This strand of research produces an analysis of how different generations of Black and Asian activists in the UK have mobilised screen media, from film to digital, as a response to the institutional practices and cultural norms that generate disparate racialised outcomes. A central concern is to better understand the motivations of those cultural activists, from the 1980s to the present day, who have selected either film or digital platforms (e.g. social media such as Twitter or Facebook) as a space for resistance, to both articulate experiences of racism and stimulate anti-racist responses.
There are several emergent concerns: the anti-racist interruptions that are made possible by different screen technologies and platforms; the particular interventions that are envisaged by cultural producers; and the effects that such representations actually create. Additionally, in terms of the politics of production, we ask: what is the relationship between marginalised experiences and marginalised creative labour? These are areas that we will research alongside interrogating both what this work can be said to represent, and its links with the dynamic between structure and agency implicated in the politics of representation. Related is the question of how contexts of racism and anti- racism have themselves been reconfigured or reworked as a result of the wider cultural transformation that film and digital media represent.
Through a process of co-creation, in which different constituents involved in anti-racist screen activism (producers, archivists, campaigners) will be brought together to exchange knowledge and help identify project outcomes, the strand seeks to revisit and reconceptualise creative (screen)production of the Black and Asian diaspora in the UK. Working with research participants, we seek to collectively constitute an archive; a moment that Stuart Hall has suggested, “represents the end of a certain kind of creative innocence, and the beginning of a new stage of self- consciousness, of self-reflexivity in an artistic movement” (2001: 89).
The strand provides an opportunity to focus on the motivations, the ‘screen-based creative and artistic strategies’ of creative activists, the linkages between past and present, and the digital (dis)connections of these ‘interruptions’. More broadly, it allows us to probe the relationship between ideas of ‘creativity’ and ‘anti-racism’, and the role of creative agency in impacting racialised structures and processes in ways that lead to change.
Hall, Stuart (2001) Constituting an Archive, Third Text, 15 (54), 89-92.