Our latest project is an exhibition and series of learning materials, produced with support from Salford University, titled Exploring the Legacies of Empire: Some Perspectives from the Global South. We began work on this in 2019 and as of 2023 it is ongoing.
‘Exploring legacies of Empire – Perspectives from the Global South:’ Exhibition Launch Event
This Southern Voices event was held on 28th June 2023, at the Working Class Movement Library (WCML) in Salford.
The event was comprised of two 3-hour sessions, both of which were hosted by Afshan D’souza Lodhi. Afshan was a wonderful host who offered insightful and accessible questions apt for our varied audience made up of sixth-form students, young adults from the University of Salford and University of Manchester, and local members of the community. We were delighted to have Désirée Reynolds as our keynote for the morning session. Désirée is writer in residence at Sheffield Archive, and editor, journalist, broadcaster and creative writing facilitator. With Jamaican and working-class roots, Désirée was also able to incorporate her lived experiences of empire into her talk. It was also our pleasure to have Professor of Creative Writing Jackie Kay as our keynote in the afternoon. Jackie is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, and was the Makar, the poet laureate of Scotland, from 2016 to 2021, and the Chancellor of the University of Salford between 2015 and 2022. Both keynote speakers provided us with thought-provoking, yet humorous talks, and created a warm and welcoming atmosphere that enabled people to ask questions, and share answers related to their own concerns and experiences.
Participants had the opportunity to choose 2 out of the 6 workshops provided. The workshops were:
- Legacy of the enslaved peoples in the Caribbean led by Inzinga Samms Alcott,
- Using archives and literature to explore legacy led by Afshan D’Souza Lodhi
- White migration – the Dispossessed of North America/Australia led by Kalombwa Chikoti
- Divide and rule – the experience of the Indian sub-continent led by Heena Patel,
- Cultural Resistance and ideas of Beauty – led by Vashti Gbolugan and Aimah Naqvi,
- Southern v Western treatment of nature/environment led by Emma Barnes and Ume Kalsoom
We are hugely grateful to our workshop leaders for leading such fantastic workshops, and for being so flexible in adapting to the various sized groups and the various expertise of the audiences.
A nine-panel exhibition, developing some of these themes and created by Southern Voices, was on display at the WCML.
We appreciated the space provided by theWorking Class Movement Library and thanks are due to Nathan Godfrey and the WCML teamfor hosting us and for letting us take over for the day.
Overall, I think we can consider ‘Legacies’ a successful event! The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with the only recommended changes being the opportunity to attend all the workshops! Almost all participants reported improving their knowledge of empire. The small group workshops, opportunities for discussion and networking were all appreciated. Key learning was the listening to and appreciation of other cultural perspectives.
Southern Voices could not have run this event without the enthusiasm and initiative of Dr Barnes. She brought students Aimah Naqvi and Vashti Gbolagun on board, and was instrumental in securing University of Salford funding for their participation as well as for the fees due to speakers and workshop leaders. We hope to work continue this collaboration and run similar events in the future.