Black Curators Collective (BCC ) is facilitating a two-day gathering as part of the 2021 GI Events Programme.
We are considering the idea of ‘meandering networks’ as a starting point to think through how we connect and come together as cultural workers across the four nations. The first day is closed-door for Black practitioners with a curatorial practice and the second day is open to the public. Our programme is based on the principles of collectivity, resource building, and regionalism.
For Day 1, which is closed-door, we are inviting Black practitioners working with contemporary art based across Scotland, and the UK to share a moment of peace, rest, and reinforcement between each other on an international platform. We are not striving for ‘newness’ but to shift attention and form connections between what already exists/is emerging, with the aim of moving Black practitioners from the peripheries by sharing and decentralising resources and knowledge. We view our stories as oral archives, our experiences as resources and aim to voice and share this as a national resource.
Meandering Networks, Mapping Nations embodies slowness as a state of mind through doing less better, taking comfort in the unknown, and focusing on a process-driven approach to public programming.
About the organisers
Meandering Networks, Mapping Nations is curated by the Black Curators Collective (BCC ) and coordinated by collective members April Brown, Chloe Austin, Jade Foster, Khadea Kuchenmeister, Natasha Ruwona, Nikita Gill, Sabrina Henry, Umulkhayr Mohamed, Ifeanyi Awachie, and Yewande YoYo Odunubi.
Supported by Art Fund.
This a free event for black practitioners with a curatorial practice. Please book here.
Please note for persons who book and attend the Day 1 programme, can take part in Day 2 on Fri 18 Jun for free.
How to view
This event will be available to participate in online via Zoom.
Auto-captioning will be available throughout.
Programme for the day
10:00am-10:15am: Welcome from BCC
10:15am-10:45am: How do you combine agitating and rest?
A talk by academic and agitator, Janine Francois
15 mins: Getting ready for physical exercise
11:00am-12:00pm: Passivity and Activity
Body Remedy workshop by Mele Broomes
Using exercise as a form of self-care and furthering of one's connection and understanding to the body, this workshop creates a space for physical and mental wellbeing through developing physical strength and flexibility. Physical intelligence can often be overshadowed by other forms of knowledge, yet movement as a form of learning, knowing and understanding is a vital device for intellectual growth and enabling radical change both individually and collectively.
40 mins Break
12:45pm-14:45pm: Offline workshop: Metaphors for a Black Future II
Led by Martha Adonai Williams
Tree of Life is a workshop that supports groups to come together and share our many stories, not just the ones that relate to a “problem saturated narrative”. The workshop will encourage sharing and collectivisation around stories of strength, power and wellbeing.
30 mins Break
3:15pm-3:30pm: Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without…
Led by Yewande (BCC )
'Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without…' is an opportunity for attendees to acknowledge each other in the space positively. We will individually create offerings of reinforcement through extending words of affirmation, care and appreciation for ourselves and one another. This exercise reflects the need to develop a more profound closeness between black cultural practitioners and hold a generative space of joy and positive visualisation in periods of scarcity. Collectively, we shall consider our shared love for black culture and growth together as it occurs within this programme and beyond it.
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
10 mins Break
3:40pm-5:10pm: Agency, Safety, and Creating Divergent Spaces
We have invited Adelaide Bannerman from International Curators Forum to chair a discussion alongside members of BCC . For this roundtable discussion we will engage with themes of Agency, Safety, and Creating Divergent Spaces.
Each chair will facilitate their roundtable within a breakout room, starting the conversation through a series of prompts.
Breakout Room 1: Safety and Accountability
How could we anonymise ourselves in spaces both offline and online when it comes to speaking out and holding accountable the institutions we work for or with? This prompt begins discussions around safety and considers how Black practitioners navigate being silent/quiet whilst still producing and curating programmes out of necessity. It could also be understood that many curators act as protective bounds or 'bodyguards' between institutions and artists.
Breakout Room 2: Agency
What does agency look like for black curators? What does your agency look like?
Breakout Room 3: Agency II
What work do curators want to produce that isn't tethered to race or Blackness?
Breakout Room 4: Safety, Rest, and Creating Divergent Spaces
What is rest? How do we implement rest systemically? This conversation moves away from an individualised perspective to thinking about how rest is embedded into the building blocks of how infrastructures/organisations/institutions are established.
Breakout Room 5: Creating Divergent or New Spaces
BCC is a new space that negates whiteness and doesn’t follow discriminatory frameworks. Within this breakout room we will discuss the Black Curators Collective, exploring how we work as a collective as a starting point for discussion about how to create divergent spaces that go against the status quo.
Please note: If you have also signed up for Meandering Networks, Mapping Nations: Day 2, you will be participating in another series of roundtable discussions exploring the theme of ‘Black Collectivism’. The roundtable discussions will be led by representatives from forums and collectives, nationally and internationally. We will be pre-assigning attendees to breakout rooms for Day 2.
20 mins Break
5:30pm-6:30pm: Listening Session with Dr. Hannah Catherine Jones
Based on ‘Owed to Perpetual Healing’, Dr. Hannah Catherine Jones reflects on BCC ’s curatorial statement and the themes within ‘Meandering Networks, Mapping Nations’. The audio is pre-recorded, and attendees are encouraged to turn their cameras and mics off, listen and reflect introspectively.
6:30pm-6:45pm: …and know we cannot live within.
Led by Yewande (BCC )
Developing from the previous exercise, this is an opportunity for everyone to practice gratitude for those that have constituted this room through extending words of affirmation, care and appreciation for ourselves and one another. This exercise reflects how our practices can’t exist without each other; through actualising a way to harmonise, be in conversation and engage with each other generatively. Collectively, we shall consider our shared love for black culture and growth together as it occurs within this programme and beyond it.
6:45pm-7pm: Closing Remarks from BCC