Across Latin America, Afrodescendants occupy distinct symbolic and cultural spaces within their national polities, framed according to varied racial and spatial ideologies. Despite the significance of their cultural and economic contributions to the nations of Latin America since the colonial era, they are enmeshed in colonial state and international politics which continually invisibilise and marginalise their presence. Afrodescendant struggles for dignity, human rights, cultural citizenship and well-being are compromised by enduring acts of racism and discourses of mestizaje which seek to assimilate difference and uphold established systems of privilege.
In order to resist and overturn the prolonged abuses enacted against their communities, Afrodescendant intellectuals, artists and civil society leaders mobilise audiovisual tactics to enhance their cultural and political capital, influence the political agenda and draw recognition for their vibrant cultural practices. Organised as part of the AHRC-funded International Network, ‘Afro-Latin (in)visibility and the UN Decade: Cultural politics in motion in Nicaragua, Colombia and the UK’, this two-day gathering at University of Edinburgh will probe how film and media intervene in debates of cultural and political recognition and articulate nuanced connections between aesthetics and politics. These two privileged representational forms offer crucial intercultural possibilities where Afro-descendant peoples can articulate their demands to diverse constituencies, including international audiences and diasporic Black audiences. Many communitarian groups seek to build connections with kindred organisations and facilitate dialogue in order that Afro-descendants might strategise and share experiences for their cultural and political survival in conversation with other experiences from the diaspora. The Edinburgh seminar is organised in this spirit and with a keen interest in how the arts channel cultural imaginaries, subvert the geopolitical gaze, and envision Afrodescendant cultural politics and transregional linkages.
We are delighted to announce that the confirmed keynote speaker is Juliet Hooker, from Brown University, who will open the two-day gathering on Thursday 2nd November at 5pm. The event will also draw on the experiences of invited speakers Ramón Perea Lemos, from the Colombian organisation Carabantú, responsible for organising the international Kunta Kinte film festival, Dixie Lee, Director of the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Autonomy (IEPA) at URACCAN university in Nicaragua and presenter of Building Our Wellbeing Together, Canal 5’s fortnightly Afro-descendant issues programme, and Roberto Zurbano, activist, literary critic, researcher at Casa de las Americas, Cuba. Hosted in association with the film festival Africa in Motion, the second day will culminate with a selection of films curated by the Network steering committee and Africa in Motion. A featured strand of the festival will also include works curated by the Network.
Proposals are sought for presentations – 20-minute academic papers, 10-minute position presentations, roundtables – which engage with the topic of Afro-Latin film and media and which are invested in expanding the networks of collaboration between UK-based initiatives and the Latin American participants in the Network. We are particularly interested in interventions that highlight the power and possibility of comparative and transnational solidarities; however, participants should be aware that the official languages of the event will be BOTH Spanish and English. Please indicate whether or not you are able to work in both Spanish and English.
Expressions of interest and a brief outline of the proposed contribution should be sent no later than 15 September 2017 to the organisers Julie Cupples and Charlotte Gleghorn at:
We can offer a small number of bursaries of up to £100 for participants. Please indicate whether you would like to be considered for a bursary and the likely amount you wish to apply for. If you don’t need a bursary or only need a part bursary (because you live in or close to Edinburgh and/or you have somewhere to stay), do let us know as that will help with our planning. For approved expenses to be reimbursed, we will need official receipts for travel fares and/or accommodation.