A Diaspora Situation: The Americas and the Caribbean
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre
SOAS University of London
10 Thornhaugh Street London WC1H 0XG
A Diaspora Situation: The Americas and the Caribbean
11th March 2023 @ SOAS
After defining our various Pan-African(isms) and addressing the various conflicts facing the Continent, we will now focus on the Exterior.
On March 11th 2023, the Tribe Name Athari is back at SOAS for another Pan-African Congress: Part 3, titled A Diaspora Situation: The Americas and the Caribbean will focus on the exterior picture, more specifically, Black, Afrodescendant and African heritage communities within these regions.
For the first part of the day, we will be hearing perspectives from Northern America, Central and Southern America and the Caribbean. When we review the idea of Pan-Africanism, we must understand that the idea was cultivated by the diaspora and as such in Pan-African conversations, we cannot understand the various linkages, histories and futures without including the diaspora. Our strands of Pan-Africanism are not just reduced to the continent/landmass – there is a wider encompassing of our various isms across the globe. What role does the diaspora play, if any? Is a departure back to the landmass possible? Does it matter? The second part of the day will see us return to regular scheduling as we discuss the Diasporic Situation symposium-wide.
Our point still stands. It is essential that individuals seeking the betterment of Black, Afrodescendant and African heritage livelihoods now come together collectively, to create a pragmatic picture in their minds and improve their practices.
After the symposium proceedings, there will be an after-party being held at the Africa Centre, which will begin at 18:00. Please note that an after-party ticket can only be purchased alongside attendance to the symposium.
Weyland McKenzie-Witter is a multidisciplinary audio artist and creative producer from London. He began his career as an assistant producer on the BBC Sounds Commissioning team. As an audio producer, he has produced on Small Axe: The Podcast the companion for Steve McQueen’s award-winning series, BBC’s # 1 podcast Obsessed With Line of Duty, Spotify’s award-winning Decode, a series called The Echoic Archive for Somerset House. Weyland uses his audio production work as a means to interrogate history, society and educate listeners. Weyland was nominated for the “Best New Producer” award at the 2021 Audio Production Awards. In 2022, as well as working for The Guardian, Weyland’s production house (NELLO) produced their first series titled “ Assata’s Chant and Other Histories” and the accompanying audio-visual installation of the same name which was shown at the Roundhouse. The series has been used as a learning resource in schools in the UK and US, Nello has also ran Workshops with A-level history using the content from the series As a musician Weyland has created music for international Ad campaigns for Just Eat, Samsung and more.
Kandre Arámidẹ Hassan:
Kandre Arámidẹ Hassan is a 21 year old Nigerian contemporary visual artist and self described cultural conversationalist, raised and based in Brixton South London. She is a recent graduate of Bachelor of Social Science Social Anthropology at The University of Manchester and has been awarded the Engaged Anthropology Dissertation Prize for her thesis, ‘Embodying Decoloniality in Museum Practice: Yoruba-Diaspora Women & Spiritual Objects in Ritual.’
Her cultural research and practice centers around Afro-diasporic experiences, including Black Identities in South and Central America. Typical themes you’ll find across her work are self discovery, spirituality & material culture.
JK Abuah is a North West London-born Ghanaian Black feminist political historian, archivist, chef, and community organiser. Formerly serving as Vice President and LGBTQ+ officer of Warwick Anti-Racism Society, whilst obtaining their undergraduate degree in Politics and International Studies, and currently community organising in Accra, Ghana, their commitment to the African diaspora manifests at every level of their interdisciplinary practice.
JK’s research explores how Black and Indigenous women’s use of food as a form of both domestic and cultural work also serves as an act of resistance; locating home in a history of forced displacement. JK’s practice emphasises the Atlantic Ocean as a geographic region that marks the birthplace of a creolised African culture.
JK’s interest in the palate and culinary history is derived from their families’ generational, growing tradition in the Western Region of Ghana and forms the basis of their ongoing digital archive and interdisciplinary journal “Rice and Beans”. An abstract and freeform project, “Rice and Beans” dances with the endless materiality of the ocean, whilst firmly rooting itself on the land.
The land practice which JK seeks to build, in a socio-geographical climate that rewards claiming, owning, and consuming things, is one of spatial liberation and emancipatory strategies, devoid of territoriality.
Kiara ‘KiKi’ Gilbert is a graduate student at the London School of Economics, where she studies the embodied philosophies of the oppressed. Her research is rooted in the lived experiences and philosophies of Afro-diasporic communities. She is a current US-UK Marshall Scholar and a Barbican Young Poet.
A writer, creator, and grower, Carmen Freeman creates work that focuses on Indigenous and African American relations, spirituality, political theory and the complexities of everyday life.
With a B.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Political Thought, much of her works centre the political intersections of Indigenous identities and the Land Back movement with African American involvement in those movements. Steeped in the framework of using Indigenous ontologies, much of Carmen’s work is based in spiritual understanding and practice.
Outside of Academia, she channels her talents in many ways, one being volleyball. A former college athlete, Carmen has been a volleyball player and coach in the US and the UK for both youth and adults.
Her green thumb should not be underestimated. She has been an avid grower following in the footsteps of her grandmother and has been gardening since she was 5 years old. To work in her passion, Carmen has worked as the “Lead Grower” at the Ital Garden with Coco Collective, helping to facilitate the growth of Afro-heritage and diaspora crops in London.
Artistically, she has continued to explore means of expression while facilitating others’ exposure through the creation of “Thoughts & Prayers”, an arts magazine that follows radical uses of art in different cities for each issue. The first issue is set to come out in the summer of 2023.
Alicia DeLarge is a Production Designer based in Philadelphia, Pa, with a mission to serve her community by curating immersive and engaging environments to share and elevate necessary Black narratives through the art of physical storytelling. She has been trusted to design narratives for brands such as Google, Facebook, and McDonald’s; and networks such as HBO, Lifetime, and Netflix. After graduating from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in Film Design and Production, she has had the honour and the opportunity to attend the Royal College of Art in London, UK where she is majoring in Curating Contemporary Art to allow her to continue to use her gift of design to serve her community.
Isaiah Springer 24, is a recent graduate of Politics at Coventry University residing in Brixton, South London. As a self-described Socialist, anti-racist and Pan-African. Isaiah’s main political interests surround economic freedom, racial justice and climate change. Isaiah has a heritage in South America (Guyana) and the Caribbean (Dominica & Saint Kitts & Nevis)
Destinie Paige is a British Cuban-Jamaican director, photographer and set designer whose work explores the unseen beauty in the everyday experiences of women and people of colour. Using photography, film and set design, her imagery has a trademark use of rich colours and elaborate staging that playfully blends inspirations from cinema and fashion to redefine the picture of black culture and femininity.
A recent graduate from Ravensbourne University London. During a highly successful 2020, she was featured in Vogue, Grazia and the Evening Standard. In February 2022, she curated her debut exhibition ‘Black Bxy Joy’ at the Photographic centre, Photofusion. Destinie’s fashion film ‘A Kind of Woman’, an ode to plus-sized Black women in fashion, empowering a new vision of femininity that caters to all sizes was recently screened at the V&A in August 2022.
Leah Trotman (she/her/hers) was born and raised in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She is a recent master’s graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Master of Science in Health and International Development. Prior to this degree, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Agnes Scott College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in Public Health.
Over the past five years, Leah’s research and practical work have centred on the impacts of (un)natural disasters (and other climate change-related events) on health and development in the Caribbean and Latin America. Other substantial regional research efforts have focused on brain drain and gun violence. Using a sociopolitical lens, she hopes to enact effective institutional policies and community interventions in the Caribbean that 1) acknowledge how sociopolitical, historical, and economic factors affect individual healthcare decisions, 2) address the impacts of natural disasters on health systems, and 3) tackle other health- and development-related issues in the Caribbean.
Leah is a 2021 Marshall Scholar and 2020 Harry S. Truman Scholar. She is the US Virgin Islands’ first-ever Marshall Scholar and Agnes Scott’s first Truman Scholar since 2009, and the fifth since the program’s inception in 1975. Currently, she is pursuing a MA in Caribbean and Latin American Studies at the University College London Institute of the Americas.
Shayne de-Landè is a South London-born Trinidadian and Venezuelan Farmer, Carnivalist, Archivist and Historian of Caribbean Radicalism and Culture. Currently studying a Postgraduate degree in Global Black Studies, Decolonisation and Social Justice at the University of West London.
With interest in the Black Histories of both the Caribbean and Latin America; as well as exploring the nexus between Africa and the diasporas and how culture has been carried from Africa via the transatlantic slave trade to the various different places within the diasporas and cultivated into the what we know as Caribbean and Latin Culture.
A large amount of Shayne’s work as a Public Historian is in the history of Caribbean culture and the influence that African culture and spiritualism has had on the cultivation of Caribbean culture through the lens of carnival. Her love of carnival plays another big role in her life and interest. It is this love that has led her to develop an interest in the diasporas and how Carnival is an expressive ode to West Africa and aspects of a culture that were carried over to the Caribbean. That Africanness also somewhat ‘creolising’ in different ways from other cultures that came to those islands with enslavement, colonialism, and indenture.
Alongside her work as a Historian, Shayne does extensive work in the Caribbean and Latin America both as a Cultural Ambassador, educator and tradeswoman. Teaching young people agricultural trades such as farming and agri-processing as well as trades such as wire bending and carnival production.
Kesewa John is a historian interested in Caribbean intellectual history, particularly the intersections of Black feminist and Black radical histories of early twentieth century Caribbean activism. Kesewa is a Lecturer in Caribbean History in the Institute of the Americas at University College London where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the Caribbean radical tradition and Caribbean intellectual history, and modern Caribbean history. Prior to joining UCL, she worked as a Junior Fellow (ATER) at the Université des Antilles in Guadeloupe, and a Teaching Fellow (Lectrice and Vacataire) at the same university in Martinique.
Dr. John obtained her PhD in History from the University of Chichester where she was supervised by Professor Hakim Adi. She also holds a Maîtrise in Teaching French as a Foreign Language (FLE), an MA in Ethnicity, Globalisation, and Culture, and a BA in French and History. Her research explores gender in Caribbean people’s political history, specialising in transatlantic, multilingual linkages between Afro-Caribbean activists and the evolution and dissemination of early Black radical thought. She is currently working on a monograph about the radical Black press in the late colonial Caribbean, a book chapter about opposition to departmentalisation in the francophone Caribbean, and thinking about the influence of the Black Power movement in Trinidad and Tobago’s influence on the Grenada Revolution.
Kesewa is the current Chair of the Society for Caribbean Studies, the UK’s only learned society focused on promoting scholarship about the Caribbean and its diasporas. A fan of Caribbean arts and public engagement, she regularly collaborates with Insightful Black History, a community history project, francophone Caribbean film collective Cinemawon, and appears as a panellist on the Caribbean literary review programme Page Turners.
Harielle Atana-Lindor is a Haitian-Cameroonian designer specialising in menswear. From Minnesota, she studied an undergrad in Fashion sportswear at the London College of Fashion and is currently studying a Fashion MA at the Royal College of Arts. Her practice focuses on materialism and the reinterpretation of silhouettes and imagery within her research to explore different methodologies within design, often connecting these ideas to her different cultural backgrounds. An important part of her practice is also the collaboration between different designers and artists.
A special thanks to our partners on this – the Royal African Society and the Africa Centre.