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Kooperation: “Black Diaspora + Berlin. Decolonial Narratives”


Info   Free and open to the public; With simultaneous translation English + German


In the course of the so-called “Scramble for Africa”, the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 was held. At that moment, the colonial powers already on the African continent officially divided it among themselves. Under the Nazi Regime, German Jews, Sinti, Roma, Black Germans and People of Color were stigmatized and systematically exterminated.

The heroic refugees in the protest camp at Oranienplatz are only one recent sad example of how German internal and external policies are actively involved in funding and expanding the racist delimitation of the EU's external borders with institutions such as Frontex. "Black Diaspora + Berlin. Decolonial Narratives” is dedicated to exposing and critically discussing the continuities of this state of affairs, decentering hegemonic accounts on this matter. Until today, predominant self-representations of Germanness and especially the cosmopolitanism of Berlin are still presented as white. Black German and African Diasporas’ narratives are considered as belonging to a constructed “Other”. However, for a very long time, Black and African Diasporas have played a relevant role in this city.

This one-day symposium will introduce counter narratives of Black German legacies as well as art and activism interventions in Berlin and other European metropolis. A film screening, live performances and contributions on art education from a Black Diaspora perspective are also part of the program. The symposium aims at decolonizing established notions of knowledge, sensing and being and at enabling a dialogue on the current articulation of white supremacist discourses in Berlin and elsewhere, offering strategies and practices to dismantle it.

The series “bpb metro”, initiated and conceptualized by Julia Roth for the German Agency for Civic Education, takes the Berlin urban/metropolitan “space of struggle and negotiation” as a starting point. This sixth edition is a co-operation with Berlin-based Caribbean author, curator and activist Alanna Lockward, who has initiated and successfully presented BE.BOP. BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITICS (2012-2014) at Ballhaus Naunynstraße.

Curated by Alanna Lockward and Julia Roth
AfricAvenir is a Media Partner.



12.45 Welcome: Thomas Krüger
(President of the Federal Agency for Civic Education bpb)

Introduction: Alanna Lockward and Julia Roth

13.00 to 14.15: Reading:
Theodor Michael “Deutsch sein und Schwarz dazu. Erinnerungen eines Afrodeutschen”
(Being German and also Black. Memories of an Afro-German)
Moderation: Sarah Bergh

14.30 to 16.15: Film Screening:
“Audre Lorde. The Berlin Years 1984-1992”  by Dagmar Schulz (79 min.)
Q&A with Ika Hügel-Marshall
(Psychological advisor for intercultural issues, graphic artist, lecturer and writer co-author and cinematographer of the film “Audre Lorde. The Berlin Years“)

Moderation: Julia Roth

16.15 to 16.45: Break

16.45 to 18.15: Panel 1: Black Diaspora Arts and Activism in Berlin

Christel Gbaguidi
(Actor, theater pedagogue, founder of the initiative ART VAGABONDS, organized the project “Die flüchtige Republik” with refugees from the protest camp at Oranienplatz Berlin)

Bonaventure Ndikung
(Curator, Director of Savvy Contemporary Art Space Berlin)

Jamie Schearer
(Activist, Board Member of Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland e.V. / Initiative Black People in Germany)

Mekonnen Mesghena
(Department Head Migration & Diversity, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung)

Moderation: Alanna Lockward and Julia Roth

18.15 to 18.45: Break

18.45 to 22:45 Keynote and Panel 2: Black Europe Art and Education

18.45: Keynote: “Black Europe Body Politics and Decolonial Aesthesis”

Alanna Lockward
(Author, Journalist, BE.BOP Curator @ Ballhaus Naunynstraße)

19:15 to 21:00 Panel 2: Black Europe Art & Education

Artwell Cain PhD
(Researcher and activist. Former director of  NiNsee (National institute of Dutch Slavery Past and Legacy).

Augustus Casely-Hayford
(Curator, art historian, former Director of inIVA, BBC presenter, Research Associate at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies)

Jean-Ulrick Désert
(Artist, teacher and advisor @ Transart Institute Low-Residency MFA & PhD, Berlin)

Teresa María Díaz Nerio
(Artist and researcher, Amsterdam)

Yoel Díaz Vázquez
(Artist and activist, Berlin)

Jeannette Ehlers
(Artist and curator, Copenhagen)

Moderation: Julia Roth

21:00 to 21:15 Break

21:15 to 22:45 Peformances:

21:00-21:30 Quinsy Gario. “A Village Called Gario”.
21:40-22.10 Patricia Kaersenhout. “Stitches of Power. Stitches of Sorrow”.
22:10-22.30 Q&A with performance artists

Moderation: Artwell Cain

Afterwards: Party with DJ Lotic

Program as pdf: https://artlabourarchives.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/flyer-bpb-07-10-14printingversion.pdf

Stitches of Power. Stitches of Sorrow, 2014
Photo: Nikolaj Recke, 2014
The factory of von Schimmelmann produced the Dane gun. They traded these guns amongst others with the Amazones of Dahomey. The paradox is that these guns were later used by them in freedom wars against their colonial oppressors. During enslavement and the colonial period embroidery was a passtime for white women of higher social rank, while in the colonies Black women were facing daily horrors like rape, being separated from husbands and children and hard labour. White women were embroidering innocent images on white fabric.The performance stages a re-enactment where members of the audience are placed in a circle and asked to embroider the image of a Dane gun and an image of a Black female body. The needle symbolizes literally the penetration of a Black female body. Filling in the ‘empty image’ emphasizes the historical non-position and neglect of Black women in West European written history. Embroidering a gun is a paradox in itself. Embroidering as an re-enactment of innocence symbolizing an act of violence.

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