Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Reading Group Returns, 11 April 2013

The library is hosting a reading group session in April, with more meetings to follow in May and June.

Keywords, New Keywords

On Thursday 11 April, 6.30-8pm we will meet to discuss the seminal text and inspiration for Iniva's latest exhibition, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (1976) by Raymond Williams, comparing it to a later title inspired by it, New Keywords: A revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society edited by Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg and Meaghan Morris (2005).

We will read the introductions to both texts and compare their approaches, the contents, and the way in which these publications reflect changes in language use and culture.

Space in the library is limited. To book a place, email us.

Copies of the introductory chapters will be available in the library from 28 March.

More information to follow on the session in May.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Join us for our third Research Network meeting of talks and discussion.

Thursday March 28th, 6.30-8.30

Sabine El Chamaa is a Lebanese filmmaker currently in the finishing stages of an Audio Visual PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London's Media and Communications department. Her research started as a personal documentary filmed during 2006's war on Lebanon, analysing 24/7 live war media coverage from the perspective of a citizen residing inside a city being bombed, by means of a film-based installation and a theoretical text.
Maria Kheirkhah is an artist, curator and lecturer, and a second year PhD candidate at University of the Arts, Chelsea College of Art & Design. The focus of Maria's research is to investigate the ‘female Oriental Other' as perceived historically within Western social discourses and the extent to which this perception projects / impacts upon her voice and representation within contemporary visual culture today.
Maria will be focusing on performative practices:  Portraits of a Belly Dancer, and Strategies of Identification and Resistance.
Meetings take place monthly on Thursdays, 6.30-8.30 in the library, 2nd floor of Rivington Place.
Space is limited in the library, so if you have not already done so please contact us to book a place by writing to or calling 020 7749 1255.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Guest blog post: Jessica Carden, Stuart Hall Library Research Network member

Grace Ndiritu, Pole to Pole
At the end of last month I was invited by the Stuart Hall Library Research Network to present my doctoral research titled, Contemporary Visual Representations of the Non-White Figure in the Arctic Landscape: British Colonial Constructions of the ‘Heart of Whiteness’ and the Black-White Binary as Fetish. Since commencing my PhD studies in late 2012, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of exposing my research and entering into dialogue with fellow practitioners. Therefore, I was delighted to be provided with the opportunity to present my work within the relevant context of the Stuart Hall Library and its research network members.

My investigation is focused on three specific case studies of artist film and video - each from Black–British filmmakers– that use the Arctic landscape as a setting to discuss issues of ethnicity, memory and belonging. Framed in the context of the British colonial construction of the Arctic territories and their place in the public imagination, my aim is to unearth the significance of the artists’ appropriation of Arctic space. The case studies include John Akomfrah’s Mnemosyne [2010]; Grace Ndiritu’s Pole to Pole [2009] and Issac Julien’s True North [2004].

Isaac Julien, True North

Further to my presentation to the group, the evening’s respondent Dr Saer Maty Ba began to unpack the layers of my research and identified several key concepts and theories which will be integral to a thorough reading of the artist’s works, providing particular insight into the practice of John Akomfrah. As Roshini Kempadoo has stated in her earlier blog post, we anchored the discussion with the question why now; what is the significance of the artists appropriating Arctic space at this point in time and can the works be read in relation to current European anxiety surrounding nationalism and notions of purity? From this point we began to discuss the intricacies of the individual works including notions of racial binary; the seductiveness of the film footage and the ethics involved in the appropriation of ethnographic archive material.

The evenings’ group covered a diverse range of backgrounds from film historians to curators, artists and theorists, and as a result the discussion was both rich and provocative. The process of compiling my various strands of research into the form of a presentation was in itself a valuable experience. The evenings’ discussion remains one of the most productive conversations surrounding my work to date and one that will undoubtedly enrich my research at this crucial stage.

Jessica Carden is a 1st year PhD student at the University of the Arts London Transnational Research Centre for Art, Identity and Nation. Jessica is a curator and co-founder of Mother Tongue, a collaborative curatorial research-led project

Friday, 8 March 2013

Notes from the Stuart Hall Library – 2012_2013: No.6 From: Roshini Kempadoo (Animateur for SH Library) – 8th March

What may well become a valuable core group of researchers and artists, formed the SHL research network session on 28th February night to reflect on Jessica Carden’s study and Saer Maty Ba’s contribution of three contemporary black-british filmmakers who use the Arctic landscape as a space to discuss issues of race, migration and belonging. Their research was insightful and rigorous, critically exploring the filmmakers work (John Akomfrah, Isaac Julien and Grace Ndiritu).

Still from Akomfrah's new film, The Nine Muses.
One aspect we discussed was the question of why now  - why in the last decade or so, have films such as these been made making use of the physical and symbolic landscape of the north? In what ways do the films at this moment in time, reflect a European political climate of anxiety and tension – including climates changes and threats, of the perceived ‘problem’ of southern populations moving north, of the political state space of retreat, aggression and violence towards women and southern bodies from the majority world. The extract from The Nine Muses (2010) directed by Akomfrah, spectacularly seductive in form and aesthetics also prompted a series of questions around the institutional and aesthetics of film production – such as the relationship between historical archive footage and crystal clear and highly improved camera/screen-based technologies. So a exploratory but animated debate that provided me with much more insight into how we might consider such filmmaking.

Speaking of explorations of aesthetics and questions of location and space, I also contributed to a session in January to students from Slade School of Fine Art that Erika Tan arranged looking at the work of iniva and the library. In amongst other things I showed the work by Chris Cozier who is currently showing at David Krut Projects Gallery, New York (until March 16th). Chris as an artist, curator, writer and critic has started an online forum around his work with patterned concrete bricks.
Concrete bricks I hear you say – well most of us are familiar with these things – these bricks that act as ventilation in concrete houses in tropical spaces – found in verandahs, at the top of walls – often painted in contrast to the colours of baby blue, or intense pink we have come to associate with ‘modern’ concrete houses built whether in Ghana, Trinidad or Malaysia.  They are redolent of something more – of tropicalisation, of a the familiar architectural stuff of the South, they speak of materiality and modernity – something mass produced and evoking ‘development’ as Cozier’s title suggests.

Christopher Cozier (2013) dpattern 

There are some interesting contributions so far – of artworks as photographs, illustrations, animated gifs, spray painted interventions, proposals for a Caribbean and videos. See:
P&E[ Pinky & Emigrante ] What Remains – Feb 16th 2013
Nadia Huggins No Place Like Home – Jan 31st 2013
Ebony G. Patterson Obscuring spaces building borders… January 21st 2013
Feel free to contribute as I am about to…whilst looking for the traces of breeze brick patterns in the artists work in the library to share and debate with Cozier…

Some References found in the library and elsewhere about the artists below:
John Akomfrah
Grace Ndiritu
Isaac Julien
Erika Tan
Chris Cozier
Saer Maty Ba's publication De-Westernizing Film Studies (2012)