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Culture Lab

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 7RE

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"The archive comes to us with a set of Janus-faced possibilities. It says, "I existed at one point and it’s possible that I could exist differently"" - John Akomfrah.

John Akomfrah’s poetic and political cinematic treatment of black visual culture, memory and identities is steeped in the archive. Akomfrah & The Archive explores the politics and aesthetics of John Akomfrah’s filmic practice: his methodological commitment to a dialectical philosophy of montage and his subversive use of archives for memory-(re)making and for challenging hegemonic representations.

The seminar will be led by Film Studies scholar Dr James Harvey who will talk about John Akomfrah’s practice over the past four decades and discuss Akomfrah’s innovative and distinctive approach to the archive as “a space of intervention”. Dr Harvey has written and presented widely on John Akomfrah’s practice, most notably a penetrating critique of the essay-film Nine Muses in his sole-authored book, Jacques Ranciere and the Politics of Art Cinema (Edinburgh University Press 2018). Dr Harvey is currently writing the first ever monograph exploring the film, TV and gallery work of John Akomfrah, which is contracted to Bloomsbury for a 2021 release.

The seminar will be followed by a showcase of archive-led creative practice by locally based filmmakers and artists. The aim of the workshop is to explore the potential of archives in a range of creative practices, such as documentary, screening-based work, installation, animation and other forms of media practice. Short interactive presentations will act as a provocation and inspiration to audience members to rethink the potential of archives in their own creative practice / scholarly work.

Akomfrah & The Archive is a Film Praxis seminar event organised by Film@CultureLab at Newcastle University. It is supported by Newcastle University's Institute for Creative Arts Practice and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and is timed to coincide with the closing week of the ‘John Akomfrah: Ballasts of Memory’ show at the BALTIC.

For more details contact Dr Ian McDonald: ian.mcdonald@ncl.ac.uk

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Culture Lab

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 7RE

United Kingdom

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