the past and say nothing has changed. But in King’s words are painful continuities between the present and the past that remind us that, in some cases, the past is not yet past. Over the course of ten months, spanning from the summer and fall of 2014 into the winter and spring of 2015, the United States was rocked by mass protests, led by African Americans in response to the police murder of a young Black man, Michael Brown. In the summer heat of August, the people of Ferguson, Missouri, rose up and brought the world’s attention to the crisis of racist policing practices in the United States. Eight months later, some forty miles from the nation’s capital, the city of Baltimore exploded in fury at the police killing of young Freddie Gray.’ - Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation - 2016


‘ A B O U T C O L L E C T I V E C R E A T I V I T Y : A Q T I P O C ( Q U E E R , T R A N S* I N T E R SE X P E O P L E O F C O L O U R ) A R T I ST C O L L E C T I V E ’ R aj u Sing h, Staff Collective Creativity aims to create a radical, grass roots space for queer artists of colour to interrogate the politics of art, in relation to queer identity, institutional racism, and anti-colonialism. It started its journey researching Britain’s history of radical political Black art, as so many of us found it had been missing in our own art educations. How do we decolonise our art educations? Unlearn the histories that replicate the colonial gaze, with creative production being saturated with white names and male forces? In the exhibition curated by Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions, on view at Nottingham Contemporary in 2015, there is a Melvin Edwards piece named Art Education. The twisted writhing metal, heavy like an anchor, sharp and blunt at the same time, speaks volumes. Often the most cited British Black art is by men: Yinka Shonibare, Chris Ofili, Steve McQueen, John Akomfrah, all very extremely talented artists, many of them household names. The few women who are mentioned in the main history books, for example Sonia Boyce, are obviously not representative of the entire picture, of the wealth and breadth of Black British art and feminism, and the Black Arts movement. The erasure of Black women and queer people of colour’s art in history is systemic and normative in varying fields, but there is something particular that, as a discipline of the elite, as a playground for investors, the art world feels very much like the White Male Institution. Perhaps we can create new histories, out of material that was always there, our own canon of ideas that are not solely centred on Western thought. Collective Creativity longed to un-archive the history of British artists of colour and had started with looking at writings from namely Stuart Hall and Rasheed Araeen. We began to further excavate this legacy, through finding resources, entering archival spaces, and embarking upon researching queer, feminist and post colonial histories. We drew from The African-Caribbean, Asian & African Art in Britain archives at Chelsea College of Art; the Making Histories Visible archive at University of Lancashire – Professor Lubaina Himid’s own collection; and the specifically Black Queer materials archive Ruckus! created by artist Ajamu and kept at the London Metropolitan archives. So, upon discovering artists like Maud Sulter, Claudette Johnson, Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce, Lubaina Himid, Zarina Bhimji, Chila Kumari Burman, Ingrid Pollard, Poluoumi Desai we realised that these are still only the ones that made it into books (and if you look you will find them you will find them)...but there are many more. Understanding and critiquing the Black arts movement and the hidden or nuanced queer threads within it, has allowed us to flourish in this knowledge of previous history as British artists and QTIPOC activists, to heal and grow. Collective Creativity *text written by Raisa Kabir on behalf of Collective Creativity 2016 ** Collective Creativity are Evan Ifekoya, Raisa Kabir, Rudy Loewe and Raju Rage


screenshot from ‘UAL SO WHITE.’ twitter account, March 2016


31 years ago Letter from Lubaina Himid (Turner Prize winner 2017) to the organisers of Devils Feast Exhibition, the first black artists only exhibition at Chelsea College of Arts, April 1987 6 Vine Yard, S.E 1 Dear Steve, I am afraid I won’t be able to put any work into your exhibition at Chelsea. I would however like to know where the names of these artists came from i.e. why these and not others suddenly. It all seems very strange, do any of these artists teach at Chelsea is there any possibility of this? If so please let me know – This is how we Black artists need help! Best wishes. 52

'Black Lives Matter – context, conversation and visibility’ Rahul Patel, Staff I was asked by my course leaders to set up a series of eight workshops/reading groups for students on BA/MA Culture, Criticism and Curation programme. I chose Black Lives Matter, as my experience and encounters at UAL, both as a student and now as a Lecturer, was an absence of context and history in particular around racism, imperialism, colonialism and institutional racism. The reading group frames an urgent, supportive as well as critical dialogue and research on the Black Lives Matter movements in both the USA and the UK. Using informative and accessible theoretical and journalistic texts as well as audio (dialogue and music) and video clips. I decided on the following materials: FROM BLACKLIVESMATTER TO BLACK LIBERATION, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, 2016, Haymarket Books The Black Jacobins, Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, C. L. R. James, First Published 1938, Penguin 2001 The Black Jacobins Reader, Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsburg, (Ed) 2016. The Black Jacobins, Education, Redemption, Russell Maroon Shoatz Ear Hustle,, stories of life inside prison produced by those living it, Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist and Earlonne Woods, currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with fellow inmate Antwan Williams. Actual Innocence,, a podcast that tells the story of people who served time for crimes they did not commit and how the criminal justice system failed them. Detroit 67, The Year That Changed Soul, Stuart Cosgrove, 2015, Clayton Media and Publishing, Chapter - July Riot I Am Not Your Negro. James Baldwin, Edited by Raoul Peck, 2017. Penguin Press. The Dick Cavett Show, 1968 Devils Feast Exhibition, 1987. The art college exhibition by the second generation of young Black British artists in the 1980s. An exploration into the African-Caribbean, Asian & African Art in Britain Archive, Chelsea College of Arts Library, UAL Grenfell Tower, June, 2017: a poem by Ben Okri, Financial Times, 23rd June 2017 The Racial Bias in our Justice system is creating a social time bomb, David Lammy, the Guardian, 8th September 2017 W.E.B. DuBois on Robert E. Lee, The Crisis, March 1928, v.35, n.3 [found in the "Postscript" section] – Civil War Memory, the online Home of Kevin. M. Levin The migrant’s journey, in photographs: ‘We had to escape’. Andrew McConnell joined a Médecins Sans Frontières rescue boat to photograph those making the perilous journey to Europe. Nov 4/5, 2017


Lubaina Himid: Warp and Weft, An Opera of the World (2017), Manthia Diawara, Digital video, color, sound, 70:22 min. Co- produced by Maumaus / Lumiar CitĂŠ (Portugal, USA, BALi-Kinos, Kassel HMP Brixton Library, Induction leaflet Black History Month, a celebration of history, arts, literature and film, A guide to events in Lambeth, Autumn 2017. A matter of heart, Francis Kere, the designer of this year's Serpentine pavilion, talks to Edwin Heathcote about his work in Africa and beyond, FT Weekend, 17 June/18 June 2017, page 14, Below the Water: Black Lives Matter and Revolutionary Time, Nicholas Mirzoeff, e-flux Journal #79


Samboleap Tol & Sandra Poulson. Work N°12: We played Guess Who with only BME celebrities in a suit during Open Studios, 2018. Action.Photo documentation. All photographs taken by Salves van der Gronde.



b o leap T o l, Stu d ent

I have been thinking, what is it that I am trying to shape and form? I actually dislike groups, associations and parties. They make responsibility abstract and actions become a job description. I hate groups because they exclude, and I am always the weird one, and I dislike hierarchy because they take away self initiative and individuality. So perhaps the network I am envisioning is somewhat of a family tree ‘for a day’. I can’t choose my elders, they were there before me. I care about my own existence but also of the next, they are my cousins. The idea of a family is that I cannot opt out - whatever damage I do to us (our name) damages me as well. Sounds nepotistic, but I hardly have family in real life, it’s rather my fantasy. Sometimes siblings argue. I would still have my own identity. Family dinners and that. I yearn for a safe network, holding hands with individuals who yearn for the same network for all kinds of reasons; to pass on whatever they have learnt, to expand opportunities, to feel a sense of security even if its abstract (‘trusting the future will be better type shit cos look at these active kids’), to tell us stories about the revolution and how it died down. The idea of everyone who has some sort of attachment or role in their own communities, has had years of effort with the same mission under their belt, coming together to eat, dance, discuss and play seems like an absolute dream, even symbolically. I want to meet you, auntie. The Age of New Babylon, Lethaby Gallery, November 2018


Dr Michael McMillan, Staff Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound systems back in da day was an installation based-exhibition that I curated in collaboration with Dubmorphology (Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison) and toured from New Art Exchange (Nottingham) to 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning (London) 2015-16. It included archive materials and oral histories of sound system pioneers, practitioners and ravers. As a ‘yout’ growing up in the 1970s, followers of roots reggae sound systems, such as Jah Shaka, Sir Coxsone and Fatman, like myself, were called ‘rockers’, whereas ‘soulheads’ went to soul and funk nightclubs, such as The Lyceum Ballroom, Gossips and lunch time sessions at Crackers, in London’s West End. Then came ‘lovers rock’ and romance returned to the dancehall. Raving required/requires meticulous preparation: finding an exclusive outfit and accessories to match. Grooming rituals, last minute visit to the barbers late appointment with the hairdressers, or enduring the hot iron comb. The outfit or choice of them laid out on the bed, bathing, moisterising the skin with cocoa butter, before dressing up and adorning with scents. For guys, it was the Gabicci suede trimmed cardigan or an Italian silk shirt, Farah slacks, Crombie coat, Kangol hat, and Bally and Pierre Cardin shoes, also for the ladies with Italian silk blouses, pleated skirts ‘dub-skirts’, Burberry or Aquascutum trench-coats, and a matching handbag to go with their shoes. We devised ingenious ways to get past the sanctions of parents about going out, such as climbing through windows when they had gone to bed. It ran the risk of being locked out when we got back home, but if the rave was good, then it was worth the punishment. Besides, you could always ask for forgiveness, when we went to church the next day. The black body is always on view on the street, and so as ravers we gave something to gaze at with our ‘promenade’ or ‘gallerying’ – guys strutting in bad bwoy and sweet bwoy style with the folded handkerchief or flannel visible from the trouser back pocket, ladies elegant and glamorous.


Who feels it knows it and stepping into a sound system dance in house or blues party or club stimulates all the senses. The bass coming from wardrobe size ‘House of Joy’ speaker boxes shakes the ground and vibrates in the chest. The air thick with the smell of weed, guys are mindful of stepping on another man’s shoes,

and the crowd is mellow in the sticky heat. A posse of young gal pose in three-quarter length fur coats, their bodies swaying in the ‘sweet spot’ in front of the speakers, bottles of Canei and spliffs elegantly poised between their fingers, in a joyful knowing with each other. On the turntable the selector drops Louisa Marks’ classic lovers rock tune Six Sixth Street. The crowd goes wild when they hear the first few chords and lyrics: If you’d only told me yourself as I heard it from someone else. I know you’re having an affair and I know who and I know where… In call and response they bawl out ‘rewind - haul and pull up selecta!’ hands raised with lit lighters. The selector replays the tune, while adjusting settings on the pre-amp to make the bass sound sweet. The mood is erotic and couples dance close with each other. A dapperly dressed guy, who had been eyeing up a woman from across the dance-floor makes his move and comes over. Most women look to be asked for a dance, So he gently taps her arm inviting them to dance together in a rubber-a-dub style. They might appear stationary to the onlooker, but they are sensually exploring every corner of each other’s body as their hips gyrate in a rhythmic conversation. The tune finishes and they let go of each other. She rejoins her girlfriends and they disappear to the toilets. The selector then drops Aswad’s Warrior Charge, and brethren adorned in red, gold and green attire, and classic Clarkes ‘earth-man’ desert boots, skank with each other in a ‘throw-down’/’dance-off’, exchanging steps, moves and gestures. The toaster/MC chants ‘Jah!’ and the crowd responds with ‘Rastafari!’.

Michael McMillan, Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems back in the day, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 2015. Photo courtesy of Bartosz Kali 2015

The West Indian Front Room, Geffrye Museum, London. 2005-06. Photo courtesy of John Neligan 2005


‘STUDIO JUM’AH @ TATE EXCHANGE’ Abbas Zahedi, Staff Abstract: STUDIO JUM’AH was a NAAN-BINARY (re)imagining of the muslim Friday prayer, as a site of contemporary art & knowledge production vis-a-vis sacred devotion. It provided the opportunity to pray and create art as part of the same act; through a collaborative process, which took its inspiration from Vilém Flusser, a philosopher of new media, and Nasreddin Hodja, the Wise Fool of muslim traditions. Participants of any background were given a chance to explore how neo-diasporic artistic practice can engage with religious ritual, so as to transform the latter into a co-authored experience. Tangible aspects of the prayer relating to structure, hierarchy and knowledge were (re)positioned in light of the gallery space. Furthermore, this intervention interrogated the idea of a studio and gallery as sanctified spaces of western modes of modernity; spaces that often function as socially-removed and exclusionary especially when it comes to diasporic bodies of flesh and praxis.


Interview Excerpts: The work encourages engagement with Muslims whilst being exhibited in a public space, what are your thoughts on Muslim culture being viewed under the ‘white gaze’? NB: It’s fair to say that muslims are seen as a primary category of Other in Europe today and maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel like a public gallery is a relevant space in which to pray. Many anxieties have been raised by the mere suggestion of this act, which is why I find it necessary to bring these feelings to the surface. In doing so I also want to challenge the use of the word ‘muslim’ as an antagonistic signifier; to quote Rasheed Araeen “Being on the periphery does not necessarily mean the condition of surrogatory and submission. Periphery must have its own dynamic, so I believe there is something I can access and activate here that goes beyond such binary notions of culture and race. Why did you specifically choose to share the experience of Jum’ah* (Friday) prayer as a part of your work? NB: I wanted to present a work that could re-imagine the idea of a contemporary art space for Central Saint Martins Studio Complex with Tate Exchange. By choosing to host a Friday prayer I am making a statement which raises a number of questions. One of which is the neo-diaspora getting the support they need from public and communal spaces to pursue their artistic practice; for example, could a mosque host artist studios? Especially when many of them are empty, except on a Friday afternoon. The other issue is thinking about how contemporary galleries and arts institutions can become more accessible to diasporic bodies of flesh and praxis. Prayer itself is a deeply personal and sacred practice, which has this communal frame of congregation in Islam; I believe that these two can come together to form the basis of a creative ritual process, which can activate latent potential in a space like the Tate; and this has the potential to generate all kinds of knowledge and learning through experiential and observational methods used by artists. With respect to establishing a congregation, there is this quality of dissolving the individual into a communal fold which I am really interested in. For many people this may be the only encounter of this kind they have on a regular or irregular basis, but it still isn’t accessible to everyone and there can be issues in the way that it’s structured in a lot of places. So by hosting it in a gallery it helps to open up the whole thing to anyone who is willing to take part. * Juma’h is not only the Arabic word for Friday, but it’s a literal reference to the act of establishing a gathering. (source:


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