Black Atlantic

27-31 October

Black Atlantic

27-31 october

what is black atlantic?

Black Atlantic is a new decolonial arts partnership, co-established by UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre, Serpentine Galleries, Royal Court Theatre and Dartington Trust, that aims to strengthen the role of arts and culture in advancing social and climate justice.

Black Atlantic officially launches with a three-day symposium, Sensing the Planet – an interdisciplinary gathering to discuss how art and culture can confront some of the most important challenges of our time. The symposium is part of a wider programme of events – including short courses, talks and more – which can be seen in full below.

Timed to take place just before the intergovernmental climate conference COP26, Sensing the Planet will highlight issues of race and environmental harm as well as the role played by the UK, most prominently the south-west of England, in histories of slavery, empire and climate breakdown. It will also champion the role of interdisciplinary culture in imagining new futures built on principles of sustainability and justice, bringing together leading decolonial thinkers, artists and activists including headline speakers Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Paul Gilroy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Philippe Sands.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Jason Singh


programme of events


pier kids [15]

Reminiscent of Jennie Livingstone’s NYC classic Paris is Burning, Elegance Bratton’s beautiful documentary Pier Kids is nevertheless entirely her own.

Filmed between 2011 and 2016, it follows Casper, Desean, and Krystal, three homeless queer black youth as they navigate the streets of Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers, welfare, and their biological families in order to find stable housing. Along the way, Bratton brings light to an underground community and what it means to be black and queer in America, 50 years after Stonewall and against a backdrop of police brutality, gentrification and financial precarity.

26 Oct – 3 Nov, various times

Book now

The Stuart Hall Project [12]

“Stuart Hall was kind of a rock star for us. For many of my generation in the 70s, he was one of the few people of colour we saw on television who wasn’t crooning, dancing or running. His very iconic presence on this most public of platforms suggested all manner of ‘impossible possibilities’.”

Internationally acclaimed artist and documentarian Akomfrah’s (The Nine Muses) vital study of Stuart Hall is a sensitive, emotionally charged portrait of one of Britain’s most celebrated cultural theorists. A founding figure of contemporary cultural studies – and one of the most inspiring voices of the post-war Left – Hall’s resounding, ongoing influence on British intellectual life began soon after his emigration from Jamaica in 1951.

Combining extensive archival footage with new material and a personally mixed Miles Davis soundtrack, Akomfrah’s stirring film mirrors Hall’s agile intellect, playing with memory, identity and scholarship amid the shifting landscape of the second half of the 20th century.

28 Oct-3 Nov, various times

Book now

Summer of soul [12A]

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was largely forgotten–until now.

Summer of Soul shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and more.

30 Oct 4 Nov, various times

Book now

previous events

friday 29 – sunday 31 october: sensing the planet symposium

Sensing the Planet was a chance to join leading decolonial thinkers, artists and activists for a truly unique symposium. 

Timed to take place just before the intergovernmental climate conference COP26, Sensing the Planet highlighted issues of race and environmental harm as well as the role played by the UK, most prominently the south-west of England, in histories of slavery, empire and climate breakdown. It also championed the role of interdisciplinary artists in imagining new futures built on principles of sustainability and justice.


Explore the event here >

wednesday 27 october

Earth Talk: Bristol Decolonising Network

Curriculum is a story we teach children to prepare them for life, work and further study in our society. This talk looks at the current problems within the curriculum, classroom practice and the ways in which we can challenge it.


thursday 28 october

course: Decolonising the Curriculum

Curriculum is a story we teach children to prepare them for life, work and further study in our society. This course looks at ways to challenge the current narrative, which reproduces assumptions of white supremacy. By first reaching back to processes of academic colonisation and decolonial thought, then exemplifying and discussing current approaches to decolonising the curriculum, we hope to further enable teachers’ decolonising work across subjects and key stages as researchers, community workers and disciplinary experts.


workshop: Forensic Architecture

Working at the intersections of technology, political engagement and creative practice, Forensic Architecture (FA) has emerged in recent years as an icon of new possibilities for visualising and prosecuting environmental crimes. Nabil Ahmed and Imani Jacqueline Brown, decolonial artists associated with FA, offer participants an intimate and in-depth insight into the approach, methodologies and practices they have engaged within this field, to offer strategies for naming and evidencing ecocide.


friday 29 october

course: Lessons for Liberation

A reflective interspecies writing intensive with queer black troublemaker, Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Participants will experience a set of writing activities based on Alexis’s research into the survival techniques of underwater mammals, documented in her recent book, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals.



live music: Shifa + Elaine Mitchener

Join us in our beautiful Great Hall for what promises to be a very special double bill of live music featuring Shifa and Elaine Mitchener.

Shifa, from the Arabic word for healing, is a new trio (Pat Thomas, Rachel Musson and Mark Sanders) born out of old musical partnerships from the ever shifting sands of the UK improvised music scene.

Elaine Mitchener is an experimental vocalist, movement artist and composer, whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art.

8pm – late

saturday 30 october

Black Atlantic DJ Sessions

Join us for some great tunes courtesy of DJ Yoda, Jason Singh, Chris Hall, Keiko Yamamoto and Ru D using the power of soul, funk, jazz and global beats to provide feelgood vibes.

8pm – late

sunday 31 october

Land:Scapes (guided walks)

Follow Jason Singh through the beautiful gardens at Dartington, absorbing sound, shifting gradients, temperature and smell to inspire reflection.

2pm and 5pm


Gagarine [12A]

Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh’s lovely, wistful feature debut sets its scene in Cité Gagarine – a vast housing project on the outskirts of Paris – concocting a fantastical fiction around its real-life demolition in August 2019.

22-24 Oct, various times


A contemporary incarnation of the cult classic – written by Oscar® winner Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) and directed by Nia DaCosta – here comes a slick, fresh, blood-chilling take on the terrifying urban legend you probably heard about at a sleepover: Candyman.

26-31 Oct, various times

Burn! [AA]

Brilliant radical Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo’s rarely seen, overlooked gem – a riveting historical drama featuring one of Marlon Brando’s most fascinating performances and evocatively scored by Ennio Morricone – followed up his political masterpiece The Battle of Algiers.

An agent of the British government, Sir William Walker (Brando) is sent to the fictional 1800s Caribbean island of Queimada for a three-part mission: to trick its enslaved people into revolt, to divert the sugar trade to England, and then return its people to servitude.

Sometimes recalling an Errol Flynn swashbuckler, Burn! nevertheless refuses to shift focus from its primary story: a devastating indictment of imperialistic nations – here, 19th century Portugal and Britain; but by implication, also the United States, and the country’s contemporaneous involvement in the Vietnam war.

27-31 Oct, various times

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