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Caribbean In/Securities: Creativity and Negotiation in the Caribbean (CARISCC)

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Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity: A Review of the Exhibition Launch at Deptford Lounge, London – September 2017

The most recent staging of CARISCC’s touring display, “Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity: A Research and Art Exhibition,” took place at Deptford Lounge, Giffin Street, London, on 5-7 September 2017.

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Guests networking at the launch event and drinks reception for the exhibition “Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity” at Deptford Lounge, London. 05/09/2017. Photo: Carol Dixon.

Similarly to previous events held at the British Library’s Knowledge Centre and the Lighthouse in Glasgow (during June and August, respectively), the Deptford Lounge event was an opportunity for CARISCC’s regional contacts, representatives of partner organisations and members of the public to receive updates about the Network’s research outputs – presented via a display of documentary photographs taken by CARISCC members during research field trips undertaken in the region over the past few years – whilst also viewing a Power-Point presentation, video clips and an exhibition catalogue featuring images and artists’ biographies linked to the series of paintings, sculptures and installations submitted by participants involved in last year’s CARISCC Art Competition of 2016.

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Dr Patricia Noxolo (Lead Researcher for CARISCC, University of Birmingham) introducing the research and art exhibition themes of in/security and creativity at the 5th September launch event at Deptford Lounge, London. Photo: Carol Dixon.

At the exhibition’s launch event, held on Tuesday 5th September, Dr Patricia Noxolo (Lead Researcher for CARISCC, University of Birmingham) spoke about in/security and creativity as the central themes through which researchers and artists were continuing to discuss the everyday lived experiences of individuals and communities in the Caribbean region, as well as the various “dialogic encounters” experienced transnationally and trans-continentally as a result of migration and re-settlement, the movement of goods and services, and the ongoing circulation of ideas around the world.

In addition to discussing in/securities and the arts in relation to specific rural and urban communities in selected islands and nations, and the external spatial dynamics of precarity, Pat also spoke about issues of corporeality, personal identity, resilience and ontology (inner being and sense of self, etc.) – particularly differing perspectives on how human bodies might be read and interpreted as “texts,” capable of communicating (or, performing) different levels of in/security according to particular socio-political, economic, environmental and cultural circumstances.

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Visitors consulting the digital catalogue for the CARISCC art exhibition, “Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity,” at Deptford Lounge, London. 05/09/2017. Photo: Carol Dixon.

Continue reading “Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity: A Review of the Exhibition Launch at Deptford Lounge, London – September 2017”

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Caribbean In/Securities and Creativity: Diasporic Dialogues – A Review of the International Conference held at the British Library, 25-26 June 2017

The conference “Caribbean In/Securities and Creativity: Diasporic Dialogues” took place at the British Library (Knowledge Centre, Euston Road, London) on 25-26 June 2017. This international, interdisciplinary two-day event was jointly organised and co-facilitated by scholars from Goldsmiths Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies (CCDS), University of London (led by Professor Joan Anim-Addo and Dr Marl’ene Edwin), the CARISCC Research Network (led by Dr Patricia Noxolo, University of Birmingham), and also with the support of staff based at the British Library Eccles Centre for American Studies.

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Dr Patricia Noxolo (Lead Researcher for CARISCC, University of Birmingham) introducing contemporary visual artist Sonia Barrett and CARISCC Network member Dr Ronald Cummings (Brock University, Canada) at the British Library conference on 25 June 2017.

The Conference Programme

The conference programme included a diverse range of research papers and panel discussions, featuring contributions from Caribbean area studies specialists and Caribbean Diaspora scholars, historians, geographers, visual artists, film-makers, poets and spoken word performers, as well as cultural and political commentators interested in diasporic issues and themes related to other regions of the global south.

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Professor Joan Anim-Addo (Goldsmiths, University of London) introducing contemporary visual artist Huw Locke, who gave an illustrated talk about his installation work, titled “There and Back Again: Visual Art touching Diaspora.” (25 June 2017).

Some of the headline presentations that helped to exemplify the conference theme of “Diasporic Dialogues” included:

  • An illustrated talk by the British-Guyanese visual artist Huw Locke (titled, ‘There and Back Again: Visual Art Touching Diaspora’) – during which he discussed and presented photographs of recently produced pieces showcased at the 2017 Venice Biennale as part of the Diaspora Pavilion, as well as earlier works from his portfolio – such as “Ark” (1994) and “Wine Dark Sea” (2016).
  • A keynote lecture given by the sociologist and critical race theorist Professor Hazel Carby (Yale University) – titled, ‘Imperial Intimacies: Negotiating the Archives to Narrate the Black Subject’ – featuring extracts from her new monograph, ‘Imperial Intimacies’
  • A conceptual art presentation by Professor Raimi Gbadamosi (University of Pretoria, South Africa) who introduced and performed an event-specific and site-specific live art installation and flag project, titled “TRANSCARIBBANA” (© RGb 2017). Raimi described the concept underpinning this project as follows:

“TRANSCARIBBANA is a place of the imagination, a place of return that does not need to change in the face of history. It is a place that both exists and remains a fantasy. Like most nations, it is a place of un-chosen alignment, a place to emerge from in the process of going somewhere else.”

Raimi Gbadamosi (© RGb 2017)

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Artist, writer and curator Professor Raimi Gbadamosi (University of Pretoria, SA) performing his installation “TRANSCARIBBANA,” in conversation with Dr Patricia Noxolo. 25 June 2017.

A number of additional panel sessions facilitated over the course of the two days also featured research papers and discussions focused on: Caribbean literatures and the politics of literary memory; social policy research addressing issues of vulnerability, precariousness and resilience in the Caribbean region; historical geographies/cartographies of colonialism and post-colonialism; configurations of power and powerlessness in intercultural encounters; issues of corporeality and expressions of in/security presented through performance art; and histories and politics of Caribbean diaspora formation spanning several centuries.

Foregrounding the Visual Arts

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Exhibition view of the recently commissioned installation artwork by Sonia E. Barrett (Artist and MacDowall Fellow), displayed at the British Library, 25-26 June 2017.

The photograph, shown above, is of an art installation created by the contemporary fine artist Sonia Barrett, who completed this mixed-media sculptural work as part of a CARISCC-commissioned installation and art-historical research project, Negotiating Caribbean In/Security through Creativity.

The new artwork, as well as several other sculptures from Sonia Barrett’s wider portfolio, addresses recurring themes relating to the complexities of identity, histories of enslavement (including its legacies and connections to present-day forms of human trafficking/modern-day slavery/unfree labour, and the exploitation of migrant workers), issues of corporeality and representations of “spectacular forms of violence”. An important technique employed in the creation of this artwork involved what Sonia referred to in her conference presentation as “fantabulating” and “exploding” pieces of furniture to signify and represent the traumas and brutalities of enslavement violence meted out and inflicted on black and brown bodies during the era of transatlantic enslavement, and also beyond.

In the final set of photographs, shown below, visual and performance-based artist Lesley Asare (from the arts collective “I Shape Beauty”) is shown in the process of creating a poignant live artwork, themed around the emancipatory concept of “creating ourselves free”. Lesley’s practice is informed by the mantra of “social transformation beginning with self-transformation”. Her work is also deeply rooted in the expression of love as a political tool, closely aligned with the use of play/dance/movement as a form of self-discovery and healing.

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Visual and performance artist Lesley Asare (from the arts collective “I Shape Beauty”) creating a new artwork with charcoal during the panel discussion “Re-Creating Ourselves Free: Poetry and Performance as Acts of Emancipation, of Self and Body, for Women of Colour.” 25 June 2017.

Scholars and artists who have influenced Lesley’s artistic and conceptual practice include (among others) bell hooks, Heather Hanson and Daria Halprin. Lesley’s work was presented in partnership with the poet Indigo Williams as part of a very rich panel titled “(Re)-Creating Ourselves Free – Poetry and Performance as Acts of Emancipation, of Self and Body, for Women of Colour”. This panel – introduced and facilitated by the poet and playwright Malika Booker – also included poetry readings and a scholarly narrative titled “Reclaiming the Gaze Through the Performance of Flamenco’s Guarjira” by the poet and spoken word artist Toni Stuart.

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South African poet, performance artist and spoken word educator Toni Stuart reciting her poem “The Fan Speaks II” as part of the panel presentation, “I Come to My Body as a Question: Reclaiming the Gaze in Flamenco’s Guajira.” 25 June 2017.

Website links and sources of further information

For further details about the programme’s key contributors and panel facilitators, links to the abstracts of all the conference papers, and additional information about the wider research objectives of both the CARISCC Network and Goldsmith’s Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies (CCDS), please see the Goldsmith’s CCDS conference page at https://caribbeananddiasporic.wordpress.com, and a gallery of images from the event at  https://caribbeananddiasporic.wordpress.com/gallery2017/.

Report written by Dr Carol Ann Dixon
CARISCC Network Facilitator (Uploaded: 11 September 2017)

Contact, c/o: University of Birmingham, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES), Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, or send feedback via the Network’s Contact Us page (https://cariscc.wordpress.com/contact/).

Negotiating Caribbean In/Securities through Creativity: The CARISCC Research and Art Exhibition, 2017-2018

The CARISCC Research Network will be hosting a series of events to showcase the many creative outputs arising from the work of the Network’s members, institutional partners and other stakeholders.

Following on from the successful staging of the Network’s Research and Art Exhibition (titled, Negotiating Caribbean Insecurities through Creativity) at the British Library (London, 25-26 June 2017) and The Lighthouse (Glasgow, 14-18 August 2017), this selection of print-based and digital photographs, paintings, videos and installations will tour to the following UK venues:

  • Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RH  (5-7 September 2017)

  • Union 105/East Street Arts, Chapeltown Road, Leeds LS7 3HY (23-27 October 2017)

  • MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Queen’s Ride, Birmingham B12 9QH (5 May – 10 June 2018).

At each of these venues the focus of the exhibition will be to present a selection of politically aesthetic artworks that stimulate and encourage discussions about how Caribbean people deploy their creative energy to live with the everyday effects of poverty and inequality, while also generating globally influential creativity in political, literary, dance, aural, visual and audio-visual cultures.

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Among the featured artworks at each venue will be a recently commissioned sculptural installation by the internationally renowned contemporary visual artist Sonia E Barrett (whose work is shown in the photograph, above).

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If you would like further information about the above-mentioned exhibition dates and venues, as well as additional details about the CARISCC Research Network, please write to Dr Carol Ann Dixon (CARISCC Network Facilitator) c/o the University of Birmingham (Email: C.A.Dixon@bham.ac.uk).

 

 

 

 

CARISCC’s Kingston ‘Dancehall in/securities’ symposium, and at UWI Mona’s ‘Global Reggae Conference’

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I’ve just got back from two packed and fabulous weeks in Kingston, on behalf of the CARISCC network, co-organised by myself and ‘H’ Patten (Canterbury Christchurch University).  Two highlights: a ‘Dancehall in/securities’ symposium, and a panel at the Global Reggae Conference.

The ‘Dancehall in/securities’ symposium took place on 3rd to 4th February, in kind collaboration with Dr Sonjah Stanley-Niaah, head of the Reggae Studies Unit of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (UWI Mona).  The two-day event took place in the Old Dramatic Theatre on campus, and was catered deliciously by SCR Coffee Shop, on campus.  I want to thank all the participants for their generous and profound contributions, both as presentations and in a wide-ranging discussion.  A highlight was a lecture demonstration given by Orville Hall of Dance Expressionz, and special thanks go to Maria Smith for facilitating this.  Participants included:

Shelly ‘Xpressionz’ Callum (Dance Expressionz, Jamaica)

Carolyn Cooper (UWI Mona, Jamaica)

Orville Hall (Dance Expressionz, Jamaica)

Donna P. Hope (UWI Mona, Jamaica)

Dennis Howard (Independent Scholar, Jamaica)

MoniKa Lawrence (Independent Scholar, Jamaica)

Pat Noxolo (University of Birmingham, UK)

‘H’ Patten (Canterbury Christchurch University, UK)

Patsy Ricketts (Independent Artist, Jamaica)

Maria Smith (Independent Scholar, Jamaica)

Sonjah Stanley Niaah (UWI Mona, Jamaica)

L’Antoinette Stines (Independent artist, Jamaica)

Tia-Monique Uzor (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

Andrew Jackson (Independent artist, UK)

Plans are afoot for more collaboration, not least for an edited book.  Watch this space!

A few days later (9-11 February), ‘H’ and I presented a panel at the Global Reggae Studies Conference.  Here’s a link to a pdf of the paper I gave, which will appear in conference proceedings, noxolo-global-reggae-conference-full-paper.  Email me at p.e.p.noxolo@bham.ac.uk to send any comments or questions: it’s a work in progress. We participated in the whole of the three packed and fascinating days, and it’s left me with a lot to process.  We were privileged to be there for a closing ceremony that focused on the contribution of Professor Carolyn Cooper, as she heads towards an active retirement.

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In between the two events, we saw a number of people and sights.  It was great to catch up with Yonique Campbell, who gave a paper at our first network event in Birmingham, and she introduced me to a number of academics at the Institute for Criminal Justice and Security, who we hope will be involved with our third network event, based at UWI Mona, in January 2018.

We were also privileged to spend an afternoon at Orville Hall’s Dancehall Dream camp, watching his skilled facilitators teaching dancehall moves to enthusiastic participants from around the world, in the beautiful surroundings of Portmore.

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And just when we thought it was over, we went to Jimmy Cliff’s birthplace, and saw the great man presented with a lifelong achievement award from Irie FM!

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Thanks again to all. See you again soon I hope.

Pat Noxolo

New Article on In/ #security by Dr Patricia Noxolo

wordleDr Patricia Noxolo’s new article on in/security is now available at Geography. Titled ‘In/security: global geographies of a troubled everyday’, the paper places security as one of the most important topics of our century. As the abstract suggests,

‘This article explores two issues around security and insecurity that have been of concern to geographers: first, whether there can be any positive change in the Global South, where the poorest countries suffer the highest levels of insecurity; and second, how people manage to walk the line between security and insecurity (in/security) in their everyday lives. Ultimately, the article asks what geographers can contribute to the study of in/security.’

For the full article, please go to http://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Journals.asp?articleID=1525

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Afro-Mexican Constructions of #Diaspora, Gender, Identity and Nation

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Thank you to Dr Kevon Rhiney for bringing to our attention this new book by Paulette A. Ramsay.

The book is entitled ‘Afro-Mexican Constructions of Diaspora, Gender, Identity and Nation’ and is published by UWI.

“Paulette Ramsay’s study analyses cultural and literary material produced by Afro-Mexicans on the Costa Chica de Guerrero y Oaxaca, Mexico, to undermine and overturn claims of mestizaje or Mexican homogeneity.

The interdisciplinary research draws on several theoretical constructs: cultural studies, linguistic anthropology, masculinity studies, gender studies, feminist criticisms, and broad postcolonial and postmodernist theories, especially as they relate to issues of belonging, diaspora, cultural identity, gender, marginalization, subjectivity and nationhood. The author points to the need to bring to an end all attempts at extending the discourse, whether for political or other reasons, that there are no identifiable Afro-descendants in Mexico. The undeniable existence of distinctively black Mexicans and their contributions to Mexican multiculturalism is patently recorded in these pages.

The analyses also aid the agenda of locating Afro-Mexican literary and cultural production within a broad Caribbean aesthetics, contributing to the expansion of the Caribbean as a broader cultural and historical space which includes Central and Latin America.”

Please see book reviews through this link: http://www.uwipress.com/books/afro-mexican-constructions-diaspora-gender-identity-and-nation

 

#ArtCommission Opportunity!

Caribbean In/securities and Creativity

Deadline for submissions: 16/01/2017  |  Venue: Union 105  |  City: Leeds  |  Region: West Yorkshire  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Created by: East Street Arts .

In collaboration with the CARISCC network, East Street Arts are pleased to be able to offer this commission opportunity to produce work that responds to the research project Caribbean In/securities and Creativity.

For additional information, please go to http://www.curatorspace.com/opportunities/detail/caribbean-insecurities-and-creativity/948

#CARISCC Road Trip – #Jamaica

Archives and Militarized Histories and a Hurricane

Post written by Dr Ronald Cummings, CARISCC.

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I recently participated in a panel on “In/Securities and Caribbean Archives: Militarized Histories and Narratives” at the 35th West Indian Literature conference held in Montego Bay, Jamaica from October 6-8th.  The papers on the panel traced a long history of colonial and neo-colonial in/securities in the Caribbean and included my own work on the politics and representation of Maroon guerilla practices in relation to Plantation surveillance and colonial im/mobilities as well as the work of Dr. Imani Owens (University of Pittsburgh) who examined the literary archives of the US interventions in Haiti and Dr. Laurie R. Lambert (UC, Davis) who examined questions of revisions, unfinished conclusions and trauma in the context of writings of the Grenada revolution.

The West Indian Literature conference this year was organized around the theme of “Archiving Caribbean Literature and Popular Culture” and included a range of sessions and papers which underscored the importance of Caribbean archives and raised questions about the material conditions of archives as well as highlighted ways in which critical returns to archives might serve to challenge established narratives and reveal new lines of inquiry, submerged stories and histories in Caribbean discourse. The conference also included presentations by archivists and librarians which reflected on the need to preserve Caribbean archives as well as extended the very conceptualization of archives through attention to the challenges, limits and possibilities that institutional structures and processes, digitization, ephemerality, temporality, orality, diaspora as well as the very multiplicity of the region offered for archiving the Caribbean. Throughout the conference there was meaningful reflections on archival in/security as challenge and condition in the Caribbean context.

While several of these discussions highlighted the precariousness of archives through attention to the conditions and possibility of their survival, Laurie Lambert’s paper “An Aftermath Without End”: Archival Insecurities in Post-Revolutionary Grenada” explored the question of archival insecurities through attention to the very problem and process of writing the Grenada Revolution. Laurie turned to and extended David Scott’s critical view of Grenada as “an aftermath without end”. In her paper, she examined the literary and narrative implications of this phrase by noting constant returns and revisions across a range of texts produced at different moments in different genres by various writers including Dionne Brand and Merle Collins among others. In her paper, she focused on Derek Walcott’s unpublished essay “Good Old Heart of Darkness” as a text that emblematizes this condition of archival insecurity through its incompleteness, revisions, cross-outs, edits. In particular, Laurie highlighted the fact that the essay has remained unpublished. In reading the text she also significantly engaged with and critiqued its marked tone of ambivalence about the meaning and accomplishments of the Grenada Revolution and reflected on Walcott’s discussions of what the Revolution meant for the writer.

But if the conference facilitated this dynamic space for critical discussions of archival insecurity, the very conditions of the conference itself also foregrounded the question of the Caribbean’s relationship to insecurity. During the weeks leading up to the conference, Hurricane Matthew threatened Jamaica. This called into question the very possibility of hosting the conference. And this time, as with previous hurricanes, the condition of threat prompted the recollection and collective narration of a history of hurricanes, survival and loss. While the hurricane eventually avoided Jamaica, it notably struck Haiti leaving in its wake, a now reported death toll of over 1,000. Imani Owens asked us to bear this context of disaster in mind as part of her examination of American interventions in Haiti in her paper “Reconfiguring Revolution: Literary Legacies of the US Occupation in Haiti”. She underscored how intervention as military occupation and intervention as humanitarian aid were complexly combined in Haitian history. In her exploration of this duality, her discussion moved beyond a conceptualization of In/securities in militaristic terms to meditate on its implications as part of a day-to-day existence of precarity. This idea was further developed through her discussion of the significance of the folk and folk culture in the literary archives of periods of US military presence in Haiti particularly as represented in the writings of Jean Price-Mars whose work on folk culture she discussed in relation of Sylvia Wynter.

In my own paper which kicked-off the panel, I sought to offer a theory of Maroon In/securities by attending to the writing of Namba Roy and to the history of Maroon Wars in Jamaica. This will be further explored in my own contribution to the ongoing series of monthly working papers that are being published here by CARISCC members.

 

 

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