Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Announcing the 10th Annual Huntley Conference: “Mountain High: Archive Deep”


Saturday 10 October | 10.30 pm to 4pm | Guildhall Old Library and The Print Room | Tickets £10 | Book online

Mountain High: Archive Deep

Look forward >>> Look Back <<< Move on Up
10th October 2015 marks an important milestone in Black British cultural history - it's the tenth anniversary of the annual Huntley Conference. We are the NextGen and for the first time, we have taken over the entire authorship of this important conference.

Featuring keynote artists 
Sonia Boyce and Larry Achiampong, join us as artists, poets, musicians and storytellers unite to deliver a live celebration of Black British identity through the lens of the younger generation.
We are celebrating not only because it's been an incredibly rewarding decade since the Huntley Archives were first deposited at the London Metropolitan Archives, but this year that the younger generation is taking the lead to connect critical and contemporary Black British narratives for 10th Anniversary edition of the Annual Huntley conference with our theme: 'Mountain High: Archive Deep'

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE Saturday 10th October 
NextGen Take Over

We are FHALMA's group of young volunteers, - the younger "next" generation, calling ourselves, the NextGen. We wanted to play with an intergenerational approach to programming the conference, signalling a significant shift in this year's dialogues.

Members of NextGen:Tamar Clarke-Brown, Shani Crawford, Leah Gordon, Deborah Hughes and Rhianna Roberts

Whilst taking inspiration from the stunning art and archive exhibition 'No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action', our fresh interpretation spawns from having delved deeply into the Huntley Archives and its collections, recasting and re-contextualising BlackBritish cultural production going back to the 1950s through to the 1990s. Today's younger generation still have Mountains to climb! Our perspective reconsiders the resonance that the archives hold - offering those important narratives and themes that help us navigate present day Britain.
All ages welcome. Young people under 16 go free. Book all advance tickets online

Join the conversation live on the day and follow us on social media
@nocolourbar #archivedeep
More about the day...

From Cornrows to Afro, Clarks to Nike: representation is how we walk, how we talk, how dress. It is how we show the world who we are and what we can be. In the 1960s-1990s Black British artists took back control of their own image in new and powerful ways using their distinct aesthetic voices to showcase, protest and activate the public imaginary of Black British identities.

We invite the whole family to dig into the archives with us to discover what was then, and celebrate what is now. Mountain High, Archive Deep's central theme looks at the contemporary history of creating and distributing positive and representational black imagery.

The keynote session features artists Sonia Boyce and Larry Achiampong, followed by a newly curated Film and debate about images and issues from the Archives.

Taking cues from seminal works of black activist visual and literary fiction, such as Andrew Salkey's 'Anancy's Score', in The Children's Hour we ask how today’s artists and makers are redefining activism and expressing agency.

The Award-winning David Idowu Choir conclude the conference with a rousing performance of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' that is sure to inspire all the generations into taking action for a long time yet. 
Books on sale: Join artists, writers and activists, browse among the books and products in our stalls.  

There are a limited number of tables available for Ticket Buyersto sell books and merchandising. Contact us via email: helena.boehm@cityoflondon.gov.uk for details about how to book or Click here for more information about how to apply.

Annual Huntley Conference and MOBO

The 10th Annual Huntley Conference is one the key events to be featured in MOBO’s Rise With Us Season which showcases a range of cultural events and initiatives across music and other creative industries. Visit www.mobo.com

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

No Colour Bar Summer College 2015


Personal Insight: City of London's Culture Heritage and Libraries Developmental Team member Helena Boehm reflects back on the No Colour Bar Summer College, running in mid-July at LMA. 

The No Colour Bar Summer College invited GCSE and A-Level students from schools across London to engage and interact with the NCB project in a whole host of creative and academic ways. The week-long summer school endeavoured to raise the students’ awareness of certain social, political and historical issues explored in the NCB exhibition that they might not encounter in their daily school lessons. It aimed to actively encourage critical thought and debate around these issues, as well as provide an opportunity to experiment with a rich variety of media and art forms.  

The students ranged from 14-18 years old and came possessing a varied background and interest in art. The week began with an introduction by Maureen Roberts, Senior Development Officer, to the No Colour Bar project and the Huntley archives, as well as a tour of LMA and introductory talks by the different departments. During these first sessions the students engaged directly with the Huntley archival material and began to discuss the issues that it raised. The introductions on the first day were followed by a whole day at the Guildhall Art Gallery and immersion in the exhibition. Hazel Sawyers’ session asked the students to think critically about the art work displayed and engage directly with individual pieces. Next came a discussion with Michael McMillan, exhibition curator, in which the students discussed and debated not only the exhibition but a whole range of social and political issues that its content triggered. EricHuntley, one of the Founders of Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications also attended this session to talk to the students. Thus they received first-hand information about the archived events in the exhibition. This was an invaluable opportunity for the students to challenge themselves and vocalise their opinions on crucial issues concerning race, identity and the utilisation and display of black art.  

The students were then given the opportunity to engage with collections from two other galleries, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. At the National Portrait Gallery, Evan Ifekoya, a free-lance museum facilitator, provided a thought-provoking and stimulating tour based around paintings depicting different races, as well as art produced by Black artists. This enabled critical discussion amongst the group regarding the depiction of Black people in art and the representation of art produced by Black artists on show in cultural institutions. The afternoon’s visit to the National Gallery invited the students to explore the art work on their own terms, sketch specific pieces that appealed to them and to consider their personal opinions on the Renaissance art displayed. 

The opportunity throughout the week to experiment with different art forms allowed the students to consider and interact with the project not only academically but creatively. Despite a varying interest in art and artistic confidence all the students produced an impressive portfolio of work. A workshop on the techniques of life drawing by artist, Tam Joseph was named as a particular highlight and a unique opportunity. Muirah Olton ran a fabric workshop in which the students created material flags on canvas, offering them the opportunity to represent and explore their own identity and heritage. Even the summer school facilitators took part in this, producing some incredibly interpretive representations of flags! A favourite workshop of the students was held by Rudy Loewe at the end of the week, in which the students produced zines on the subjects of Walter Rodney, the Huntley archives and the political and social climate during the 1960’s – 1980’s.

The last day of the summer school was celebrated with an exhibition of the impressive art portfolios that the students had produced. The exhibition was attended by FHALMA volunteers, LMA staff and NCB project staff and was a fantastic way to end the week. It provided a platform for the students to explain to others about the work they had been doing and what they had each got out of their time at LMA and with the NCB project. The NCBBBA Summer College provided a unique opportunity for the students to immerse themselves in a week of art, culture and history and from all accounts was a huge success.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Personal Insight: The Day I Met the Bar

Personal Insight: Volunteer and writer Valentine Ogunba shares his introductory experience with the No Colour Bar team. 

The Day I Met the Bar

Despite numerous efforts, I can't be classed as someone who looks forward to Mondays. I'll be the first to admit that 11:00am for most people constitutes a lie in; still I was struggling to meet even this generous deadline. How 3 weeks can leave you out of practice! I'd signed up to volunteer at No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960 – 1990, the exhibition taking place in the Guildhall Art Gallery. After successfully navigating the labyrinth that is Bank station and a final direction from a post-man I arrived.

I have to admit that before becoming involved with the exhibition I had no knowledge of Eric and Jessica Huntley, that however was about to change. I entered the meeting room and met the friendly and enthusiastic organisers. My adversity to Monday's disappeared into the background as we began. Our guide Katty Pearce (one of the curators) took us to the 'Intervention' pieces from the NCB (No Colour Bar) exhibition on display in the gallery. These had been inserted into the main gallery alongside pieces not involved in the exhibition.

I'd never seen this done before! The words of Colin Prescod, a trustee of Friends of the Huntley Archives at the London Metropolitan Archives (FHALMA) were embodied: He’d said NCB wasn’t just about showcasing Black British Art. It was about a struggle and way of thinking which people from different ethnicities and backgrounds had supported. It was new heritage at the site of old heritage and a statement for everyone to take ownership of.

I felt the somber sensation that always comes over me when faced with art of a profound nature. It caused me to consider the circumstances that birthed the work, the emotions of the individual and the contrast between the world then and now.

It would be too early to call them my favourite pieces but at first viewing they stood out: First was Tam Joseph’s – Monkey Dey Chop, Baboon Dey Cry. I though it was great even before I read the title, which sounds like one that the late Nigerian musician Mr. Fela Kuti would have approved of. It’s full of symbolism; to me it represents different groups of people all with their own agendas. There’s the 80’s Mercedes, the clergyman, the African man in military attire, the woman with her child as she farms and more.

Second was Sonia Boyce’s – She Ain’t Holding Them Up, She’s Holding On (Some English Rose). This piece for me was bittersweet, a beautiful woman holding a family high above her head. Family dynamics can be complicated at the best of times and the title adds more intrigue. You can think that something or someone is taking all of your energy when actually it’s what is keeping you going.

Michael McMillan told us about recreating the Walter Rodney bookshop through life-size pictures and real books. Michael also told me the picture on the NCB flyer was Walter Rodney from his funeral, which had turned into a demonstration following his assassination.

As I was leaving Michael Ohajuru, the exhibition’s Evaluation Consultant, introduced me to Keith Whaite, a renowned flautist who due to play at the opening of the exhibition. Then as we stepped into the sunshine Michael said, ‘Would you like to meet Eric Huntley?
A moment later I shook hands with a peaceful looking man with a brilliant head of pure white hair and a matching beard. He was friendly and laughed heartily at my name.
I walked away excited, feeling privileged at all I’d discovered but knowing that there was much more to learn. As Mondays go, this was definitely one of the better ones. 

©Valentine Ogunba 2015    

Do you think you have something to offer No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action? Volunteering Opportunities include: events, project co-ordination, business administration, research, evaluation, marketing and communications, social media, public relations, arts & heritage ambassadors, gallery guides, workshops, programme support, operations, film making, artistic performances and a host of other engaging experiences.

Contact: Patricia Berdugo - nocolourbar.ambasscoordinator@gmail.com