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In the spring term at Nottingham Trent University, students on NTU English module Black Writing in Britain were joined by poet and Caribbean literature and culture specialist Emily Zobel Marshall and novelist Jacqueline Crooks.

Emily Zobel Marshall

In March 2024, poet and Caribbean literature and culture specialist Emily Zobel Marshall visited NTU to read from and discuss her new poetry collection, Bath of Herbs.

Emily Zobel Marshall is a Reader at Leeds Beckett University, specialising in African and Caribbean folklore and literature of the African diaspora. Emily is also an expert in the role of trickster figures in the literatures and cultures of Africa and its Diaspora and has published widely in this area. Bath of Herbs is a vivid collection of poetry drawing on the poet’s life and history, including her childhood in rural Wales, mixed race identity, the British North, Martinique, illness, recovery, mourning, and family.

In this event held at NTU’s Clifton campus, Emily reads from and discusses her poetry, her literary inspiration from her grandfather, the writer Joseph Zobel, and answers questions from NTU English students on Jenni Ramone’s Black Writing in Britain module.

Jacqueline Crooks

In April 2024, students on NTU English module Black Writing in Britain were joined by novelist Jacqueline Crooks.

Jacqueline Crooks was born in Jamaica and moved to London as a child. Her short story collection, The Ice Migration, was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize in the Political Fiction category, and she has also been shortlisted for the Asham and Wasafiri New Writing awards. Her short story, ‘Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea’, was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2019. Her stories have appeared in Wasafiri, Virago, Granta and Mslexia. Fire Rush is her debut novel and it has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Jhalak Prize, and the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, and chosen as an Observer Best Debut Novel of the Year and a New Yorker best books of 2023. The narrative of Fire Rush takes place between late 1978 and early 1982. It is the story of Jamaican-British woman Yamaye, her friends, her search for her mother, and dub reggae.

In this event, Jacqueline Crooks reads from and discusses her novel in conversation with Jenni Ramone.

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.

Book your ticket

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

Join Katharina Massing and Jen Ridding for an online talk exploring how Birmingham Botanical Gardens is working with local communities and visitors to highlight its colonial connections and diversify voices within plant interpretation.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens was founded in 1832, originally as a site of botanical and horticultural research and later with a greater emphasis on leisure and wellbeing.

Similar to many Botanic Gardens, its collection is linked to colonial expansion and trade. These links can be observed throughout the site, for example through the economic plants in the glass houses or the ornamental plants from China at the Wilson border, named after the ‘plant hunter’ Ernest Henry Wilson who brought plants over to the UK. 

Katharina Massing and Jen Ridding will look at how the garden is working with local communities and visitors to highlight some of these colonial connections and diversify voices within plant interpretation.

Free – open to everyone.

Book your ticket

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: Birmingham Botanical Garden (2024). Photo courtesy of Katharina Massing

Join artist Rebecca Beinart for a free online talk where she will share stories and work-in-progress from her long term research into plant-human relationships, medicine and porous bodies. 

During this talk she will share a short film made in collaboration with Usha Mahenthiralingam and Freddy Griffiths. The work explores the Island site in Nottingham – that once housed the Boots pharmaceutical factories and is currently under redevelopment – and spills out into histories of plant medicine, land, bioprospecting, pharmaceutical production, and thinking with plants and fungi.

Plants Beyond Empire is a new series of conversations starting in February 2024, as part of Bonington Gallery’s Formations programme, in partnership with NTU’s 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.

**No audio between 04:36 and 07:46, presenter repeats the start of her talk after the screening of the film later in the event. At 22:42 the speaker cut out, which has been cut from the video. This causes a small pause that lasts 6 seconds**

Photo credit: Film Stills, Freddy Griffiths. Courtesy Rebecca Beinart.

Join Ather Zia in conversation with with Amir Kaur Aujula-Jones and Trang Dang, as part of the When I Dare to be Powerful conference at Bonington Gallery.

Amir Kaur Aujla-Jones and Trang Dang are in conversation with Ather Zia about writing as a powerful tool to amplify the voices of women active in the Kashmir conflict. Their voices are often ignored in a dominant narrative that fails to give them agency and instead writes them as victims of the conflict.

This event is part of online talks series leading to the in-person conference When I Dare to be Powerful, on 21 June at Bonington Gallery. The international conference will bring filmmakers, artists, writers and activists, together with conceptual thinkers and cultural theorists in order to answer pressing questions relating to voice as an agent of change.

Bio:

Ather Zia, Ph.D., is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and columnist. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Gender Studies program at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (June 2019) which won the 2020 Gloria Anzaldua Honorable Mention award, 2021 Public Anthropologist Award, and Advocate of the Year Award 2021. She has been featured in the Femilist 2021, a list of 100 women from the Global South working on critical issues. She is the co-editor of Can You Hear Kashmiri Women Speak (Women Unlimited 2020), Resisting Occupation in Kashmir (Upenn 2018) and A Desolation called Peace (Harper Collins, May 2019). She has published a poetry collection “The Frame” and another collection is forthcoming. Ather’s ethnographic poetry on Kashmir has won an award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region. Ather is also a co-editor of Cultural Anthropology.

Amir Kaur Aujla-Jones (she/her) has a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Sussex, a MA in Education from the University of Nottingham and a PhD in Sociology from Nottingham Trent University. Dr Aujla-Jones’s research has focused on race and gender equality using an intersectional lens. Her PhD thesis examined the lived experience of Black, Asian, and Mixed-race girls in predominantly white English secondary schools. Dr Aujla-Jones is part of Conscience Collective, an international network based in the UK aiming to extend understanding of climate and social  justice. 

Trang Dang (she/her) is a PhD researcher in literary studies at Nottingham Trent University, funded by NTU Studentship Scheme, and previously graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BA and an MA in English Literature. Her PhD project focuses on Jeff VanderMeer’s weird fiction, exploring narratives of co-existence between humans and nonhumans and the role of new weird novels in portraying the current climate crisis. Her main research interests are contemporary literature, cli/sci-fi, critical theory, and continental philosophy. She has published on the topics of animal studies, American culture and politics, and the Anthropocene.


BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE NOW

This event will take place at Bonington Gallery. 

Book your free place now.

This event has now sold out, please email boningtongallery@ntu.ac.uk to be added to the reserve list

ABOUT THIS EVENT

What truths are your poems telling? If not for the reality of your poems, what truths would never be spoken at all? In Poetry as Ferocity Workshop: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty, we’ll chart a course for radical honesty in verse, seeking to grow stronger roots for your poems to anchor themselves.

Focusing on work by female Caribbean poets Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné and Safiya Sinclair, we draw on their powerful subversion in writing. Using innovative exercises, we unlock the most potent ways to tell the truth our poems require.

Poets have always been political agitators, defenders of the right to wield uncomfortable truths. What truths do you bring to the table, ready and roaring to be told?

NOTE: This workshop is open to people aged 18 and over. This workshop involves discussion of potentially triggering content and strong language.

Bio:

Shivanee Ramlochan is an Indo-Trinidadian poet, critic, and essayist, whose first poetry collection, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (2017), was shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Prize. Ramlochan’s next work, the creative non-fiction Unkillable, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in Autumn 2023. Shivanee is the Book Reviews Editor for Caribbean Beat Magazine and works closely with Bocas Lit Fest, the Caribbean’s largest literary festival.

This event will take place at Nottingham Contemporary

To correspond with Hollow Earth: Art, Caves & The Subterranean Imaginary all are warmly invited to Channelling Queer Depths: An Evening with Poet Shivanee Ramlochan. Shivanee will give readings from her ground-breaking collection Everyone Knows I am a Haunting (2017), followed by a conversation with PhD queer literary researcher, Tom Lockwood-Moran. A particular point of interest will be Shivanee’s upcoming work of creative non-fiction, Unkillable (2023) how a writer channels their queer self through dangerous, unorthodox and taboo subjects. This event will explore how and why poetry chisels beneath the world’s surface to expose queer depths, particularly informed by Shivanee’s experience of Trinidadian cultures and subcultures.

About the event

Free. Booking required.

We are unable to provide British Sign Language interpretation for this event.

This event is partnered with the Formations programme at Bonington Gallery and their free workshop Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty with Shivanee on Wednesday 16 November.

Access

Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities  here.

There are no audio descriptions for this event.

If you have any questions around access or have specific access requirements we can accommodate, please get in touch with us by emailing info@nottinghamcontemporary.org or phoning 0115 948 9750.

Safety during your visit

Due to COVID precautions, please do not attend this event if you/someone in your household is currently COVID-19 positive, has suspected symptoms, or is awaiting test results.

Staff and visitors are welcome to wear a face covering in all areas.

Bios:

Shivanee Ramlochan is an Indo-Trinidadian poet, critic, and essayist, whose first poetry collection, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (2017), was shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Prize. Ramlochan’s next work, the creative non-fiction Unkillable, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in Autumn 2023. Shivanee is the Book Reviews Editor for Caribbean Beat Magazine and works closely with Bocas Lit Fest, the Caribbean’s largest literary festival.

Tom Lockwood-Moran is a PhD queer literary researcher, funded by Midlands4Cities (AHRC), writing his thesis in English Literature, entitled: ‘Queer Resistance(s): Contemporary Caribbean Communality’. Tom’s project is supervised by experts from both Nottingham Trent University and The University of Leicester. Thomas is currently an Hourly Paid Lecturer in Postcolonial Texts at NTU within English, Culture and Media.

This free, online-in conversation event with writer Gogu Shyamala is part of our Formations series, hosted in partnership with Nottingham Trent University’s Postcolonial Studies Centre. This segment of Formations, CADALFEST, relates to the Celebrating Adivasi and Dalit Arts and Literature Festival (CADALFEST) taking place across India and in Nottingham. CADALFEST is the first international festival series dedicated to artists whose work creatively resists caste discrimination and social exclusion in India.

This event will take start at 4 pm (GMT) and 8.30 pm Indian Standard Time.

About this event

Gogu Shyamala will discuss her literary and academic work to mark the republication of her short story collection Father May be an Elephant, and Mother Only a Small Basket, But…, by Tilted Axis Press in March 2022. Her focus on the perspective of Dalit women and children as well as her stories’ celebration of Dalit strength and culture will be explored. Gogu Shyamala will tell us about her choice of, and experimentation with, the short story form, and how she sees her role as writer, academic and activist. We will also discuss land relations and the link to caste, sexual violence, inter-caste love and other key concerns of her fiction and academic writing.

Gogu Shyamala will be in conversation with Sowjanya Tamalapakula, Bethan Evans, Judith Misrahi-Barak and Nicole Thiara and the session will conclude with Q&A with the online audience via YouTube chat.

Tilted Axis is a non-profit press publishing mainly work by Asian writers, translated into a variety of Englishes. Founded in 2015, Tilted Axis are based in the UK, a state whose former and current imperialism severely impacts writers in the majority world. This position informs their practice, which is also an ongoing exploration into alternatives – to the hierarchisation of certain languages and forms, including forms of translation; to the monoculture of globalisation; to cultural, narrative, and visual stereotypes; to the commercialisation and celebrification of literature and literary translation. Tilted Axis values the work of translation and translators through fair, transparent pay, public acknowledgement, and respectful communication. They are dedicated to improving access to the industry, through translator mentorships, paid publishing internships, open calls and guest curation.

text on a yellow background, reading 'Formations 2022 / 2023'

FORMATIONS looks forward to welcoming audiences for both online and in-person events in 2022-23. This year, events include conferences, author events, creative writing workshops, and wellbeing workshops. This year’s speakers discuss places including Trinidad, India, the US, Canada, and the UK. Themes our speakers consider include land and nature, voices and sound, borders and hospitality. 

FORMATIONS is a public events series which foregrounds under-represented artists, writers, thinkers, and activists, run by NTU’s Postcolonial Studies Centre and Bonington Gallery. 

Events
CADALFEST

This segment of Formations, CADALFEST, relates to the Celebrating Adivasi and Dalit Arts and Literature Festival (CADALFEST) taking place across India and in Nottingham. CADALFEST is the first international festival series dedicated to artists whose work creatively resists caste discrimination and social exclusion in India.

Adivasi and Dalit Futurism: Artists Subash Thebe Limbu and Osheen Siva in Conversation
Thursday 20 October, 2022
4 pm – 5pm (BST), online

In Conversation with the Dalit Feminist Writer, Gogu Shyamala
Thursday 27 October, 2022
4 pm – 5 pm (BST), online

Ningwasum Film Screening and conversation with Subash Thebe Limbu
Thursday 24 November, 2022
7 pm – 8:30 pm, online

Shivanee Ramlochan

Channelling Queer Depths: An Evening with Poet Shivanee Ramlochan
Tuesday 15 November, 2022
6:30pm – 8pm, at Nottingham Contemporary 

Poetry Workshop: Writing Your Truth with Radical Honesty
Wednesday 16 November, 2022
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, at Bonington Gallery

Land in Literature

Nottingham Trent University second year BA English, BA Creative Writing, and BA Secondary English Education students have collaborated with students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Canada to write, edit and publish a special issue of the Literary Cultures journal, focused on representations of land in modern and contemporary literature wherein land may be perceived as vulnerable or under threat.

Watch their online segment, which includes discussions of the articles written for the journal special issue, the accompanying book and film reviews, as well as the on-campus event in January 2023 with poet Jo Dixon.

Dalit Literature in Marathi and Bangla Little Magazines

Thursday 23 February, 2023
12:30pm – 1:30pm, online
more info

This online roundtable is a pre-conference event on Dalit magazines with editors and subject experts from West Bengal and Maharashtra.

Questioning Language and Knowledge: The Challenge to Creole-speaking Communities

Wednesday 5 April, 2023
7pm – 8pm, online
more info

To coincide with Cedar Lewisohn’s solo exhibition earlier this year, Patois Banton, join us for a free online talk by Dr. Joseph T. Farquharson, this will be followed by a Q&A with Ramisha Rafique.

50 years of New Beacon Books: Gus John with guest poet Yolanda Lear

Thursday 13 April, 2023
6:30pm – 8:30pm
more info

Professor Gus John and poet Yolanda Lear join Jenni Ramone’s Black Writing in Britain students and Formations audiences for a special event on the history of New Beacon Books and its place in the history of Black British publishing, writing, and activism.

Swan Song – an exploration of Cuban performance art

Thursday 15 June, 2023
6:30pm – 8:30pm
more info

Join us for a free screening of a newly-translated documentary that explores the emergence of performance art in Cuba in the 1980s. The screening will be followed by a conversation with film director and artist Glexis Novoa.

Conference: When I Dare to be Powerful

When I Dare to be Powerful International Conference will bring filmmakers, artists, writers and activists together with conceptual thinkers and cultural theorists to answer pressing questions relating to voice as an agent of change.

The conference period begins on 26th April and runs through to the one-day conference in June, all information can be found here.

This free, online-in conversation event with multimedia artists Subash Thebe Limbu and Osheen Siva is part of our Formations series, hosted in partnership with Nottingham Trent University’s Postcolonial Studies Centre. This segment of Formations, CADALFEST, relates to the Celebrating Adivasi and Dalit Arts and Literature Festival (CADALFEST) taking place across India and in Nottingham. CADALFEST is the first international festival series dedicated to artists whose work creatively resists caste discrimination and social exclusion in India.

Book your free place now

This event will be streamed live on Bonington Gallery’s YouTube channel. Book your free place now.

About this event

In recent times, the rapidly changing socio-political, environmental, and technological changes have centralised focus on reimagining and reconfiguring futures. While the Futurism movement, which began in Italy and spread to other European countries, sought to cleave off from the past and prophesized exciting futures through new technologies, futurisms that emerged from the margins were motivated by different urges – to question Eurocentric ideas of progress, development, scientific rationality, and techno futures. Afrofuturism, Latinx Futurism, and different kinds of Subaltern Futurisms have imagined alternate futures through speculative art and fiction by firmly holding on to the past.

In the Indian subcontinent, artists Subash Thebe Limbu and Osheen Siva have conceptualised Adivasi Futurism and Tamil Dalit Futures respectively. This conversation will discuss how they utilise the anti-caste philosophy that guides their multimodal artwork. It will explore how the artists use speculative art to posit alternate futures that resist caste and privilege their identities. The conversation, moderated by Prof. K.A. Geetha and Priteegandha Naik will discuss Dalit and Adivasi futurism and the potential it offers to dream up new and equal futures.