It was a delight to reflect on a wonderful 2023 which saw fantastic innovative artistic commissions and new connections across the arts and heritage sectors, all of which are encapsulated in our recap video. Serendipity Institute for Black Arts and Heritage has a new and exciting year ahead for 2024.
We start the year with the launch of a new exhibition Unspoken: African Dialogues, exploring the complex stories of migration to the UK and specifically giving voice to the African community. The exhibition seeks to move beyond and challenge the monolithic perspective often presented by the media and celebrate the diversity of the African Diaspora in the UK.
On the 8 March for International Women’s Day we will be hosting a critical discussion of Black women in cinema. In a world where Black women are not only underrepresented in film but forced to conform to Black archetypes or European beauty standards, we explore the power of the oppositional gaze. First coined by bell hooks, the oppositional gaze describes the power of the Black female gaze as an act of resistance and challenge to authority.
Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2024 (LDIF24) launches on International Dance Day, 29 April, with a new commission from rising talent, Raul Reinoso, Principal Dancer with Acosta Danza and concludes with headliners National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. The conference will explore the theme of Camouflage: Embodied Dance with a fantastic line up of contributors including nora chipaumire, Tyrone Isaac-Stuart, Carol Y Johnson, Makini, Peter Badejo, Marlon D Simms and Andrew E Woods Valdés. It includes masterclasses and Dance Dialogues led by L’Antoinette Stines, David Blake and Sharon Watson. LDIF24 is a festival full of performance, film, masterclasses and conversation, the essential gathering for international Black dance in the UK.
Moving into June, the Annual Windrush Day Lecture will be presented by Professor Lisa-Dionne Morris, Associate Professor of Human Activity and Product Design Development at the University of Leeds, and the founder of the Black Female Academics’ Network.
Throughout the year, look out for our heritage events and BlackChat. Heritage events are centred around the Living Archive, highlighting the diversity and richness of the Black British experience. BlackChat is a series of talks and roundtable discussions where everyone is welcome to be part of the conversation.
Black History Month (BHM) Leicester will explore the theme: Black British Women: Invisible Power, recognising the leadership of Black Women throughout British history. October will see the launch of 100 Black Women Who Have Made A Mark. The exhibition will feature the portraits of 100 Black women based in the UK and Ireland who have made significant positive change in activism, arts, education, politics, science and technology. BHM will also see the return of Young Archivists and our film programme at Phoenix, complementing the rich collaboration that the month brings with artists, activists and event coordinators across Leicester.
November brings Digital BlackCentric Week. With the rise of technology in the arts from AI to gaming, Digital BlackCentric Week explores how boundaries can be challenged. Digital content and its vision allow creatives to dream, to push boundaries and explore old and new concepts, whilst forging a new language and occupying new space. We will then conclude the year with our annual festive open house in December.
President Kenyatta, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Vice President Hussein Kulmie Afrah of Somalia and General Idi Amin Dada of Uganda. Credits: Camerapix © Keystone Pictures USA/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News
Djoe Tomakloe and Cayla Mae Simpson. Photographer Georgina Payne.