Speaker: Dr Olivette Otele, Bath Spa University
Respondent: Johny Pitts, Afropean.com. Chaired by: Professor Kevin MacDonald, UCL
Dr Olivette Otele is a Historian and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her current research centres around transnational history and in particular the linkage between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to European colonial past. As one of the recipients of an AHRC-LABEX Pasp grant, Dr Otele will start a 30 months funded research entitled “Telling one’s story, redefining collective memory: the challenges of African refugees and migrants in 21st century Europe”. Dr Otele’s work includes volumes and publications such as: “Does Discrimination Shape Identity? Identity Politics and Minorities in the English-Speaking World and in France: Rhetoric and Reality”, Journal of Intercultural Studies, (Routledge 2011) and “Bristol, slavery and the politics of representation: the Slave Trade Gallery in the Bristol Museum”, The Cultural Politics of Memory Social Semiotics, (Routledge 2012).
Johny Pitts is a writer, photographer, and broadcast journalist. He has received various awards for his work exploring Afro-European identity, including a Decibel Penguin Prize and an ENAR (European Network Against Racism) award. Johny has had work published by Penguin, Franklin Watts, Harvard University’s Transition magazine and the journal of post colonial studies, amongst others. As a photographer he has had work published by Cafe Royal Books and recently collaborated with author Caryl Phillips on a photographic essay for the BBC and Arts Council England. Johny also curates the online journal Afropean.com, part of the Guardian’s Africa Network dedicated to the Afro-European diaspora. He is working on a travel narrative and photo essay to be published in 2017, entitled ‘An Afropean Odyssey: Travels in Black Europe’.
In this event, Dr Olivette Otele will chart Afro-European experiences from Black presence in Spain in the 16th century to memorializing the past and performing identities in European public spaces in the 21st century. Johny Pitts will draw on his research and creative work which explore the human experience of being black and European in the present day.
This is part of the joint seminar series on Heritage & Politics, organised in collaboration with the UCL African Studies Research Centre.
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