Tag Archives: Online Resource

Frederick Douglass in Britain: Online Teaching Resource

Frederick Douglass, c1847-52

Many thanks to postgraduate researcher Hannah-Rose Murray (MA Public History at Royal Holloway) for passing on this information about her research focused on Frederick Douglass’ time in Britain and the associated teaching resource that she has produced:

How many people in Britain have heard of Frederick Douglass? He is probably one of the most famous African Americans in the United States, but his sojourn in Britain has been largely forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic.

Born a slave in Maryland, he escaped and travelled to Britain between 1845-7, urging the British people to campaign against American slavery. Douglass created a sensation, and his experiences in this country deserve to be recognised. He was able to sharpen his powerful skills as an orator, and he established long-term friendships with British abolitionists, who supported him throughout his career as a social activist.

I first became aware of Douglass at University (2008). I read a speech by him, titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” This was a merciless attack on America’s concept of ‘liberty’, and I’ve been hooked ever since! For a Masters project, I created several teaching resources focusing on Douglass’s trip to Britain, and created a website – https://sites.google.com/site/frederickdouglassinbritain/

While I was researching Douglass, it became clear there was something missing – an analysis of the impact Douglass had on Britain. We can test this by reading contemporary newspapers, as they offer opinions on American slavery in general and on Douglass himself. Through this, we can understand how and why Douglass was so successful in Britain, particularly on a grassroots level. There are some great debates within the newspapers about slavery, and how far Britain should interfere, so it’s a great study of relations between the UK and the United States too.

This period of history is fascinating, and some of the controversies Douglass became involved in show that the issue of slavery was not confined to the American shore. For all of these reasons, I’m keen to spread the word about Frederick Douglass and his important trip here, to a British and an American audience!

A blue plaque to Frederick Douglass is currently being organised, with the tribute ceremony on 20February at Whitehead’s Grove, South Kensington. Currently, more donations are needed, so if you would like to make a contribution or find out more about the plaque, follow this link – http://www.nubianjak.com/default.aspx

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Euromight.com – Online Resource

We are pleased to present a new online resource: Euromight.com which: “…celebrates Europe’s citizens/residents who share African
heritage, telling their stories, discussing their concerns and marking
the events that are important to their everyday lives.
We report original stories from a wide network of contributors across
the EU and curate content which focuses on the Afro-European
experience. We are mindful of our role as educators in this process
since much of the content we produce is not readily available in
Europe and beyond.”

As such Euromight.com has recently been selected by the British Library as a site of importance which will take part in their UK Web Archives project. This project will preserve selected sites for permanent use in the future and seeks to conserve websites that publish research,  that reflect the diversity of lives, interests and activities  throughout the UK, and demonstrate web innovation.

Some recent exclusive stories on Euromight.com have included:

CONFRONTING INEQUALITY IN GREECE –

http://www.euromight.com/greeceinequality.php

BLACKS IN NORTHERN IRELAND FIND THEIR VOICE –
http://www.euromight.com/afroirish.php

FRENCH ACTIVIST TACKLES RACISM – http://www.euromight.com/rokhayadiallo.php

Thanks to Olive Vassell – founder and managing editor of Euromight.com – for passing on the information about this great resource.

Haitilab Co-Directors Speak

A beautiful work created by Edouard Duval-Carrié collaboratively with researchers involved in Haitilab. Click here to find out more about this artwork: http://fhi.duke.edu/haitiamber/

This week’s video post features two interviews each with one of the co-directors of Haitilab: professors Laurent Dubois (History and Romance Studies) and Deborah Jenson (French and Romance Studies). Haitilab is the first humanities laboratory at John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute of Duke University and is an exciting model for the development and integration of humanities research at universities across all levels from undergraduate upwards. “The lab merges research, education, and practical applications of innovative thinking for Haiti’s disaster recovery and for the expansion of Haitian studies in the U.S. and Haiti … and is also a resource for media outlets seeking to gain knowledge of Haiti.”

Laurent Dubois on “Left of Black”

Mark Anthony Neal (African and African-American Studies, Duke) recently hosted Laurent Dubois on his popular web series Left of Black. The occasion is the recent publication of Dubois’s latest book, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History. Among other things, Dubois talked about the rich – and ambivalent – history of African American-Haitian cultural and political connections, from Frederick Douglass’s ambassadorship onward. The Haiti Lab was also on the agenda!”

Office Hours with Deborah Jenson on ‘Recovering Haiti’

In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti Deborah Jenson was interviewed as part of one of Duke University’s regular online features: Office Hours.

Click here to view a rich variety of other great resources produced through Haitilab – including, essays, additional videos and related media coverage.

Both co-directors have recently published new books to find out more click the links below:

Laurent Dubois, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Deborah Jenson, Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution

Open Arts Archive Publish Video and Audio Online

New audio and video files on a wide variety of themes have been added to the Open Arts Archive recently to join with an established archive of resources. These include:

Contemporary Art: World Currents – Panel Discussion

“This panel discussion, in collaboration with the Open University, explores Terry Smith’s book Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King, 2011).

It was part of a launch for the book given by Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Speakers include: art historians Terry Smith, Anthony Downey and Leon Wainwright, and Tessa Jackson, OBE, Director of the Institute for International Visual Arts (inIVA).”

Leon Wainwright offering some thoughts on ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’

“This recording was made on the occasion of the exhibition Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire, at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, from 15 January to 11 April, 2010, and played on an audio loop for visitors alongside the display. Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire was curated by Reyahn King (Director of Art Galleries, National Museums Liverpool) and Leon Wainwright (Dept. of Art History, The Open University). It was the first nationally-funded, major retrospective exhibition of the Guyana-born painter (1926-1990). In the recording Leon Wainwright offers some thoughts on a painting by Aubrey Williams, his ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’ of 1984, one of the artist’s Olmec-Maya series (oil on canvas, 119 x 178 cm).”

Click here to read Leon Wainwright’s 2010 catalogue contribution for this exhibition, Aubrey Williams: Atlantic fire.

Rashid Rana and David Elliot in Conversation

“On Saturday 1st October 2011, as part of ‘Rashid Rana: Everything Is Happening At Once’ exhibition at The Cornerhouse, Manchester artist Rashid Rana was joined in conversation with David Elliott, a freelance international curator based in Hong Kong and Berlin.

A small audience heard a presentation by the artist of his practice. The event was presented as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011 with the support of the Lisson Gallery.”

3rd Edition of Journal: SAVVY | art.contemporary.african.

Out Now: 3rd Edition of SAVVY Journal for Critical Texts on Contemporary African Art

SAVVY | art.contemporary.african. (ISSN 2191-4362)

Title: Art and politics – An inseparable couple? The fire behind the smoke called political art. 

Talking about politics and Africa is always crackling. Talking about politics and art is always a guarantee for a hot debate. Then of course talking about art, politics and Africa is a recipe for an electrifying discourse. An objective and constructive critique without pledging any predetermined allegiance to a specific school of thought is an important ingredient in this recipe.

What is for certain is, arts and politics are not of different planets. They share the same playground, they are not antagonistic but complementary to each other and usually co-exist in a symbiotic relationship… and that was evident in many of the texts we received. Surprisingly, we received no article claiming the independence of art from politics or propagating „l’art pour l’art“. Is art for art sake a blunt imagination or is it just not an African issue? Art is known to be able to reflect, in one way or the other – consciously or unconsciously, the socio-political, physical or psychological context in which an artist finds him-/herself. Art and the so-called „Schaffensdrang“ have to do with a need to create, and often this need stems from a reaction to one’s immediate or extended surrounding.

The authors in this edition tackled the issue from diverse perspectives, ranging from the economics of politics to humour as a tool for political expression. While Emeka Okereke contemplates the usage of the terminology „Contemporary African Art“, Kangsen Wakai investigates the myth of the trans-atlantic Afro-Diasporic constellation Otabenga Jones and Associates, Sebastian Weier ironises in his reflection on African art as a class struggle and the poet Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso gives a philosophical background to arts and politics. This edition also features enquiries into the works of Moridja Kitenge Banza, Robin Rhode, Steve Bandoma, Uche Okeke and Guy Woueté’s politico-economic quest. Apart from interviews with designer Serge Mouangue and photographer Dimitri Fagbohoun you can also read reviews on exhibitions by David Goldblatt, Leo Asemota, Jürgen Schadeberg, Temitayo Ogunbiyi and many more.

Even though socio-political issues play a vital role in Contemporary African Art it would be an enormous mistake for any one to limit Contemporary African Art to political and social frames, thus neglecting the profound aesthetic value, twist of irony and emotionality many do possess.

SAVVY Online Journal offers a limited print version for collectors (50 copies) – acquirable for 50€/journal.

The bike is in your court, ride it!

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (PhD) | Editor-in-chief

Andrea Heister (M.A.) | Deputy editor-in-chief

Contributors: Kangsen Feka Wakai, Emeka Okereke, Sebastian Weier, Ezeiyoke Chukwononso, Fenneken Veldkamp, Bhavisha Panchia, Salvatore Falci, Patrick Tankama, Guy Woueté, Moyo Okediji, Prune Helfter, Yves Chatap, M. Neelika Jayawardane, Simon Raven, Dietrich Heißenbüttel, Daniele G. Daude | Nina Wichmann (proofreading) | Johanna Ndikung, Ioana Muntenescu, Ekpenyong Ani (translation)

Graphic Design – Guy Dollman | Web Design – Alice Motanga

Acknowledgements: Marc-André Schmachtel, Nina Tsonkidou and Clara Giacalone

Support: Goethe Institute Lagos

Exhibition: The Bearden Project

To mark the centennial year of Romare Bearden’s birth, begun in September 2011, the Studio Museum in Harlem has initiated The Bearden Project: an exhibition which celebrates the profound influence of this great artist on successive generations of art-makers.

Each contemporary artist represented in the show was asked to produce a work of art inspired by Bearden’s life and legacy. The artists mined a wide range of ideas and themes associated with Bearden’s career, including Modernism, urbanism, jazz and, of course, the medium of collage. The majority chose to make new works for the exhibition, while others submitted earlier works that honor or were inspired by Bearden.

There is an innovative online element to this project: Each week 10 featured artists from the exhibition will be highlighted online and high resolution images of their work will be available to view alongside their narrative of inspiration through Bearden’s work.

The Studio Museum Harlem’s exhibition is unsurprisingly not the only event to be celebrating the work of this twentieth century American master. More information about the variety of exhibitions being held across North America to celebrate can be found at beardencentennial.org, alongside information about events, and images of 100 of Bearden’s artworks each selected by contemporary artists and made available to view online.

A Voodoo Memory

Here’s your second Video of the Week installment. This week an in-depth documentary via culture unplugged.com : A Voodoo Memory. This weeks video documents the Collection of Voodoo Objects acquired by Port-au-Prince resident Marianne Lehmann during a period of  more than 30 years and was directed by Irene Lichtenstein.

“Born in Kirchberg in the canton of Bern (Switzerland), Marianne Lehmann settled in Port-au-Prince in 1957 after marrying a Haitian national. She started collecting voodoo objects in 1970, out of an early fascination for this culture and in an attempt to prevent them from being sold abroad. Over the years, she has built the most important collection in the world. A voodoo heritage reveals the beauty and signification of these pieces, highlights the link between voodoo and the emancipation of the Haitian people, and draws a unique portrait of this 70-year old woman still imbued with a youthful spirit.” (description via culture unplugged.com)

Click the image above to watch this documentary in full at culture unplugged.com