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Symposium: Reconstruction Work

This symposium will explore a differentiated notion of solidarity informed by the educator, thinker and writer Stuart Hall. It takes John Akomfrah’s newly commissioned film The Unfinished Conversation, as the starting point for debate. The participants will investigate the impact Stuart Hall has had on cultural studies and media theory, but also raise wider questions of politics, memory and archive, identity and race and their relationship to the image.

With John Akomfrah, David Scott, Angela McRobbie and Ros Gray. Chaired by Mark Sealy.

John Akomfrah, (b. 1957, Accra, Ghana) is a filmmaker, lecturer and writer who lives and works in London, U.K. His films include The Nine Muses (2010), Mnemosyne (2010/11) and Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993). Akomfrah is one of the founding members of the Black Audio Film Collective.

Ros Gray is a writer, researcher and lecturer. She is Lecturer in Critical Studies in the Department of Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London and Tutor for Research in Curating Contemporary Art at the RCA. Research interests include: global networks of revolutionary cinema; postcolonial and political theory; urban cultures and critical geographies; contemporary film, textiles and video art.

Angela McRobbie is Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths University of London. She started her academic career in the mid 1970s at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Birmingham when Stuart Hall was Director. She is author of many books and hundreds of articles on gender, sexuality, popular culture, the UK fashion industry and the new creative economy. Her most recent book is, The Aftermath of Feminism and she is currently completing, Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries.

David Scott is a Jamaican scholar living in New York City, where he is a professor in the department of Anthropology, Columbia University. His new book, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice, will be published in 2013. He is the editor of the journal Small Axe.

Mark Sealy has a special interest in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics and human rights. In his role as director of Autograph ABP he has initiated the production of well over 40 publications, produced exhibitions worldwide, residency projects and commissioned photographers globally. Sealy is currently a PhD candidate at Durham University. His research focuses on photography and cultural violence.


14.00 - 14.20 John Akomfrah, The Unfinished Conversation

John Akomfrah will discuss The Unfinished Conversation, which draws upon Hall’s memories and personal archives extracted and relocated in an imagined and different time, reflecting the questionable nature of memory itself.

14.20 - 14.40 David Scott, Stuart Hall: The Moment of Departure

David Scott’s presentation will frame the question of Hall’s cultural-political preoccupations against the background of the Jamaica of the 1930s and 1940s, the Jamaica from which he departs as a young man for Oxford.

14.40 - 14.55 Conversation/ Q&A with John Akomfrah and David Scott


15.10 - 15.30 Angela McRobbie, Stuart Hall in the Cities: Race, Crime Media in Neoliberal Times

Angela McRobbie’s paper offers a series of backwards and forward reflections on Stuart Hall's work on race in the urban environment, media, moral panic and the rise of neoliberal times.

15.30 - 15.50 Ros Gray, ‘The Vanguard of the World’ – Mozambican cinema and the turn to militancy in African liberation

Ros Gray will focus on the unique culture of cinema generated by the Mozambican Revolution at the center of a trans-national movement that sought to decolonise the moving image and harness cinema to the cause of the African emancipation in the mid to late twentieth century. It maps how Mozambican cinema was not only at the vanguard of the ‘cultural front’ against capitalist imperialism, but produced new aesthetics and alliances of cinematic militancy, becoming a focal point for a new kind of transnational public sphere.

15.50 - 16.05 Conversation/ Q&A with Angela McRobbie and Ros Gray

16.15 - 17.00 Open discussion chaired by Mark Sealy

Kindly supported by the Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool.


10 November 2012, 2-5PM


the Bluecoat
School Lane
L1 3BX