Stories Uncovered 26th September – 6th December 2016 Tate Britain

Today we presented our video to the public at Tate Britain. Stories Uncovered has been a year in the making, full of exciting new experiences and new friends. Our video will be on display in the Learning Gallery at Tate Britain until 9th December 2016, and you can watch a shorter version online on the Tate website.

Filming #StoriesUncovered

Today was the filming day for #StoriesUncovered with the Tate Collective. Along with Reel Nice, representatives from 6 London-based arts youth groups have been developing a video project exploring the practice of archiving from the perspective of young people.

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Our idea questions whether social media platforms can be considered as modern day archives; we document our lives more than any other generation through photos, videos, and online posts, creating personal archives. Some key themes that we wanted to examine were how do we choose what to archive/publish online, and what this says about our identities?

We interviewed members of the pubic about their personal use of social media as a modern day archive, and heard a range of perspectives. The results will be shown on the Tate website and displayed in the Learning gallery at Tate Britain later this year.

Les Blancs – Review

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I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to watch
Lorraine Hansberry’s play, Les Blancs, at the National Theatre in April. The
play has received several rave reviews for its compelling and provocative
portrayal of racial identity. At a Youth Forum meeting at the Black Cultural Archives (BCA),
we discussed the play and these are some of the points that were raised.

As we took our seats in the theatre, we embarked on an evening of fascinating sensory experience. The lighting was stark. The air was thick
with smoke, incense, and folk song. The staging was simple but effective, with
the drama unfolding around a wooden ranch. Along with a strong cast, the audience
was introduced to the protagonist, Tshembe Matoseh played by Danny Sapani, who returns
to Africa from his travels in Europe to attend his father’s funeral.

The lighting dims as the set revolves in a clockwise
direction, which we discussed as being the passage of time throughout the play,
though we were unaware as to when or where the story was taking place. The opening
scene drags us into a fictional African country towards the end of a British
colonial mission project. While we might not know what country this is exactly,
we are however all too aware of nations that match the profile, so can begin to
make connections to histories that we’re aware of. Our guesses ranged from
Kenya to South Africa as we tried to locate the play.

The Forum also took its best guess at defining the role of
‘the woman’ played by Sheila Atim. She was the striking, statuesque figure that
wandered eerily from scene to scene, who seemed to symbolise the past in some
way. Atim’s haunting performance left no doubt in our imagination that she was
a spectre of some sort. Her ghostly presence isn’t recognised by the cast, and
only the audience can see her. ‘The woman’ climbs on Tshembe’s back in a scene
mid-play, ensnaring him within the grip of her legs. This sensual act led the Youth
Forum to discuss whether she was the ghost of a past lover whose memory Tshembe
couldn’t forget. Her arms also cradle the lead — perhaps the ghost of his
mother whom we assume deceased.  This
maternal and nurturing gesture from ‘the woman’ also led to consideration from
us that she was a figurative representation of Africa, welcoming her son back
to his place of birth. This undefined character, lurking barefoot in her near
bare costume and peering through the audience with her lifeless expression, also
made us think that she was perhaps the ghost of a slave, a plagued memory of a
painful past intended to discomfort the audience. A Youth Forum member
challenged this reading as problematic as it embodies of Africa as a slave —
Africa is more than this!

This sentiment expressed at the Youth Forum meeting at BCA
was a recurring theme in the conversations we had after viewing: what is
Africa? What should Africa be? Who decides what Africa is and what it should be?
Les Blancs challenges how we (think we) view Africa, and serves as a critique
of varying discourses represented in the play that compete to provide a
definitive answer to the questions posed. Tshembe negotiates the unequivocally
racist ideology of the English colonisers whose mission it is to civilise, as well as the dogmatic
direction desired by his naïve brother turned clergyman, and what we concluded
as the unaccounted for vision of the play’s overly simplified native black
population whose intentions beyond rebellion we didn’t learn. Perhaps there has
never been a need for the last group examined here to have a given set of
ideals to determine the future of their land. Similarly, the audience as
spectators aren’t owed an explanation that they can easily comprehend as to
what the country means to its native population.

Raising these complex questions and tackling these difficult
themes masterfully is the success of Les Blancs. Not only is the play
relentlessly thought provoking, it’s also full of powerful imagery and
formidable acting. I hope that the discussions surrounding race, history and
the future will long continue, as they will do in the Youth Forum at BCA.

The Philoshophy of Montage (00:03:25)

– Discrete elements / fragments coming together

– The 3rd Medium – when things collide, a synthesis is engineered and a new form / meaning/ way emergees.

Archive and Documentary (00:04:30)

– Archives are memory banks

– The image is a way in which to immortalise an event in our consciousness

– Documentary is an attempt to capture something that you’re worried will die and want it to live

Handsworth Songs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8ASpMYEeHE

Archives & Access: Stories Uncovered

I’ve been attending the Youth Forum at the Black Cultural
Archives (BCA) for a few months, and we’ve recently been developing a
project in collaboration with the Tate Collective’s Archives &
Access learning outreach programme. The theme of the project is ‘Stories
Uncovered’, and it aims to explore London’s heritage through the eyes
of young people. The programme runs from November 2015 – September 2016,
in which time BCA and five other organisations will host a workshop
exploring themes of local heritage.

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All participating groups attended a day of workshops at
Tate Britain on Saturday 16th April. There I presented the idea we at
BCA have been developing to the organisers and participants of the
programme. We’ve chosen to explore the theme of youth activism, using
the archives at BCA to explore the involvement of young black Londoners
in local politics.

As well as presenting our project, we had the opportunity
to share ideas with the other groups and learned how to effectively run a
workshop by identifying our audience and setting measurable goals and
outcomes. We also had the opportunity to explore the Tate’s physical and
digital archives and identify materials that could help us in our
research.

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Locating Multiculturalism in Britain and Madrid

My personal project developed whilst working at Matadero Madrid in the Art Programme Department. I was involved in the coordination of the institution’s exhibitions and international artist residency programme El Ranchito. I had initially been concerned with multiculturalism and representation of black and minority ethnic groups in the arts from a British perspective, and wanted to challenge my understanding within a Spanish context.

I came to Madrid not knowing a great deal about the city, but I managed to find there the bare essentials of London — a tube network, buses, shops — so I immediately felt at home. I didn’t however expect to feel so comfortable in terms of my cultural identity. Born in Britain and of Jamaican heritage, living and working in Madrid, I was simply another Madrileño in a global city that represents the diversity of the Hispanic world. Therefore speaking Spanish in Madrid, I could have come from any one of the 21 Spanish speaking countries and was accepted by many residents under various Latin American guises.

I learned that Madrid is a culturally ‘neutral’ city, with people constantly coming and going. I therefore shouldn’t have been surprised, as I was, to see established Asian communities in La Latina, African communities in Lavapies, and Caribbean communities in Legazpi. With a personal connection to all of these cultures, I found it easy to find the various food products that I am used to and adopt a shared sense of local identity, whilst at the same time maintaining my own sense of British-Jamaican cultural identity.

Although I got the sense that perhaps I was one of very few people of Jamaican origin in Madrid, I managed to approximate my culture with that of the Dominican Republic at Kukaramakara — a restaurant where I ordered ‘pica pollo con platanos’ (fried chicken with plantain) — which was served typically as a Caribbean supersized portion. I also managed to locate essences of Jamaican Reggae music and dance at Templo Afro, based in the graffiti tunnels of La Tabacalera, and also at Wosap dance studios in Lavapies.

Exploring cultural and ethnic identity in Madrid via food, music and dance, I found that speaking of the city as international or global provided a more helpful discourse than the rhetoric of multiculturalism. Although various districts in Madrid are locally recognised by their respective ethnic establishments, there doesn’t seem to be a need for a Chinatown or some other sort of glaring multicultural beacon. I struggled to find labels such as BME or BAME helpful when exploring the arts in Madrid. In other words, I couldn’t easily identify any black and minority ethnic art or cultural institution in Madrid. The furthest I got in this endeavour was to pan-national outposts such as Casa Latina and Casa Arabe, among others.

From my limited time working at Matadero Madrid, I found that within the art communities, black artists and cultural practitioners were only differentiated as being such when represented in cultural events branded as international, such as ‘Madrid es Negro’ and ‘Black is Back’ at Matadero Madrid. I take from this then, that artists practising locally in Madrid are not categorised by their ethnicity, which may be why my application of British terminology to the arts in Spain proved unhelpful at first. This being said, I also discovered that it wasn’t the case that black artists weren’t represented outside of those international cultural events, rather that their ethnicity wasn’t an immediate factor when displaying their work. I came to this conclusion from working on Matadero Madrid’s international artist residency programme and researching their past events. This demonstrated to me that the national background or geographic location of where the artist practised was focused upon, as opposed to the artist’s ethnicity or race.

This has led me to believe that Madrid’s art communities are concerned with the local and international aspect of artists rather than their ethnicity, which in turn makes me rethink our approach to multiculturalism and cultural diversity in Britain. Should race and ethnicity be a factor in the work of cultural institutions? Are terms in the arts such as BME and BAME divisive within Britain? Does our established model of multiculturalism help to best represent cultural diversity in the arts?

As cultural diversity has become a more important factor in the funding of British arts institutions, and the publishing of BBC 1xtra’s power list last week has lead us to question the place of black and minority ethnic groups in British culture, it is important, if not at least interesting, to compare our multicultural approach with other multiethnic societies in Europe.

TRANSLATION AS A TOOL FOR INCLUSION/EXCLUSION IN A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY

Date:
20 June 2014 – 20 June 2014
Time: 9.00am – 5.30pm
Location:

Image of dictionary definition for translation

Public service translation (also known as ‘community translation’) is emerging as an important, distinct sub-field in translation studies. Its focus on the translation of texts produced by public services for the benefit of speakers of less-established languages makes it a particularly relevant research area in today’s globalizing world. In a multicultural society decisions about what is translated – and how the translation is done – have far-reaching implications for the inclusion and exclusion of certain communities and/or community members.

Online registration: http://tc2014.eventbrite.com

SPEAKERS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

  • Clarisse Costa Afonso (New University of Lisbon)
    Socio-cultural diversity and translation: How accurate is the translation of cultures?
  • Sarah Eardley-Weaver (Queen’s University Belfast)
    Opera translation and inclusion for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing
  • H. Pierre Hsieh (University College Cork)
    The community translator as the cost controller — an economic perspective for translation studies
  • Raquel Lazaro Gutierrez (University of Alcala)
    Analysis of healthcare videos  addressed towards migrant population in Spain
  • Alice Leal (University of Vienna)
    The European Union and translation: monolingualism, multilingualism and English as a lingua franca
  • Erin M. Lyons (BiomedNouvelle)
    A voice in the crowd: harnessing crowdsourcing translation applications for social good
  • Katrina Mayfield (Cambridgeshire Constabulary)
    Translation as a communication tool in the police environment
  • Daniele Orlando (University of Trieste)
    Legal translation as a human right: ensuring a fair trial through translation quality and training
  • Carmen Pena Diaz (University of Alcala)
    PSIT as a social integration tool
  • Maria Sierra Cordoba Serrano (Monterey Institute)
    Translation policies, community translation and community translation training in the US
  • Claudia Sonaglio (University of East Anglia)
    Ideologies in cultural institutions: the role of translation in reproducing the museum’s voice
  • Daniel Tomozeiu (University of Westminster)
    Challenges in defining “community” for community translation
  • Brooke Townsley (Middlesex University)
    Community translation: an examination of practice and praxis
  • Svetlana V. Vlasenko (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
    Where ‘fiscal’ Cannot Mean ‘financial’: including a Word – excluding the meaningful effort
  • Catherine Vieilledent-Monfort (DGT)
    Language policy and public service translation: the case of European multilingualism
  • Zhiwei WU (Guangdong University)
    Towards the professionalization of public service translators in China: education and certification

Speakers are to be confirmed. Full programme will be made available shortly.