Date and Time

31st May 2022



Speakers and Artists
  • Barby Asante
  • Shawn Sobers

The state backlash against the mass protests for racial justice in June 2020 is well underway. A reaction punctuated by the recent passing of the Police, Crimes and Sentencing Bill, which has increased the maximum penalty for criminal damage to a memorial from three months to ten years. As the state rushes to protect its memorials, this conversation focuses on questions of memory to ask: who speaks for the past?

For the next event in the #ReconstructionWork series, the Stuart Hall Foundation welcomes artists and educators Barby Asante and Shawn Sobers to discuss the ways in which events can be remembered and misremembered, offering a space to interrogate the politics of memory.

‘#ReconstructionWork: Whose Memorials?’ is produced in partnership with the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE).

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.

About CoDE

The Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) is an ESRC funded research centre providing theoretically informed, empirically grounded and policy-relevant research on ethnic inequalities in the UK. They bring together expertise from a range of disciplines including sociology, demography, economics, history, geography, political science, cultural studies and seek to communicate their research to a wide range of audiences.

CoDE has recently launched EVENS – Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS). This is the UK’s first and largest survey of its kind to document the impact of Covid-19, and the lockdowns, on 17,000 ethnic and religious minority people.

Speakers and Artists

Barby Asante

Barby Asante is a London-based artist, curator and educator. Her work is concerned with the politics of place, spatial memory, and the history and continuing legacies of colonialism and slavery. Barby’s work is collaborative, performative and dialogic, often working with groups of people as contributors, collaborators or co-researchers. She resists the idea that the stories of ‘Other-ness’ are alternatives to dominant narratives. For her, these stories and narratives are interruptions, utterances, and presences within the dominant, invisible, unheard, missing or ignored. By making these narratives and stories visible, asking questions and making proposals she is interested in what these possibilities offer as we examine our present and envision our futures. With a deep interest in liberatory black feminist and decolonial methodologies, Asante embeds within her work notions of collective study, countless ways of knowing and dialogical practices that embrace being together and breathing together as a grounding for working together, creatively and as a way to think about social change and transformation. Recent projects include To Make Love is to Recreate Ourselves Over and Over Again: A Soliloquy to Heartbreak (2021, Untitled, Kettle’s Yard),  Declaration of Independence (2017 onwards BALTIC, Bergan Kunsthall, Brent Biennale) and Baldwin’s Nigger Reloaded (2014-onward, Iniva, Art Rotterdam, Get Up Stand Up Now, Somerset House). She is also a Practice-Based PhD Researcher at CREAM University of Westminster, a lecturer in Fine Art, Critical Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London and a trustee of 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.

Shawn Sobers

Dr Shawn Sobers is Professor of Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice at the University of the West of England, He is a filmmaker, photographer, writer and lecturer. His research is primarily concerned with the use of media and arts in participatory education, advocacy, heritage, marginalised voices and untold stories. He has chapters and articles published in peer reviewed journals and books, and has spoken at a wide range of conferences. Shawn’s research has spanned a wide range of diverse topics, from the use of youth media in informal education, through to using media as an ethnographic research tool exploring subjects such as the legacy of the slave trade, through to disability issues and walking, and Rastafari culture. He co-founded Firstborn Creatives production company in 1999, and has made programmes for BBC 1, ITV West and Channel 4. Much of Shawn’s work is positioned within the discourses of participatory methodologies, community media, autoethnography and visual anthropology.