Black History Month event
This event consists of an exhibition and free drinks reception at 6pm, followed by two talks starting at 6.30pm.
Looking at slavery: Slavery, history and the movies
Professor James Walvin
Slavery has caught the eye in recent years. Not long ago it was the concern of a small group of specialists, but today it has become the subject for novels, TV series and major movies. Cinema’s representation of slavery goes back to the early years of cinema - to Birth of a Nation (1915) but is perhaps best-remembered in Gone with the Wind(1939.) More recently, there have been five major films dealing with slavery: Amistad (1997), Lincoln (2012), Django Unchained (2012), Twelve Years a Slave ( 2013) and Belle (2013). Why has the movie industry picked up interest in slavery so recently? And how accurate are these cinematic portrayals of slavery? Does it even matter if films are not always historically accurate?
Picturing slavery past and present
Dr Temi Odumosu
Representations of slavery in 18th and 19th century visual culture reveal varying aspects of this history. From abolitionist documents illustrating the punishment of enslaved people, icons of Black heads on trading cards for colonial produce, to the presence of African servants in stately portraits; each artefact captures both the literal and imaginative consequences of the slave trade. How did these images help to animate the written record and make the irreconcilable visible? What do they say to us now about social dynamics and relationships at the time? And how important have images been in determining presence and place for people of African descent within the annals of history? This talk will explore the role of images in the narration of slavery, and show how contemporary Black artists have reused and reflected on this archive in the present day.