Scholar-Activism in the 21st Century, British Library, London, 22-23 June 2018,

Anne-Marie Angelo's picture
June 20, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Black History / Studies, British History / Studies, Social History / Studies

Scholar-Activism in the 21st Century Conference

June 22-23, 2018

British Library, London


The topic of scholar-activism has seen a recent resurgence in our contemporary political moment. To explore this topic, a transatlantic, scholar-activist conference will be held at the British Library in London, England on Friday June 22 and Saturday June 23. The conference will put scholars into conversation with activists to discuss how scholars and activists can work together, put recent social movements such as The Black Lives Matter Movement into scholarly and historical perspective, and highlight some ways in which scholars and activists in the US and UK are currently working together and engaging in efforts for social justice. There will be several interactive workshops, including workshops on decolonizing education. The keynote speaker for the conference will be Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who will speak on “The Black Lives Matter movement in the Age of Trump.” Professor Heather Thompson, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer prize, will also speak at the conference. The conference is co-sponsored by the British Association for American Studies, the Sussex Centre for American Studies; the British Library; and the US Embassy in the UK.  The conference programme has been put together in collaboration with the Black Lives Matter Movement UK. For more details and to see the full programme, see


We welcome attendance from scholars, activists, scholar-activists, and all students, postgraduate and undergraduate. Registration costs are on a sliding scale in order to widen participation. Please pay what you can for your participation and/or to help others attend. If you would like to attend the conference, please register at the following: Lunch will be served on both days of the conference, so please register by Wednesday, 20 June at 10 am.  There is no same day registration. People who wish to attend the free public keynote address only on Friday 22 June can register at:



Conference Programme

Friday, 22 June 2018

8:45 -9:30am - Registration check-in, British Library knowledge centre

9:30 - 11:00 am

Opening/ Roundtable: How to Be a Scholar-Activist

“Communicating as a Scholar-Activist,” Toyin Agbetu, community educator, artist-activist, anthropologist and member of Grenfell Media Watch Team

“How to Maintain Radical Politics as an Academic,” Kehinde Andrews, Birmingham City University

“5 Principles for scholar activism,” Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Leeds Beckett University

Treva Lindsey, Ohio State University

11:10 am -12:40 pm

Art and Activism

“Art Activists from the Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter,” Beatrice Carey, Senior Curriculum Consultant for Kingston University

“Stitching the Resistance: Quilting as Feminist and Anti-Racist Activism,” Katja May, University of Kent

“Display It Like You Stole It: The importance of being uncomfortable in museums,” Alice Procter, art historian, academic, activist and guide for Uncomfortable Art Tours

“How African American Songwriters and Poets Encourage Activism,” Gavan Lennon, Canterbury Christ Church University

Chair: Anne-Marie Angelo, University of Sussex

Righteous Anger: Strategies for Caring for Mind and Body during Activism (interactive workshop):

Janine Francois, University of the Arts London and cultural/community worker

Dre Ferdinand, clinical social worker, yoga instructor and reiki practitioner

The Archive as an Activist Force

Beverley Mason, Friends of the Huntley Archives at the London Metropolitan Archives

British Library

Nicole-Rachelle Moore, George Padmore Institute

Chair: Rob Waters, University of Sussex

12:40-1:20pm - LUNCH (food provided with registration)

12:50-1:20pm -  British library presentation on its collections (optional)


Law and Activism

“Black Lives Matter Behind Bars,” Heather Thompson, University of Michigan

“The Limits and Opportunities within the Law for Activism,” Melissa Milewski, University of Sussex

“Law and Radical Social Movements,” Amna Akbar, Ohio State University

Donna Murch, Rutgers University

Chair: Katharina Rietzler, University of Sussex

Memory, Scholarship, and Activism

“#BLM and Confederate Monuments,” Jenny Woodley, Nottingham Trent University

“Historical Amnesia in British popular histories of abolition,” Christienna Fryar, University of Liverpool

“Black soldier-historians and the limits of scholar activism in the late nineteenth century,” Robert Cook, University of Sussex

“Lessons from the radical 1960s in the US and UK,” Mike O’Donnell, Westminster University

Chair: Steve Burman, University of Sussex

2:50-3:10pm: Tea, Coffee and Biscuit break

3:10 -4:40pm

Archiving Activism: Past, Present, Future

British Library

Nicole-Rachelle Moore, George Padmore Institute

Maureen Roberts, London Metropolitan Archives

Chair: Rob Waters, University of Sussex

Making Space for Academic Activism: Intersectional Interventions in 21st century Academia

Sadhvi Dar, Queen Mary University of London

Angela Martinez Dy, Loughborough University London

Jenny Rodriguez, Alliance Manchester Business School

Filmmaking and Activism

“American Filmmaking and Trump,” Terence McSweeney, Southampton Solent University

“Black American Filmmaking and Protest in the Obama Age,” Teresa Hagan, UEA

“Not a case study, but a life: storytelling, participation and 'case studies' in UK campaigning organisations,” Lydia Shellien-Walker, University of Sussex

Chair: Sue Currell, University of Sussex

5:00 - 6:30pm

Keynote Address: "From Black Lives Matter to the White Power Presidency: Race and Class in the Trump Era," Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University

Saturday, 23 June 2018 

9:00 - 9:15am - Opening


Roundtable: Know Thy Enemy: Historians on Global White Nationalism in the Age of Brexit and Trump

Introduction, Daniel Geary, Trinity College Dublin

“Enoch Powell in Detroit and Mississippi, Clive Webb, University of Sussex

“David Duke in London,” Jennie Sutton, independent scholar

“Apartheid in Charleston,” Zoe Hyman, UCL

“Katie Hopkins in Palm Beach,” Camilla Schofield, UEA

Comment: Bill Schwarz, Queen Mary

Religion and Activism

“Catholicism, ecological justice and the struggle for legitimate voice,” Anupama Ranawana, University of Aberdeen

“Religion and the US Civil Rights Movement and BLM Movement,” Kerry Pimblott, University of Manchester

“African American Mourning and Political Resistance,” Nyle Fort, minister and scholar, Princeton University

Chair: Tom Davies, University of Sussex

Challenging Violence and Discrimination Past and Present

Althea Legal-Miller, Canterbury Christ-Church University

“Tackling narratives of urban Black male youth,” Ian Joseph, University of East London

Black Lives Matter UK

United Friends and Family Campaign (UFFC)

Activism and Education

“Decolonizing education through black authored children’s books,” Nick Batho, University of Edinburgh

“The University as an Instrument of Black Cultural Revolution,” Errol A. Henderson, Pennsylvania State University

“Activism, Music and the Academy: Disrupting Eurocentric Epistemic Practices,” Melz Owosu, University
of Leeds

“Scholar-Activism Engagement and Social Movements in Nigeria,” Olakunle Michael Folami, former Welfare Officer of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Nigeria

12:40-1:30pm LUNCH (provided)

12:55-1:35pm - Behind the Scenes talk and tour of Windrush exhibition with British Library curators (free/ no registration needed)

1:40 - 3:10pm

Coalitions and Peripheries in Scholar-Activism

“Black and Indigenous Dreamin’: Indigenous Millennials and Decolonial Possibilities,” Kyle Mays, University of California, Los Angeles

“The challenge of coalition-building during the ‘long’ civil rights movement,” Oliver Ayers, New College of the Humanities London

“Negotiating #Black Lives Matter in the Hinterlands: BLM in the North American Pacific West and the Midlands, UK,” Nadine King Chambers, independent researcher

“Black Lives Matter in the US and South Africa: Historicizing Transnational Activism,” Nick Grant, UEA

Chair: Natalia Cecire, University of Sussex

Activism and Decolonising Education Interactive Training Workshop:

Black Lives Matter UK - Aliyah (BLM UK) and Kingsley (BLM Brum)

Healthcare, Humanitarianism, and Activism

“Scholarship, public policy and healthcare privatization in the UK,” Mo Stewart, independent disability studies researcher

“The radical breast cancer movement in the United States,” Grazia de Michele, University of Genoa

“Supporting scholar activism and activist scholarship from a Mad Studies perspective,” Peter Beresford, University of Essex and co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, the disabled people’s and service users’ national organisation and network

“MeToo in the Aid Sector,” Gemma Houldey, University of Sussex

Chair: Melissa Milewski, University of Sussex

3:10-3:30pm: Tea, coffee and biscuit break


Brief Presentations and Roundtable: Scholar-Activism in Practice

“Creating change as a scholar and activist in Omaha, Nebraska,” Jennifer Harbour, University of Nebraska-Omaha

“Non-violent scholar-activism within the Gezi movement in Turkey,” Burcu Eke-Schneider, peace worker

'Where does scholarship end and activism begin?' Rianna Walcott, King’s College London

“Scholar-activism in the movement for prisoners’ rights,” Heather Thompson, University of Michigan

Black Lives Matter + Scholar Collaborations in Nottingham, Karen Salt, The University of Nottingham and Lisa Robinson, BLM UK

Roundtable: Exposing the Whiteness of the City of London: an activist led methodology

Samarendra Das and Laurel or Miriam - Foil Vedanta

Toyin Agbetu- Grenfell Media Watch

Suzanne Dhaliiwal - No Tar Sands

Rumana Hashem - Phulbari Solidarity Group

Nazli Tarzi or Zainab Khan - Tadhamun Iraqi Women's Solidarity

Jacob Joyce, Zine Maker

Sara Caldwell - Women of Colour in Global Women's Strike

Brother Omowale - PASCF

5:15-5:40pm Closing Remarks

Sunday, 24 June 2018

10:00 - 11:30am - Uncomfortable Art Tour of British Museum with Alice Procter (if you are interested in this please book separately, there is a cost per person of 8 pounds for this tour - tickets can be booked here:  For more about Uncomfortable Art tours, see


 For any questions, please contact Melissa Milewski at


Contact Info: 

Anne-Marie Angelo

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