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Join us for the launch of a new exhibition featuring over 120 works by contemporary working-class artists and photographers.

Curated by photographer, writer and broadcaster Johny Pitts, After the End of History emphasises the perspectives of practitioners who turn their gaze towards both their communities and outwards to the wider world. Find out more.

‘After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024’ is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition curated by Johny Pitts with Hayward Gallery Touring.

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The Blue Description Project (2023) is a new experimental version of Derek Jarman’s seminal film, Blue (1993). It features expanded accessibility measures including audio description, creative captions and in-person British Sign Language interpretation.

Event information
About the film

“Moving beyond words.”Time Out      Extraordinary ★★★★★ – The Times

In 1993, Derek Jarman released Blue, an epoch-defining account of AIDS, illness, and the experience of disability in a culture of repressive heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness. Though often referred to as a feature film, Blue never existed exclusively in one medium. It was screened in theatres, simulcast on television and radio, released as a CD, and published as a book, creating opportunities for many different kinds of sensory abilities—visual, aural, and textual—to experience the work.

Conceived by artists and writers Christopher Robert Jones, Liza Sylvestre, and Sarah Hayden, The Blue Description Project creates a new, experimental iteration of Blue on the 30th anniversary of its release and Jarman’s death. Reflecting Blue’s standing as a foundational work of Crip* art, the project challenges ableist hierarchies in art while focusing on the generative possibilities of difference and interdependence.

In 1994, Jarman wrote in Chroma: “If I have overlooked something you hold precious — write it in the margin.” Taking up this invitation to write in the margin, The Blue Description Project builds on the multifaceted nature of Jarman’s work through newly commissioned and expansive accessibility.

*Crip—Cripistemology and the Arts.

The producers of the project wish to thanks everyone who so generously contributed their descriptions to the Blue Description Project. Warm thanks to Elaine Lillian Joseph and Corvyn Dostie. Special thanks to James MacKay, Basilisk Communications, and Zeitgeist Films.

Image credit: Christopher Robert Jones, Liza Sylvestre, Sarah Hayden, Blue Description Project, film still, 2024. Digital movie, captions. 1:20:55. Courtesy of the artists.

Identity representation within global exhibition-making

This one-day symposium focuses on identity representation in the context of international, large-scale, survey exhibitions of contemporary art.

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Identity Complex aims to provide new insights into the challenges involved in the staging of these exhibitions. The symposium seeks to bring together renowned artists, curators, academics, and researchers across the Midlands and beyond to contribute to a growing body of research and curatorial practice relating to the relationship between identity, contemporary art, and globalisation.

When it comes to the representation of nations and cultures beyond the Western canon, exhibitions have played a key role in the promotion of contemporary art in a global context. While mega-exhibitions such as biennials, triennials and the quinquennial documenta are rooted in the celebration of ethno-geographic diversity, many exhibitions, museums, and collections have also attempted to capture the essence of national identity, addressing the complexities behind the definition and reaffirmation of identity, as well as advocating for singular, nationalist conceptions of contemporary art.

Influenced by postcolonial theory and decolonisation processes, exhibitions have sought to reverse Western hierarchies of visual qualities and categories, shifting the attention to contemporary art practices of previously colonised and marginalised nations.

However, as argued by art historian David Joselit, ‘despite their undoubtedly good intentions, such exhibitions sever artists from their heritage in a superficial form of multicultural representation – or tokenism – that fails to do justice to their art’s histories’ (Joselit, 2020). Nevertheless, the question of identity remains relevant within global curatorial narratives, so much so that the title of the 2024 Venice Biennale is ‘Foreigners Everywhere’, alluding to the multiple ways artists can be considered foreigners.

How can we understand identity representation in a globalised world? Is it still sustainable to think about exhibitions grounded on a nation-based framework? How do we approach different epistemologies within global exhibition-making?

Drawing on these enquiries, the symposium aims to explore various perspectives on the subject while fostering debate among artists, curators, academics, and researchers.

Confirmed Line-up

Co-convenors: Caroline Fucci (University of Leicester) & Claudia Di Tosto (University of Warwick)

This event is supported by AHRC Midlands4Cities and hosted by Bonington Gallery.

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Alongside our current exhibition, Karuppu, join artist Osheen Siva for this free, in-person workshop rooted in Dalit history, focusing on the legacy of the Dalit Panthers.

This event utilises speculative fiction as a tool to explore a future in which multi-dimensional narratives are built, while being anchored through an anti-caste, anti-racist and intersectional feminist lens.

Things to note:

About the workshop:

During the workshop, we’ll look into the origins, history, legacy of the Dalit Panthers movement. Exploring how the call for action was manifested physically through art and design, through the means of newsletters, posters, typography, colours, and so on. In parallel, we also focus on the history of protest artworks throughout history such as the poster designs from the 70s punk movement, art practices of creatives like Keith Haring, Shiva Nallaperumal, Rajni Perera, Panther’s Paw Publications, and Octavia Butler amongst others.

With the knowledge of Dalit history and the universe of futurisms we’ll combine the two using speculative fiction to create our own empowering narratives. Using the Dalit Panther newsletter as the template, we speculate what the year 3000 would look like for the Dalit community.

This will be envisioned through:

Alongside our current exhibition, Karuppu, join us for a free online in-conversation event between our exhibiting artist Osheen Siva with Jelena Sofronijevic, producer of EMPIRE LINES podcast and Nicole Thiara, researcher of Dalit and Adivasi literature.

Together, they will explore topics related to Osheen’s practice; their inspiration from cultural aesthetics that explore speculative futures and racial identity, including Afrofuturism. Osheen’s work uses science fiction, mythology, and religious heritage amidst their love of comic books and the vibrant soul of South India. Their artworks imagine fantastical dreamscapes, whilst reclaiming and reinventing Indian folktales and myths to imagine a decolonised future.

This event will be live streamed on YouTube, with auto generated closed captions. During the live event there will be the opportunity to ask questions.

Join us for a free tour of current exhibition, Karuppu by Osheen Siva, with BSL interpretation.

Alongside, discover more about Shahnawaz Hussain: My Nottinghamshire Perspectives in Watercolour and Peepshow: An Illusion Cut to the Measure of Desire in our extra gallery spaces.

Free, open to all

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Join us for a free tour of current exhibition, Karuppu by Osheen Siva, led by Deputy Curator Joshua Lockwood-Moran.

Alongside, discover more about Shahnawaz Hussain: My Nottinghamshire Perspectives in Watercolour and Peepshow: An Illusion Cut to the Measure of Desire in our extra gallery spaces.

Free, open to all

Book your free place now

Presenting over 120 works across a 35-year period, After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024 brings together contemporary working class artists who use photography to explore the nuances of working class life in all its diversity.

Launching on Thursday 26 September, 6 pm – Book free launch tickets

The exhibition, curated by Johny Pitts, emphasises the perspectives of practitioners who turn their gaze towards both their communities and outwards to the wider world.

Instead of looking at working-class people, the exhibition will explore life through the lenses of working-class practitioners, who have not only turned their gaze towards their own communities but also out towards the world.

Eddie Otchere, Junglists, Roast (The Final Chapter) Stratford Rex Theatre, Stratford, 1997, © Eddie Otchere

The year 2024 will mark 35 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the symbolic end of Communism. The weakening of the Soviet Union in the 1980s prompted economist Francis Fukuyama to announce the triumph of Western Liberal Democracy as the only viable future for global politics.

The counter-cultural energies of the 1980s, very often powered up by the alternative ideologies embodied by Communism, produced a collective, coherent, politically engaged generation of working-class artists. But after the so-called ‘End of History’, what became of working-class culture? Who identifies as such, and why? What of the working class creative? What kind of images has working-class life produced in the last 35 years?

Serena Brown, Clayponds, 2018, © Serena Brown

After the End of History will offer a counterintuitive picture of working-class life today, from Rene Matić’s portrait of growing up mixed race in a white working-class community in Peterborough, to Elaine Constaintine’s documentation of the Northern Soul scene, to Kavi Pujara’s ode to Leicester’s Hindu community, and JA Mortram’s documentation throughout his life as a caregiver. After the End of History will explore the challenges and beauty of contemporary working-class life, in all its diversity today.

Artists in the exhibition include Richard Billingham, Sam Blackwood, Serena Brown, Antony Cairns, Rob Clayton, Joanne Coates, Josh Cole, Artúr Čonka, Elaine Constantine, Natasha Edgington, Richard Grassick, Anna Magnowska, Rene Matić, J A Mortram, Kelly O’Brien, Eddie Otchere, Kavi Pujara, Khadija Saye, Chris Shaw, Trevor Smith, Ewen Spencer, Hannah Starkey, Igoris Taran, Nathaniel Télémaque, Barbara Wasiak, Tom Wood.

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024’ is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition curated by Johny Pitts with Hayward Gallery Touring.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry: 29 March – 16 June 2024
Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea: 3 July – 14 September 2024
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham: 26 September – 14 December 2024

Header image: Eddie Otchere, Goldie, Metalheadz (Blue Note Sessions) Blue Note, Hoxton Square, 1996 ©  Eddie Otchere

As part of this year’s city-wide Transform festival, Talking Back is an interdisciplinary conference uncovering the power of shared testimony as an act of political resistance.

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Inspired by bell hooks’ (1989) discussion of ‘talking back’ and speech as a radical force against the systemic silencing of marginalised voices, this one-day conference will present critical and creative work by creatives, writers, researchers, poets, and activists who challenge disciplinary and cultural barriers.

“Moving from silence into speech is for the oppressed, the colonized, the exploited, and those who stand and struggle side by side, a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life, and new growth possible. It is that act of speech, of “talking back” that is no mere gesture of empty words, that is the expression of moving from object to subject, that is the liberated voice.”

bell hooks, “Talking Back.” Discourse (1986), p. 128.

hooks’ ideas have inspired many movements towards the liberation of oppressed voices and groups, as well encouraging cross-cultural dialogue between voices from marginalised backgrounds and perspectives. Reflecting on hooks, we suggest that the action and impact of speaking out is achieved only when we are willing to hear the narratives of others. This one-day conference aims to contribute to the formation of collaborative networks of resistance with the potential for profound societal change.

This conference aims to bring together and amplify voices of marginalised individuals. It also aims to create a safe space that fosters collaborative thinking and discussions on representation and resistance.

Consisting of critical and creative approaches to decolonial activism, reclamations of culture and identity, and the transformative power of voice, this will include academic papers, creative workshops, and poetry readings.

We want to encourage cooperative discourse, centred narratives of representation and resistance. Speaking out together against their hegemonic constraints, scholars and artists alike will transcend both disciplinary and identity barriers to take part in an open and inclusive dialogue.

For further information please visit the dedicated Talking Back conference website.


Keynote speakers

About Transform

Transform, a City Takeover – a ground breaking festival co-curated by 14 major cultural organisations across Nottingham in Spring/Summer 2024. Together, we’re celebrating the leadership, creativity, and stewardship of the Global Ethnic Majority in Nottingham.

For the third and final event from our Plants Beyond Empire series, Claire Reddleman and Sophie Fuggle will explore how plants have become aligned with human ideas about time, seasons and cycles.
Many plants have been co-opted into colonial and capitalist ways of understanding time. Reddleman and Fuggle will begin by taking up the case of the Ginkgo Biloba – often described as a ‘living fossil’ due to the fact it has remained unchanged for over 80 million years.

Drawing on Claire Reddleman’s research, and its arrival in Britain in the 18th Century, they will consider the ways in which the ginkgo has become an important presence in the British landscape. The speakers will then look at the castor bean, a very different plant, which has been used by humans for at least 24,000 years. In the late 19th century, the castor bean’s best-known product, castor oil, started to be used as a lubricant for car and aircraft engines. It enabled greater speed and fluidity, and joined fossil fuels in the service of capitalism’s quest for ever faster, ever more efficient movement. Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing and others call this era the ‘plantationocene‘, to identify how capitalism, colonialism and labour have, often destructively, shaped the natural world.

Free – open to everyone.

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Taking place online via YouTube.

Plants Beyond Empire is a new series of conversations starting in February 2024, as part of our Formations programme, in partnership with the Postcolonial and Global Studies Research Group. The events will explore a range of creative and community interventions aimed at understanding complex human-plant entanglements within postcolonial Britain and beyond.

Photo credit – dendrologista by Claire Reddleman. Map credit – 1725 Kaart van de provincie Utrecht, François Halma, collection of Universiteitsbibliotheek, Utrecht