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Stuart Hall Foundation Third Annual Public Conversation: Resistance

Sat 8th Feb, 1 - 4.30pm, Conway Hall London

Our third Annual Public Conversation pursues this year's theme of Resistance through multiple lenses, providing a chance for questions and discussion, and punctuated with interventions and perspectives from a new generation of artists, scholars and cultural activists. 

The event, taking place on Saturday 8th February, will be introduced by the Stuart Hall Foundation's new Executive Director Ruth Borthwick, who will welcome multidisciplinary artist and designer Bahia Shehab to deliver the opening presentation.

Journalist and author Jack Shenker will then take to the stage for a keynote speech. Drawing on his deep reporting on grassroots movements in different parts of the world over recent years, Jack will tell the story of two young people several thousand miles apart – one in Manchester, England, another in Cairo, Egypt – to explore how the children of the financial crisis are fighting to widen their political imaginations, and often paying a heavy price in return. 

"We are living through a period of profound political instability, in which old paradigms are crumbling, and new ones struggling to be born. At this moment of both possibility and danger, what does ‘resistance’ look like to those seeking it on the ground, and what exactly are the forces ranged against them?" 
- Jack Shenker.

Investigative journalist Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi and sociologist Yusef Bakkali will respond and discuss as a panel chaired by Professor Ethel Brooks, with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and reflect on the day's theme.

The event will draw to a close with a performance from jazz pianist and composer Nikki Yeoh, then a chance to continue the conversation over refreshments at Conway Hall.

Doors open 12.45pm.

Speakers and Artists

Dr Yusef Bakkali is a Sociologist, working at the University of Brighton, but originally from Brixton, south London. Yusef has developed a research and teaching praxis focused around social justice and change. He hopes to encourage students and others to develop critical skills, cultivating fresh perspectives to aid them in tackling collective challenges. His academic work so far tends to focus around youth culture (in the shape of ‘road life’) and marginality in the UK. His first peer-reviewed article, published in The Sociological Review, outlined his novel concept of the ‘munpain’ highlighting the interconnectedness between historical injustice, political economy and serious youth violence. 

Ethel Brooks is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University. She has conducted research on a host of sites around the world including in London, Istanbul, Fall River, San Salvador, Dhaka and York City. Brooks is the author of Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organizing and Women’s Work (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) which received the award for Outstanding Book for 2010 from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the co-editor of the special issue of WSQ on "Activisms." Professor Brooks is currently working on two book projects: 'Disrupting the Nation: Land Tenure, Productivity and the Possibilities of a Romani Post-Coloniality', and '(Mis)Recognitions and (Un)Acknowledgements: Visualities, Productivities and the Contours of Romani Feminism', both of which focus on political economy and cultural production and the increasing violence against Romani (Gypsy) citizens worldwide.

Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi is an independent investigative journalist. Her work has been twice shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for political writing and her reporting (as part of a UK-wide investigation on the treatment of migrant women fleeing domestic violence) won a Refugee Council award and a Write to End Violence Against Women award. She has written for a range of publications over the course of her career including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New Statesman, the Independent, and Prospect magazine. She co-edits ‘Shine A Light’, an award-winning investigative journalism and storytelling project, which publishes on, and is writer-in-residence at Lacuna, a human rights magazine. Rebecca sits on the Women’s Budget Group Gender Commission and is a trustee of the Orwell Youth Prize. She has written, produced and presented the Migrants’ Law Project podcast, It Can Be Done. Rebecca was appointed the 2020 Stuart Hall Fellow at Sussex University.

Bahia Shehab is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and art historian. She is Professor of design and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo. Her artwork is concerned with identity and preserving cultural heritage. Through investigating Islamic art history, she reinterprets contemporary Arab politics, feminist discourse and social issues. Her work has been on display in exhibitions, galleries and streets internationally. The documentary ‘Nefertiti's Daughters’ featuring her street artwork during the Egyptian uprising was released in 2015. Her work has received a number of international recognitions and awards some of which include the BBC 100 Women list (2013), a TED Senior fellowship (2016), and a Prince Claus Award (2016). She is the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Her publications include ‘A Thousand Times NO: The Visual History of Lam-Alif’ (Khatt2010), ‘At The Corner of a Dream’ (Gingko Library 2019) and a co-authored book ‘A Historyof Arab Graphic Design’ (AUC Press 2020).

Jack Shenker is a journalist and author based in London and Cairo, who writes about politics and protest. His stories have won several international awards, and been translated into many languages. Formerly Egypt correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, his work has also covered Gaza, Africa, Central Asia, the US and the UK, and been published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines around the world including Granta, the London Review of Books and the New York Times, as well as being adapted into films by the BBC. In 2016 his first book, ‘The Egyptians: A Radical Story’, was published by Allen Lane and Penguin to critical acclaim. In 2018, Jack was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political journalism. His new book - 'Now We Have Your Attention' - a journey into Britain's ongoing political chaos from below - was published by The Bodley Head and Vintage Books in late 2019.

Nikki Yeoh is a creative free spirit who, although deeply rooted in the language of improvisation, is open to a range of music that leans as much to populism as it does high art. Since her emergence on the British jazz scene in the mid 90s pianist Nikki has proved to be an improviser, composer and all-round adventurer who has continually sought to broaden her musical horizons. Accomplished soloist as she is Nikki has also excelled as a composer; this is borne out by the number of very significant commissions. Among the most notable recent works, ‘Suite Of Seven Tunes’ based on the seven deadly sins, for the internationally renowned reeds virtuoso, John Sunman. ‘River Spirit’, which was written for The Oxford New College Boys Choir following a commission from Oxford Contemporary Music. In April 2017 Nikki received The Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year Award sponsored by Rathbones.