Happy New Year!
We’re thrilled to kick off 2018 with our early bird tickets totally SOLD OUT! With that first milestone out of the way, we thought we’d tackle a question we’ve been asked a couple of times now – ‘Should I/ Can I attend the conference?’
The short answer is a resounding ‘YES YOU CAN!’ whoever you are, whatever you are and wherever you are (as long as you can reach us in Birmingham)! The only exception to this is if you are a raging bigot – in which case, please do not buy a ticket to our conference – you will not be welcome.
As outlined in our ‘About’ section:
The conference is open to all and we welcome attendees from a variety of backgrounds. In order to maintain an inclusive safe in which to explore the limitless possibilities of Blackness in Britain and to Re-imagine, we emphasise that racism, xenophobia, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, Islamaphobia or any other bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated at this event.
To avoid any potential room for confusion, we wish to highlight that by ‘Black’, we refer to people in Britain racialised as Black – of Afro-Caribbean and/ or Afro-Latinx or any other Black identity descended from the African continent. We also wish to highlight that by ‘Black Britain’, we refer to those identifying as ‘Black British’ as well as those identifying as being Black in Britain but not necessarily British.
Whether you identify as male, female, neither, white, brown, none of the aforementioned, you are most welcome to buy a ticket and join us as guests to re-imagine Black Britain. However, the central focus of the conference and all conversations on the day will be on those racialised as Black and who find themselves living in Britain. This means there will be no room to derail conversations and centre the problems and issues of other communities or individuals when not appropriate. Often vacuous comparison is futile and rarely fruitful and often at such events that is exactly what ends up taking place.
As part of our mission to ‘Re-imagine’, we must confront ourselves and our community, solution-focused, with the intention of positive problem-solving as well as a celebration of our Blackness in all its variation and heterogeneity.
What if I’m not racialised as Black?
We hope all friends and allies from the various other communities our identities intersect with will come to the conference to learn, listen, and work out how they can, as part of a wider mission to achieve equality for all people, play their part and meaningfully support the Black British struggle, without taking up undue space, gaslighting, erasing, or (un)intentionally stripping Black people of agency.
What if I don’t identify as a woman?
Those familiar with the work of the conference organisers as individual organisations would be forgiven for thinking this conference is only open to women. Wrong! This conference aims to engage with all members of the Black British community, regardless of gender and other intersections. In fact, it is vital we have as much representation of Blackness in the room as possible so that the notions of ‘Blackness’ and ‘Black Britishness’ themselves can be healthily challenged. It’s not always possible to represent everyone but it’s always important to try. With that said, we would hope conference attendees recognise that women, particularly Black women experience a very specific form of oppression called misogynoir – which means sexism is racialised and racism is gendered simultaneously, not to mention throwing into the mix things like class, sexuality, ability, and so on. This means that often it’s the voices of men that get heard in spaces like conferences for example. Although there are self-identifying men on each panel we’ve curated, you will notice that most are woman-heavy – and that’s okay! As with everything, we need everyone to roll up their sleeves to help tackle the many problems and social injustices we are faced with.
We also welcome all those who identify as trans and/ or non-binary and/ or none of the aforementioned. We want to say this specifically because too often siblings of other genders (and no gender at all) can feel most unwelcome in these types of conversations. We want to emphatically state that at our conference, you are most welcome.
I’m not that political and I don’t feel I know much about this kind of thing – what about me?
The ‘Re-imagining Black Britain’ conference is a space in which to learn! Lived experience is as valuable as study and scholarship and we recognise that too often many members of marginalised communities can feel too intimidated to get involved. Whenever and wherever possible, we want the conversations that take place at the conference to be level-playing fields and we encourage all delegates to feel free to speak up and ask questions when they want to and need to. For at least one of our panels we will also be experimenting with layout to move away from traditional panel set-ups in our bid to ‘Re-imagine’.
Convinced? Reassured? Fabulous.
Buy your General Entry ticket to the ‘Re-imagining Black Britain’ Conference 2018 right here before it’s too late! www.reimaginingconf.eventbrite.co.uk
We’ll see you on Saturday 27th January 2018 in Birmingham!