Gerda Lerner Lecture Series: Western Living Archive of diaspora: Black Feminist Activism and the Archive

Off Campus Online

Open to the public

/ Saturday


Nydia SwabyNydia Swaby, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Black feminism in Britain has its roots in the de/postcolonial activism of women migrants of African and Asian descent. In this performance-lecture, I use still and moving images, organizational records, newsletters, flyers, and other ephemera to examine the curation of a Black feminist narrative in the archive, while engaging ethnography as a Black feminist archival practice. Drawing on my research at Black Cultural Archives, the only national heritage center dedicated to the histories of Black people in Britain, I analyze how this repository documents the emergence of the Black women’s movement and preserves its legacy for future generations. Black feminism emerges in this archive as specifically diasporic, developing from the social and psychic effects of enslavement, colonialism, migration, and settlement, and evolving in dialogue with the dominant discourses of race, gender, and nation. This leads me to argue that the material functions as a ‘living archive of diaspora’ that informs and inspires contemporary Black feminist organizing and activism. Nydia A. Swaby is Curator of Learning at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. She has a PhD in Gender Studies from SOAS University of London. Nydia is a Black feminist researcher, writer, and curator whose practice builds on theories of racial, gendered, diasporic, and queer formation, Black feminism, Black studies, and her previous experience working at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.