VOCAL Debate: Who Are We?
11 April 2015, 2pm - 4pm
International panel of critical thinkers, writers, artists and producers explore the challenges and dynamics of race and culture in the 21st Century.
Registration from: 1pm at the Main Gallery
The panel discussion stems from New Art Exchange (NAE)’s current exhibition titled The Commonality of Strangers by photographer Mahtab Hussain. NAE commissioned Hussain to continue his exploration into the nuances of multiculturalism and to develop a new body of work for this exhibition. Immersing himself in NAE’s local community during a five month research residency, the artist spent his time, walking and exploring the streets of Hyson Green, Radford and Forest Fields. The exhibition carries the energy of this dynamic and complex social, ethnic and cultural neighbourhood. It is ‘home’ to people forced into migration by wars and civil conflicts who live alongside people who have elected to migrate for opportunities and those who considered themselves to be wholly British.
Through the contributions of the speakers, we would like to draw out how we define ourselves, highlighting the narratives of people portrayed in the exhibition and those in a similar predicament. The discussion also aims to bring to the focus on the global political and financial reasons for displacement. In the build up to the general election, we would like to have this discussion to question the widespread, misleading notion on immigration and its impact on British society.
Chairing the discussion will be Bidisha, writer and BBC broadcaster specialising in human rights, international affairs, arts and culture. She is a trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation. Her most recent book, Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London, will be published on March 2015. This follows the 2012 publication of her internationally acclaimed reportage Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path through Palestine.
Gary Younge, author, broadcaster and award-winning columnist for The Guardian, based in Chicago. He also writes a monthly column, Beneath the Radar, for the Nation magazine and is the Alfred Knobler Fellow for The Nation. His book No Place Like Home, in which he retraces the route of the civil rights Freedom Riders, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in 1999. The title of this discussion is inspired by Younge’s second book exploring the contradictions of identity: Who are We? And should it matter in the 21st Century.
Mahtab Hussain, exhibiting artist at NAE, uses photography to explore the important relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. His themes have developed through long-term photographic research and have been articulated into a visual language that challenges prevailing concepts of multiculturalism. He was winner of the Curators Choice Award, Culture Cloud at New Art Exchange, Nottingham and of FORMAT 13 Portfolio Review Award for most significant review.
Roger Bromley, an academic and author who has published widely on a range of topics and, in recent years, has written mainly on postcolonial culture and diaspora, refugee and asylum issues. He worked in UK higher education for 44 years until his retirement in 2010. Currently, he is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies and Honorary Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham, and Associate Fellow in Politics at Rhodes University, South Africa.
Skinder Hundal, As Chief Executive of New Art Exchange in Nottingham, he has successfully led the organisation through a significant period of growth and development to achieve a strong reputation for bringing an international standard of culturally diverse art to Hyson Green in Nottingham. He has delivered many large-scale projects, including the flagship NESTA Digital Arts Research and Development project ‘Culture Cloud’ British Art Show 7 Nottingham, TED Global and the Google Cultural Institute.