What is the practice of justice in unjust spaces? A Women of Colour Index Reading Group with Dr Karen Salt
Join us for the next WOCI Reading Group with Dr Karen Salt, Michelle Williams Gamaker, Samia Malik and Rehana Zaman at SOAS.
Full address: Room B204 (2nd Floor), Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh St, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Event Date: Wednesday 9th May 2018
Time: 17:00 – 19:00
This session will take up fragments of thought inspired by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ recent work M Archive, a poetic text that responds to the work of Black Feminist theorist M. Jacqui Alexander and follows on from Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity (2016). These explorations will be accompanied by ‘readings’ of archive material from the Women of Colour Index on the work of Marlene Smith.
We begin by framing this quote by Gumbs
“what was in them that made work more food to them than food was? and tobacco? was it indigenous memory? how often did they paint their insides with substance and strain? is there an imprint that deepens in the face of repeated misunderstanding and tokenization? does it inoculate the blood?
what they found gave them pause. but they published a cursory article on ‘ego and the black artist’ to comply with the funding. and most of them moved on to other things. and didn’t tell each other that they never slept through the night again.”
[PLEASE NOTE WE WILL USE THE ABOVE QUOTE AS THE WORKSHOP READING TEXT)
Using Gumbs’ provocations and mullings as points to reflect and refract practice, justice, archives, work and memory, Salt works through questions of creativity and nullification. In disentangling issues of disavowal, activism and presence, Salt asks what ‘evidence’ do we produce for ourselves. In thinking about work, creativity and practice as an archive of evidence, Salt wonders if we have the necessary tools to work our way through the past—and the assemblages in our present—in order to construct just futures.
Dr Karen Salt directs the Centre for Research in Race and Rights and leads Europe’s first-ever Black Studies PhD programme—both at the University of Nottingham. Salt is an expert on sovereignty, power, collective activism and systems of governance and collaborates on a number of research projects, including the Arts Council England project, The Bigger Picture. She is an active grant reviewer and recently began a 3-year appointment as a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council Advisory Board where she advises on the development and implementation of strategic approaches to funding which reflect the challenges and opportunities arising for arts and humanities research and those that engage with it. She works with community organisations, activists and institutions on transformational social justice work and has focused quite a bit of her recent energies in thinking through the contours (and constraints) of inclusive practice(s). Her monograph, The Unfinished Revolution: Haiti, Black Sovereignty and Power in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World, will be published by Liverpool University Press in Autumn 2018. She has begun work on two new monographs: States of Blackness: Nationhood and Power in Haiti, Liberia and Abyssinia and Twilight Islands: Race and Politics in the Shadows of the Caribbean.
The Women of Colour Index Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, religions and race are welcome.
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