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PUBLIC EVENTS
BLACK CHRONICLES

BLACK VICTORIANS: LEARNING RESOURCES

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 29 SEPTEMBER 2016

| CPD EVENT

 

In this free CPD session we introduced secondary & FE teachers and tutors to the latest learning resources on offer to support and stimulate diversity across both the National Curriculum and informal education. The evening began with an introduction and demonstration of The Missing Chapter Web App by our Curator and Head of Archive Renée Mussai, exploring the development of the app through our pioneering research to unearth the earliest photographs documenting the little known Black presence in Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

Following the introduction, we broke out into discussion groups facilitated by artist educator Ali Eisa and Teresa Cisneros, encouraging teachers and tutors to respond to the learning resources and feedback valuable opinions on the opportunities and challenges to implementing these resources in the classroom, and how they might help inspire diversity within the National Curriculum.

SCREENSHOT FROM THE MISSING CHAPTER WEB APP

SOUND & THE ARCHIVE

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 26 SEPTEMBER 2016

| PANEL DISCUSSION | GALLERY RECEPTION

 

Part of the Black Chronicles Archive Laboratory which was on display at Autograph ABP, this event marked the preview of The African Choir 1891 Re-Imagined, a new sound/image installation by composers Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibisi. The roundtable discussion explored the artistic and curatorial challenges when re-articulating historical material using sound and the archive, and introduced the story of The African Choir, whose portraits were on display in the gallery. Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibsi were in conversation with Professor Tamar Garb and Renée Mussai, Curator and Head of Archive at Autograph ABP.

 

This event was presented by Autograph ABP in partnership with UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies and the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art.

 

Philip Miller is a South African, international composer and sound artist based in Cape Town. His multi-faceted work often develops out of collaborative projects in theatre, film, video and sound installations, including with acclaimed artist, William Kentridge.

 

Thuthuka Sibisi is a South African musical director and conductor. He recently served as Musical Director to Philip Miller’s Pulling Numbers (premier) in China, and for Ciné-Concert, presented as part of Notes toward a Model Opera by William Kentridge.

 

Tamar Garb is the Durning Lawrence Professor in History of Art at UCL and Director of UCL Institute of Advanced Studies.

ELEANOR XINIWE, 1891
LONDON STEREOSCOPIC COMPANY 
COURTESY OF ©HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

TEACHING MIGRATION HISTORY: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 20 SEPTEMBER 2016

| PANEL DISCUSSION

 

This event introduced secondary, FE/HE teachers and tutors to the latest learning resources to support the teaching of diverse histories across the National Curriculum, Higher Education and informal learning.

 

The evening began with a welcome from Renée Mussai, Autograph ABP Curator and Head of Archive and the Runnymede Trust, introducing the development of both organisations’ new resources, showcasing The Missing Chapter project and demonstrating the ways the Runnymede Trust has tied together existing but disparate learning materials on migration history with cutting-edge new research from over 60 historians based across UK universities.

 

This was followed by a panel discussion on the topic ‘Teaching Migration History: Challenges and Opportunities’ featuring leading artists, policymakers and educationalists with expertise in the field, as well as a Q&A session enabling teachers and tutors to share their thoughts and insights.

 

Attendees were able to request for a free copy of Autograph ABP’s Archive Learning Resource, comprised of over 40 image reproductions with accompanying teaching packs, as well as the new specially designed Exhibition in A Box, which allows teachers and tutors to recreate unique archive pop-up exhibitions displays in any setting for students to explore.

 

Please get in touch if you would like to receive specific resources.

DADABHAI NAOROJI, 1892
PHOTOGRAPHER: R.M. RICHARDSON & CO 
COURTESY ©HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

BLACK CHRONICLES WITH RENÉE MUSSAI

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON. 19 MAY 2016

| GALLERY TALK | TOUR

 

Autograph ABP’s Curator and Head of Archive, Renée Mussai, led a tour of the Black Chronicles – Photographic Portraits 1862 – 1948 display at the National Portrait Gallery.

 

The National Portrait Gallery, in partnership with Autograph ABP, presented a unique ‘snapshot’ of black lives and experiences in Britain. The display of over 40 photographs brought together some of the earliest photographs of Black and Asian sitters in the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection, alongside recently discovered images from the Hulton Archive, a division of Getty Images.

GALLERY TOUR IN PROGRESS

TMC COLLECTIVE: SHOWCASE

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 15 – 30 JANUARY 2016

| EXHIBITION | TMC COLLECTIVE

 

The TMC Collective Showcase featured new multi-media productions by young creative practitioners responding to 19th century photography associated with Autograph ABP’s ongoing archive research project, The Missing Chapter.

 

Over a period of six months the TMC Collective met with artist-mentors and guest speakers from a number of disciplines to review, question and interpret issues around cultural memory, representation and the archive, in order to produce new works and curate a programme of events in January 2016. Using the image portfolio from The Missing Chapter as their point of departure, the TMC Collective’s engagement bridged their contemporary moment with historic research to invoke a wider conversation with their peers and encourage more activity and participation from a younger generation around archives and heritage. Their work was exhibited at Autograph ABP, Rivington Place for a period of two weeks.

 

Find out more about The Missing Chapter Collective and the featured work.

TMC COLLECTIVE SHOWCASE INSTALLED IN PS2 GALLERY SPACE

TMC COLLECTIVE: QUEERING THE ARCHIVE

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 29 JANUARY 2016

| GALLERY TALK | TMC COLLECTIVE

 

Being LGBTQI is like being an identity detective. We search for ourselves through history by picking up on tiny gestures, facial expressions, poses or clothes. How can we tell that the images we are looking at are not transgender people? How can we tell that “friends” aren’t lovers?

 

We explore The Missing Chapter portfolio using selected photographs to mine our imaginations outside of hetero-normative, cis-centric assumptions.A talk led by filmmaker Campbell X, in conversation with Ama Josephine Budge.

 

Part of The Missing Chapter Collective programme of events.

 

Campbell X is a filmmaker, based in the United Kingdom. Their work documents black LGBT culture and they are a leading creator of contemporary British queer cinema.

 

Ama Josephine Budge is a curator, writer and artist and a member of HYSTERIA Collective.

UNIDENTIFIED SITTER, STERLING, 1870s
PHOTOGRAPHER: G. SMART 
COURTESY OF VAL WILMER COLLECTION

TMC COLLECTIVE: STORYTELLING

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON, UK. 28 JANUARY 2016

| PANEL DISCUSSION | LIVE PERFORMANCE

 

‘How do we explain the story of ourselves to ourselves?’ asked Professor Stuart Hall. Collective members Patricia Ng’ang’a and Shanice Martin were in discussion to explore race, migration and the power and politics of storytelling through black audio and visual arts, featuring a live performance from Xana.

 

Part of The Missing Chapter Collective programme of events.

 

Xana is a live loop musician, composer, sound designer, poet and installation artist who creates inter-genre soundscapes through beatbox, vocal harmonies, field recordings, spoken word and instrumentation. Xana focuses on interrogating the fluidity of gender, queerness, depression, futurism and archives as the basis for redefining the voice of other and narratives of migration.

THE PANEL IN PROGRESS IN PS2 GALLERY SPACE,
RIVINGTON PLACE

TMC COLLECTIVE: REPRESENTATION

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON, UK. 23 JANUARY 2016

| PANEL DISCUSSION | TMC COLLECTIVE

 

How do we see bodies of colour in Britain today, how are they presented to us and how do we present ourselves? Collective members Kariima Ali and Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh discussed erasure, visual representation and re-presenting black bodies through art with guest speaker Fatuma Khaireh. Chaired by writer, curator and artist Ama Josephine Budge of HYSTERIA collective.

 

Part of The Missing Chapter Collective programme of events.

 

Fatuma Khaireh is a writer, theatre-maker, poet and a member of OOMK Collective.

OLIVIA MATHURIN-ESSANDOH DURING THE PANEL

TMC COLLECTIVE: ARCHIVE

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON, UK. 21 JANUARY 2016

| GALLERY TALK | TMC COLLECTIVE

 

TMC Collective members Heather Agyepong and Lara Akinnawo explored the archive with Dr Caroline Bressey, whose prolific research into black photographic presence is changing our understanding of British histories.

 

Part of The Missing Chapter Collective programme of events.

 

Caroline Bressey is a Reader in Historical Geography at University College London. Her interests are focused on historical and cultural geographies of the black presence in Britain particularly London, Victorian theories of race and anti-racism and the links between contemporary identity and the diverse histories of London. Her first book Empire, Race and the Politics of Anti-Caste, focuses upon the radical politics of Catherine Impey’s writings in the Victorian anti-racist periodical Anti-Caste, and the history of the anti-racist movement in Britain.

ARCHIVE COORDINATOR ADELAIDE BANNERMAN POSING A 
QUESTION TO THE PANEL

TMC COLLECTIVE: AGENCY

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON, UK. 15 JANUARY 2016

| PANEL DISCUSSION | TMC COLLECTIVE

 

To open The Missing Chapter Collective Showcase photographer Yasmine Akim invited writer Gabriela Chase and members of the Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable Collective to discuss agency in visual representation and art activism practices. They explored the meaning of agency in black photography today and how and for whom are we ‘re-remembering’ those that have faded from view.

 

Part of The Missing Chapter Collective programme of events.

 

Gabriela Chase is a London-based writer and started ‘Authorrising’ to address academic failures towards mixed-race theory.

 

Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable is a collective of thinkers and makers. Formed out of the Baldwin’s Nigger Reloaded project with Barby Asante and Teresa Cisneros.

GABRIELLA CHASE, YASMINE AKIM AND MEMBERS OF SORRY

YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE COLLECTIVE

HEALING THROUGH ARCHIVES

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON, UK. 3 OCTOBER 2015

| PANEL DISCUSSION | TMC COLLECTIVE

 

This talk explored the processes related to establishing a digital photographic archive for the Somali diaspora. Abira was joined in discussion with Kinsi Abdulleh from NUMBI Arts and artist Ego Ahaiwe, they explored the powers of the archive as a resource that values the histories and experiences of its contributors and asked how best to utilise it to catalyse community participation in the future.

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Part of The Missing Chapter Collective programme of events.

 

Kinsi Abdulleh is the founder of NUMBI Arts, a platform for collaborative cross-cultural exchange for artists working in theatre, visual arts/ photography, music/dance, and film – that draws from the experience of Somali communities around the world.

 

Ego Ahaiwe is an artist. Her current archival research activity is based at the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths University of London, cataloguing the Women of Colour Index (WOCI) collection compiled by the artist Rita Keegan, which charts the emergence of Black Women’s art in the UK during the ‘Critical Decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s.

THE PANEL DISCUSSION IN PROGRESS IN PS2

THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 21 NOVEMBER 2014

| FILM SCREENING

 

As part of our events series, we held a screening of Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, a documentary about how African American communities have used the camera as a tool for social change from the invention of photography to the present.

 

This epic tale poetically moves between the present and the past, through contemporary photographers and artists whose images and stories seek to reconcile legacies of pride and shame while giving voice to images long suppressed, forgotten, and hidden from sight.

POSTER OF 'THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS 
AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE'

THE MISSING CHAPTER IV: CULTURAL IDENTITY AND THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVE

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 18 NOVEMBER 2014

| SYMPOSIUM

 

Autograph ABP presented the 4th in a series of conversations around politics of the archive with a keynote by Paul Gilroy entitled ‘The Comforts of The Archive’, which was followed by a roundtable discussion with presentations from guest speakers including Michael McMillan and Karen Alexander. Introduced and co-chaired by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy MBE. At the core of the discussion was the exhibition Black Chronicles II – and how progressive archival research can yield the production of new knowledge and curatorial narratives, underpinning Autograph ABP’s mission in the critical re-writing of photographic history in relation to representation and difference.

 

Prof. Paul Gilroy teaches in the English department of King’s College, London. His publications include Between Camps: Nations, Culture and the Allure of Race (2000) and After Empire (2005).

 

Dr. Michael McMillan is a writer, dramatist and artist/curator. He is best known for The West Indian Front Room (Geffrye Museum 2005-06), The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (Black Dog Publishing 2009).

 

Karen Alexander is a film curator and former senior tutor for Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art. She has contributed to several books on film including Women and Film: Sight & Sound Reader (1999), and If Looks Could Kill (2008).

PS1 GALLERY SPACE DURING THE SYMPOSIUM

COLLECTORS’ LENS WITH PAUL FRECKER

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 13 NOVEMBER 2014

| GALLERY TALK

 

Paul Frecker is one of the private individuals whose research alliance supported The Missing Chapter project. This informal event enabled the public to gain an insight into the broader context of photographic practice in Victorian and Edwardian Britain from a non-institutional perspective.

 

Paul Frecker is a collector, photo historian and dealer in nineteenth-century photographs. His primary focus is commercial portraiture of the 1860s and he is currently writing a book on British cartes-de-visite photographs.

ANDREW BOGLE, 1871
PHOTOGRAPHER: MAULL & CO 
COURTESY OF PAUL FREKER/
THE LIBRARY OF NINETEENTH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY

BLACK HISTORY WALKING TOUR WITH S.I. MARTIN AND CARLOS TROWER

LONDON. 8 NOVEMBER 2014

| PERFORMATIVE TALK

 

Starting at the Black Chronicles II exhibition at Rivington Place and ending at Richmix in Bethnal Green, this performative walking tour enabled the public to discover some of the key people and places which have shaped London’s culturally diverse East End. The Missing Chapter history walk was devised and led by historian S.I. Martin with historical figure Carlos Trower who brought to life notable black individuals living around the areas of Shoreditch and Hoxton during the nineteenth century.

 

S. I. Martin specialises in the fields of Black British history and literature, working with museums, archives and the education sector to bring diverse histories to wider audiences. Martin has published five books of historical fiction and non-fiction for adult and teenage readers including: Incomparable World, Britain’s Slave Trade, Jupiter Williams, Jupiter Amidships and Lambeth 1807.

S.I. MARTIN WITH ACTOR IN CHARACTER AS CARLOS AND WALKING 
TOUR PARTICIPANTS

THE MISSING CHAPTER RECITALS WITH AKALA AND ISATA KANNEH MASON

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 7 NOVEMBER 2014

| LIVE PERFORMANCE

 

An evening performance of live music, spoken word and photography bringing The Missing Chapter research to life with contemporary relevance and performance. Interweaving their personal responses to Black Chronicles II were writer/musician Akala and pianist Isata Kanneh Mason.

 

Akala is a MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses rap/rock/electro-punk with fierce lyrical storytelling. Inspired by the likes of Saul Williams and Gil Scott Heron, Akala has also toured with the likes of of Jay-Z, Nas & Damian Marley and M.I.A. In 2009, he launched the ‘The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company’, a theatre production enterprise with previous collaborators including Sir Ian McKellen and Colin Salmon.

 

Isata Kanneh Mason has been awarded the prestigious Elton John Scholarship to study piano at The Royal Academy of Music, London. In addition to the piano, Isata also plays the viola and violin. Isata has performed around the UK with concerto appearances in chamber ensembles, and solo recitals including Wigmore Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, and St Martin-in-the-Fields. She has also appeared on several television and radio programmes including BBC Young Musician and BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

AKALA PERFORMING DURING THE RECITAL

‘AS SERIOUS AS YOUR LIFE’: VAL WILMER IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARET BUSBY

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 4 NOVEMBER 2014

| GALLERY TALK

 

Val Wilmer’s conversation with Margaret Busby focused on Wilmer’s passion for collecting photography, discussing the different journeys that led her to building a unique and extensive collection on Black Britain, a selection of which was made available for view at Rivington Place.

 

Val Wilmer has a long association with photography, and the history of black music: her books Jazz People and As Serious As Your Life: The Story of the New Jazz were first published by Allison and Busby in 1970 and 1977 respectively. Over the past five decades, in addition to her writing on jazz, she has written about photography including interviews/essays on artists such as Roy DeCarava and James Van Der Zee, and edited a special issue of Ten.8 magazine, devoted to the work African American photographers.

 

Margaret Busby OBE is a writer, editor, critic, consultant and broadcaster. Born in Ghana and educated in Britain, she became the UK’s youngest and first Black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby Ltd in 1967, of which she was editorial director for 20 years. She is the editor of the groundbreaking volume Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writing by Women of African Descent, and currently chairs the board of Wasafiri literary magazine.

VAL WILMER WITH MARGARET BUSBY

‘UNNAMED SITTERS, UNKNOWABLE LIVES?’ LECTURE WITH CAROLINE BRESSEY

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 28 OCTOBER 2014

| GALLERY TALK

 

‘Unnamed sitters, unknowable lives? Exploring the black presence in London through Victorian photography.’ was a 45 minute Illustrated talk by Dr Caroline Bressey, followed by a conversation with curator Renée Mussai and audience Q+A.

 

In this talk Caroline Bressey discussed selected photographs featured in the exhibition Black Chronicles II, as well as from her own on-going research on the lives of black women and men in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bressey highlighted the absence of so-called racial or ethnic descriptions in British national records, and the benefits and challenges  provided by photographs as an invaluable way to see a new kind of historical geography of the city.

 

Caroline Bressey is a Reader in Historical Geography at University College London.  Her interests are focused on historical and cultural geographies of the black presence in Britain particularly London, Victorian theories of race and anti-racism and the links between contemporary identity and the diverse histories of London. Her first book Empire, Race and the Politics of Anti-Caste, focuses upon the radical politics of Catherine Impey’s writings in the Victorian anti-racist periodical Anti-Caste, and the history of the anti-racist movement in Britain.

UNIDENTIFIED SITTER, DATE UNKNOWN
PHOTOGRAPHER: T.W. STEVEN
COURTESY OF AUTOGRAPH ABP

OPENING RECEPTION FOR BLACK CHRONICLES II

RIVINGTON PLACE, LONDON. 11 SEPTEMBER 2014

| LAUNCH | GALLERY RECEPTION

 

Autograph ABP launched the Black Chronicles II exhibition exploring black presences in 19th and early 20th-century Britain, through the prism of studio portraiture – continuing our critical mission of writing black photographic history.

 

Drawing on the metaphor of the chronicle the exhibition presents over 200 photographs, the majority of which have never been exhibited or published before. As a curated body of work, these photographs present new knowledge and offer different ways of seeing the black subject in Victorian Britain, and contribute to an ongoing process of redressing persistent ‘absence’ within the historical record.

 

All of the photographs in the exhibition were taken in photographic studios in Britain prior to 1938, with a majority during the latter half of the 19th century. Alongside numerous portraits of unidentified sitters, the exhibition includes original prints of known personalities, such as Sarah Forbes Bonetta, goddaughter to Queen Victoria; Prince Alemayehu, photographed by renowned photographer Julia Margaret Cameron; or Kalulu, African ‘boy servant’ (companion) to the British explorer Henry Morton Stanley.

 

Find out more about Black Chronicles II.

'BLACK CHRONICLES II' OPENING RECEPTION  IN OUR MAIN 
GALLERY SPACE
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