Convivial Spaces? Encounters in Twentieth Century London
King's College London, 20 June 2019
In Paul Gilroy’s After Empire (2004), multiculturalism drifts, exists, resists and persists through boisterous and ongoing convivial cultures. This one-day conference will investigate the opportunities and limits of convivial spaces of the metropolis: places in the city where solidarities, kindness and intimacy have developed and been sustained between London’s plural constituents, but also where the edges of conviviality have been strained, policed or contested.
The conference hopes to consider how conviviality might offer ‘a more radical ideal of urban interaction’, that is ground level and extra-governmental, but can also be forced or imposed from above.
How and where were such spaces constituted and by whom?
Where are understandings of cosmopolitanism invested in the city’s spaces?
What were the dynamics of the metropolitan space that generated such cultures?
What are the limits of conviviality and what tensions does it produce, within or without the ‘multicultural project’?
10am Arrival and Registration
10.30am Convivial Café Workshop
This short workshop invites conference attendees and speakers to engage with the key frameworks, themes and approaches that emerge from this topic. Through its rotational format, the Café cultivates a participatory and collaborative dynamic which will act as a foundation for the day’s discussion. On each table, participants are asked to engage with a key question relating to the conference theme and share their own thoughts, research and practice.
How and where do we see convivial spaces constituted and by whom?
What is particular to London and its dynamics in the creation and sustainment convivial spaces?
What tensions are produced by conviviality?
11.15am Panel 1. Convivial Institutions
Eileen Chanin, Visions of an Imperial London. Earl Grey’s Scheme for an Imperial Centre
Dongkyung Shin, Universities: Space of Postcolonial Encounters in London
1pm Panel 2. Bonds of Conviviality
Laura Forster, “Café-Friendships” and Intimate Anonymity in London before the First World War
Stephen Bentel, Convivial Neighbours?: Gentrification and Race in Late Twentieth Century London
Rob Waters, Making friends? Bronze magazine and ‘non-political’ integration
2.30pm Coffee Break
3pm Panel 3. Cultures of Conviviality
Anjali Roy, White, Black and Brown on the Dance Floor
Onder Cakirtas, Constructing Borders/Crossing Boundaries: The Portrayal of Islam and Muslims in Early 21st Century British Theatre’
4 pm Break
Caroline Bressey, ‘Hardening the Colour Line: geographies of conviviality in inter-war Britain.’
Followed by Drinks Reception
Funded by the History Department at King’s College London. Free to attend.
The conference will be held in S8.08, History Department, King's College London.