Decolonise not Diversify Festival and Exhibition

Creative Callout for Decolonial DIY Exhibition

We’re sitting around the Impact Hub Bham with our laptops and notebooks, phones a buzzing and sorting out speakers and timings and all sorts of programming for the 8th of October. We are very nearly there. Both in terms of the actual day approaching and having our line ups finalised. And in terms of the conversations we want to have in spaces in the city, and making it happen.

And in terms of our programme for the day, we are already over capacity, and trying to sort out who is doing what and when. We’ve had people approaching us to pitch sessions, and have had to decline as we’re just out of time on the day. (But don’t worry we’re banking on those ideas for future events) Today we were doing this: Who is talking about what at what time and in which space, and sorting out publicity and food, and organising the DIY Exhibition and Creative Callout and going through entries, and arranging the mini market place and breaking out into Destiny’s Child songs when it all got a bit much.

For me personally, curating the creative callout and DIY Exhibition space is really something to be excited about. It is the first opportunity I’ve had to do this, and am doing it alongside a lovely artistic soul. The feeling of creating opportunities for yourselves and each other is a really good one. And to exhibit artists and visual creatives’ work, principally from those who identify as people of colour (but the callout is open to all) is more of an honour than anything. Whether they are well known in their fields or not, whether the contributors add the exhibition to their portfolios or not, their work will be seen by lots of people, and present in a place where some radical ideas are being discussed, and can only contribute to and spark off those conversations in the most positive and beautiful way. And the DIY nature of the exhibition (you’ll understand what we mean when you see it) may be by default due to a lack of funding, but it also lends to what we’re about; defying barriers by creating and curating spaces for ourselves, reclaiming our narrative, and what that narrative means to us.

But it’s not just about the day, but the reasons behind the different sessions. It’s basically us having the conversations we’ve always wanted to have in spaces in the city, with people who know what they’re talking about, be it through the seeking of knowledge as well lived experience and exploration. Coming to real terms with what decoloniality is and what it means to us here in the UK in 2016, confronting all the subtleties and facets of racism and white supremacy. We’ll be tackling them through the mediums of the arts, faith, inter community relations, academia, film, bath bombs, zine making and a lot more. We’ll be asking difficult questions, and not necessarily finding the right answers. We’ll be making and talking, participating and doing, sharing and buying and selling.

The subject matters of the sessions may seem exclusive, but that the point; it’s about curating spaces and giving stages to people and ideas who don’t get listened to on mainstream platforms. And we’re not saying that we as a collective are mainstream in any way, except that like all people of colour, we live in the same world as our peers who enjoy privileges that we don’t, be they historical legacies or contextual realities. We are however, as always, open to anyone who wants to attend, listen, learn, and be there. There are those we know need to be there, and we’re trying to reach them. So if you do know them, please do share this.

So we’re trying. We’re trying something out for the first time, and we don’t know what will happen. Our intention isn’t just to have an event for the sake of it. We’re hoping for future good things; connections and networks, growth and learning. There will be provocations, and I’ll be honest and say I’m a bit nervous, wondering how they’ll pan out.  But we’re excited. And you should be too. 


More about us here, more info about the 8th and tickets here. Tonight is the last chance to send us your entries for the Creative Callout