The October Dialogues 2015: Black Lives Matter

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Movement and the 50th anniversary of the UK Race Relations Act, during Black History Month, please join the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (University of Nottingham), Bright Ideas Nottingham, the Monitoring Group and Nottingham Contemporary for The October Dialogues 2015:

Black Lives Matter: The Past, Present and Future of an International Movement for Rights and Justice

Nottingham Contemporary, The Space
October 28, 2015

Plus an evening of Hip Hop performance and dialogues featuring Akala and activist-scholars Dr. Monica Miller and Dr. James Peterson (Lehigh University) (6.30-9pm).

Stephen Lawrence. Eric Garner. Mark Duggan. Michael Brown. Sean Rigg. Trayvon Martin. Olaseni Lewis. Freddie Gray. Kingsley Burrell. Oscar Grant. Smiley Culture. Mya Hall. Cynthia Jarrett. Tamir Rice. Julian Cole. Tony Robinson. Cherry Groce. Walter Scott. Colin Roach. Rodney King. Demetre Fraser. Sandra Bland. Azelle Rodney. #SayTheirNames #ICantBreathe #HandsUpDontShoot #BlackLivesMatter

The rallying calls of a new movement have spread across the US and the UK. There have been around 1000 Black Lives Matter protests worldwide in the last two years, including in at least 10 UK cities. There are now 30 Black Lives Matter chapters across the United States. The movement responds to the oppression, violence and exclusion that shapes black lives: in the US, 42% of black children are educated in high-poverty schools, black Americans are 37% of the country’s homeless population, constitute nearly half of the 2 million jail population, and are 26% of those killed by police (though are 13% of the population). In the UK, black children are more than twice as likely as white children to be living in poverty, black people are six times as likely as whites to be stopped and searched, are more likely to go to jail when convicted of similar crimes and will serve longer sentences, are twice as likely to be not in employment, education or training, and are more likely to be forcibly restrained when held under mental health legislation. “I Can’t Breathe” evokes the suffocating daily reality of all these statistics.

A series of panels featuring activists and researchers will explore the roots, dynamics and possible futures of #BlackLivesMatter. Is it a movement or a moment? A transatlantic or an American phenomenon? How does it operate on local, regional, national or international levels? Does it have a leader? What characterises its rhetoric, visual culture and philosophies? Is it a new civil rights movement, a new Black Power movement or a new black feminism? Did Black Lives Matter bring down the Confederate flag? Push President Obama to speak with a new voice? What is its protest heritage—does it draw from the lessons, tactics and legacies of anti-slavery, anti-lynching, the Black Panthers, Anti-Apartheid, or other movements? Is there a usable past for Black Lives Matter and what is that protest memory in the U.S. and UK? What should #BlackLivesMatterUK be about? What is the history of Black Lives Matter since the UK Race Relations Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of 50 years ago, and where is Black Lives Matter going next?

Please send a 200-word abstract on these or related topics and a short biographical note to by August 24. Panels will be announced by the end of August. In particular we welcome presentations by postgraduate and early-career researchers (within 5 years of the PhD). Funding will cover UK travel and accommodation for presenters, and registration is free.

Supported by the British Academy