Date and Time

19th July 2022



Speakers and Artists
  • Lisa Anderson
  • Ian Sergeant
  • Marlene Smith
  • Amahra Spence
  • Gilane Tawadros

What is the word ‘Black’ in ‘Black Cultural Institutions’? Why does it seem like there are so few black-led arts organisations in the UK that are outside of London? What does it mean to operate within or without the mainstream? We invite an intergenerational panel to come together and reflect on the challenges of building and sustaining Black arts and culture institutions in Britain.

The conversation will be chaired by art curator Ian Sergeant, and will feature Gilane Tawadros, Chair of the Stuart Hall Foundation, Lisa Anderson, Director of the Black Cultural Archive, Marlene Smith, former member of the BLK Art Group and current Director of The Room Next to Mine, and MAIA Group’s Creative Director, Amahra Spence.

‘#ReconstructionWork: Building Black Cultural Institutions’ is supported by Arts Council England.

This event will take place online.

Live closed captions will be provided.

Read more about the #ReconstructionWork project and watch all previous conversations here.

Speakers and Artists

Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson is the Interim Managing Director for The Black Cultural Archives. An independent art curator, consultant, and champion for Black British Art, Lisa founded @blackbritishart; a curatorial platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting the breadth of art practice by Black artists in Britain. In 2019 she established Lisa Anderson Art Advisory to advise collectors with a special interest in Black British Art. Lisa is on the advisory boards of Addis Fine Art and Uchenna Dance. She is also a Trustee of Araba Scott Children’s Foundation. Prior to BCA Lisa developed a successful career in fundraising and business development, most recently as the Corporate Partnerships Lead at The Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

Ian Sergeant

Ian Sergeant has an MA in Contemporary Curatorial Practice from the School of Art, Birmingham City University. In June 2022, Birmingham City University awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree for his practice-based research titled Visual Representations and Cultural (Re) Constructions of Black British Masculinities in 21st Century Birmingham.
Ian is a freelance curator, and recent exhibitions include Reimaging Donald Rodney at Vivid Projects (2016), Donald Rodney at Celine Gallery, Glasgow International (2021) and Cut & Mix, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2021). In addition, as a curator in residence for Coventry Biennial (2021), he delivered Interference:s an illustrated public discussion about the BLK Art Group and their legacy. Current curatorial projects in 2022 include: Co-curator with the Black Art Group Research Project for the Birmingham 2022 Festival’s Black Art public art commission taking place in Coventry and Wolverhampton; Co-curator for the Blk Art Group exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery 2023; Curator for Coventry Biennial 2023.
He is a member of the Executive Advisory Group for New Art West Midlands and Film Hub Midlands Advisory Group. He is a director of performing and visual arts organisation Kalaboration and on the board of directors for Vivid Projects, a non-profit company supporting media arts practice and artist-led exhibition space Ort Gallery. Ian is a member of the Blk Art Group Research Project, established in 2011 by former Blk Art Group members Claudette Johnson, Marlene Smith and Keith Piper.

Marlene Smith

Marlene Smith is a British artist and curator. She was a member of the Blk Art Group in the 1980s and is one of the founding members of the BLK Art Group Research Project. She was director of The Public in West Bromwich and UK Research Manager for Black Artists and Modernism, a collaborative research project run by the University of the Arts London and Middlesex University. She is Director of The Room Next to Mine, and was an Associate of Lubaina Himid’s Making Histories Visible Project and Associate Artist at Modern Art Oxford.

Amahra Spence

Amahra Spence [she/her] is an artist, organiser, designer for social justice movements and spatial practitioner. Her work explores the relationships between imagination and liberation, particularly through the lens of spatial practice, abolition and collectivism.

In 2013, Amahra started MAIA to explore the role of artists in liberation work. In 2020, they opened YARD, a community hub and residency space in Birmingham. They are currently developing an artist-led hotel, ABUELOS.

Amahra is also the organiser of The Black Land + Spatial Justice Project and is currently developing Architectures of Abolition.

Gilane Tawadros

Gilane Tawadros is the Director of the Whitechapel Gallery. She is a curator and writer and was the founding Director of the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva) which Stuart Hall chaired for over a decade. She is currently working on an anthology of Stuart Hall’s writings on the visual arts and culture. She was previously the Chief Executive of DACS, a not-for-profit visual artists rights management organisation.