From 17th – 20th January, I participated in a glorious gathering of international scholars, educators and creative practitioners who came together at the conference Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West for a critical opportunity to reflect, revisit and reframe. The conference premise was described as follows:

“Paris, an internationally key and highly influential Western space in all things concerning the arts and modernity, is the perfect stage for Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West, the fifth in the series of conferences organized by Harvard University and NYU since 2004. Black Portraiture[s] explores the ideas of the production and skill of self-representation, desire, and the exchange of the gaze from the 19th century to the present day in fashion, film, art, and the archives.

How are these images, both positive and negative, exposed to define, replicate, and transform the black body? Why and how does the black body become a purchasable global marketplace and what are its legacies? Also importantly, what are the responses and implications? How can performing blackness be liberatingforperformerandaudience? Cantheblackbodybede-racializedto emphasize cultural groupings encouraging appropriation and varied performers across racial lines?

How the black body has been imagined in the West has always been a rich site for global examination and contestation. The representation and depiction of black peoples often has been governed by prevailing attitudes about race and sexuality. The conference draws on the ideas and works of leading and emerging writers, photographers, scholars, artists, curators and filmmakers of our time and includes a broader discussion of Africa in the popular imagination. It is also significant that this project revolves around collaboration.”

The full programme can be DOWNLOADED HERE.

I spoke on Saturday 19th at the Musée du Quai Branly on a panel entitled: “Intricate Intersections: Black apparitions in imperial Europe”. Here I gave a short presentation exploring the role and presence of Black characters in Georgian caricature.
You can LISTEN HERE to the whole panel discussion, which includes my presentation, on this dedicated page on the Museum website. (Scroll down to the 1st session under the heading: Écouter les interventions du colloque – Cinéma”