John Akomfrah: The Unfinished Conversation - events

Kirsten Forkert's picture
Type: 
Event
Date: 
May 7, 2022 to June 26, 2022
Location: 
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Black History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

John Akomfrah: The Unfinished Conversation, 2012
Sat 7 May – Sun 26 June | MAC First Floor Gallery | Tue – Sun | 11am – 5pm

Since the early 1980s, John Akomfrah’s moving image works have offered some of the most rigorous and expansive reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, both in the UK and around the world. MAC will be presenting The Unfinished Conversation to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his seminal film installation, a moving portrait of the life and work of distinguished cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, who led the Cultural Studies department at the University of Birmingham from 1964.

In the footage, Hall discusses his discovery of his personal and ethnic identity. Extracted images from news footage of the 1960s, alongside Hall’s personal home videos and photographs, are presented to merge the past, present and future. Akomfrah’s multichannel video works have evolved into ambitious, multi-screen installations shown in galleries and museums around the world.

The exhibition is presented as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, with support from Arts Council England.

Loaned courtesy of Lisson Gallery and the artist. An Autograph ABP Commission, Produced by Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, Smoking Dogs Films, in collaboration with Professor Stuart Hall. Executive producer Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph ABP. Project funded by Grants For Arts, Arts Council England and supported by the Bluecoat, New Art Exchange, Nottingham and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University, Boston, Royal College Inspire Programme and Smoking Dogs Films Production.  With kind support from NAXOS Books, The Open University, BBC, Time/Image and Getty Images.

Related Events

MAC has announced a new public programme of events to coincide with the exhibition The Unfinished Conversation, 2012 during the seminal installation’s 10th anniversary. Presented in partnership with Ian Sergeant, doctoral researcher and curator, the events give audiences the opportunity to respond to the installation by John Akomfrah, and reflect upon the ideas of renowned cultural theorist, Stuart Hall.

New Ethnicities: Study Day
Sat 11 June | 10:30 am – 3 pm | MAC Deloitte Room | Free | Booking required 

Since the early 1980s, John Akomfrah's moving image works have offered some of the most rigorous and expansive reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, both in the UK and around the world. The Unfinished Conversation, 2012, presents a moving portrait of the life and work of distinguished cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who led the Cultural Studies department at the University of Birmingham from 1964.

The New Ethnicities: Study Day invites the public to reflect on Hall's text New Ethnicities (1996), which highlights the artistic practices of the likes of Akomfrah in tackling and disrupting notions of Black identities in Britain. According to Hall, "identity is not an essence or being, but instead, a becoming that is part of an ever-unfinished conversation".

Invited speakers (academics, artists, activists, and young people) will respond to the text and installation. They will examine discourses of identity, situating their lived experiences, knowledge and artistic practice within the current conjuncture of recent socio-political and cultural events. Emphasis is placed upon ‘institutional racism’, ‘culture wars’, Black Lives Matter protests, Brexit, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Britain's Black and ethnic minority communities. 

This event is presented in collaboration with Birmingham City University's Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) and the Stuart Hall Foundation, with contributions from academics and fellows. In keeping with Hall's desire to ensure young people participate in shaping our society, members of The GAP Arts Project and Civic Square will participate in a series of discussions leading up to and during the Study Day.

The Stuart Hall Project: Screening + Q&A with writer Bill Schwarz
Sun 26 June | 2 pm – 4 pm | MAC Cinema | 12A | From £9

The Stuart Hall Project is the intimate and engaging portrait of Stuart Hall, the Jamaican born public intellectual and co-founder of the New Left Review, whose work in cultural studies profoundly influenced the political and academic landscapes. A life lived through the twentieth century's defining political moments.

Weaving between the musical archaeology of Miles Davis and the political narratives of the twentieth century, director John Akomfrah carefully constructs archival sequences of rare, forgotten and long since seen historical material. A ground-breaking film that pioneers a new archival and sonic approach to forgotten histories, forgotten ideas and the untold stories of the politics of change. The screening will be followed by a live onstage Q&A with writer Bill Schwarz.

BSL Tour: The Unfinished Conversation, 2012
Thu 23 June | 1pm | First Floor & Community Galleries | Free, booking required

Join artist Olivier Jamin for a deaf-led BSL tour of John Akomfrah: The Unfinished Conversation in MAC's First Floor Gallery, followed by a tour of Mixed Rage Collective: Unapologetically Other in the People's Postcode Lottery Community Gallery.

Contact Info: 

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