Call for papers

“Consent not to be a single being: Worlding the Caribbean”

Tate , London, United Kingdom
Deadline: 06 April 2021

John Akomfrah, The Unfinished Conversation, 2012. © John Akomfrah / Smoking Dogs Films.

John Akomfrah, The Unfinished Conversation, 2012. © John Akomfrah / Smoking Dogs Films.

Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational (HTRC:T), University of the Arts London (UAL) and Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) announcing a jointly organised symposium entitled “Consent not to be a single being: Worlding the Caribbean”.

As part of the Worlding Public Cultures London Academy, the symposium takes the Caribbean and Caribbean thought as a starting point to reconsider global histories of art in the context of migration and environmental precarity. As a region wrought by the transhistorical forces of transatlantic slavery, industrialisation, settler colonialism and resource extraction on the one hand, and creolisation on the other, Caribbean modernity allows us to theorise larger patterns about potential forms of global modernity. Indeed, the region functions as a location from which to theorise key concepts developed by Caribbean thinkers, which provide a guiding structure for the symposium: Creolisation and Wordliness, On Being Human as Praxis, and Closed and Open Identities. Drawing on the work of Édouard Glissant, Sylvia Wynter, and Stuart Hall (respectively), this symposium takes these ideas as paradigmatic for a larger understanding of global modernity and as a generative framework.

Creolisation and Worldliness (mondialité), building on the work of Édouard Glissant, examines how humans have come together, often in extreme circumstances, to create new worlds, new forms of relation, new poetics, and new imaginaries.

On Being Human as Praxis takes Sylvia Wynter’s thinking around global legacies of coloniality and enslavement as a starting point for critically reappraising of the category of the Human. How have these ontologies been constructed and narrated in artistic representation, museums, universities and other forms of visual public culture? How can we displace the Renaissance construction of Man to transform our scale of thinking from regional parochialism to the planetary?

Closed and Open Identities is inspired by Stuart Hall’s important work in public education and pedagogy around ideas of race, identity and culture. In particular, how can museums and universities be sites of social transformation at a time of increased scrutiny? In addition, how can they be used as pedagogical tools in a public sphere characterised by heightened intolerance?

In the current climate framed by a global health crisis and ongoing political and ideological conflict, “Worlding the Caribbean” enables us to imagine new intergenerational, interracial, and interregional possibilities of being together, and new modes of shaping public culture. In particular, this symposium considers the museum and the university as contested sites of power and cultural production. Additionally, in the context of a major exhibition on Caribbean-British art at Tate Britain in 2021-22, this conference offers a timely opportunity to consider the complex legacies of Caribbean global modernities on contemporary public cultures.

The symposium will be conducted in English only. Selected speakers will be notified by mid-May 2021. They are advised to be available for both in-person and online/remote delivery of papers due to the changing guidelines on travel and congregation as well as for sustainability reasons. For in-person participation, the speakers will be provided with economy/standard roundtrip travel tickets (to/from London) and lunch and dinner on symposium days. Accommodation is not covered by the organisers but logistic assistance can be provided upon request. All speakers including online/remote participants will receive a modest honorarium.


Scholars and practitioners working on relevant topics are invited to submit a 250-word English abstract, along with a 2-page CV to by Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 6pm UTC.


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