Otonomi 2016: Oxford ACS’ First Black History Month Showcase
One of the greatest challenges facing the African Caribbean diaspora is actually being heard. We often have little or no control over the narratives pertinent to our identity.
In our opening, interdisciplinary panel discussion, we were keen to explore how these narratives are constructed and perpetuated from a number of angles, ranging from academic and historiographical perspectives, to artistic critique and media insight. The goal of the discussion was not to define one overriding conceptualisation of blackness: it was rather to give our members and wider community the platform to engage with and problematize narratives of blackness, and in particular in a modern cosmopolitan climate wherein questions of identity demand exposure, focus and – as the Haitian
Creole title suggests – autonomy.
The second segment of the night explored the same questions from a specifically creative perspective. The floor is opened for showcases and performances of Black British art, with styles varying from but not at all limited to music, spoken word, drama pieces and much more. At the heart of our two-part programme was the desire as a Society to ensure that African and Caribbean culture went beyond being a sticking point of criticism, questioning and debate – we also wanted to provide a platform for active celebration and expression. In this light, the performance segment is as integral to reclaiming narratives of blackness as the panel discussion preceding it.
We hope you all enjoyed the night!