Creatives of colour in the Industry Event, collaboration with Arts SU and Shades of Noir.

If you missed it, no worries:  here is a summary of the event that took place at Wilsons Road Theatre at Camberwell College.

Creatives of Colour in the Industry brought together a panel of practicing artists, designers, curators and journalists, to discuss what it’s like being a person of colour within the creative industries post-graduation and how that intersects with identities of gender and class. This discussion included short introductions/presentations from our panelists alongside a panel discussion and Q&A with students.

The Panelists for this event were: Tobi Oredein.

I do think our work is undervalued and we undervalue our own work and the change needs to start with us’ -Tobi Oredein

 

‘Tobi is a Journalist, entrepreneur and an international public speaker from London. In June 2014, she launched Black Ballad, a publication that seeks to tell the human experience through the eyes of black British women. Black Ballad has become the leading lifestyle website for black British women by covering issues such as black women and disability, politics, beauty and more. In 2016, Black Ballad transitioned into a membership platform. To launch the membership in preparation for a Spring 2017 refresh, the site held a crowdfund in December and raised £11,000.

Outside of Black Ballad, Tobi has become a prominent voice in mainstream women’s lifestyle media by writing about race, feminism, beauty politics and popular culture. She has written for established titles that include: Buzzfeed, Elle, The Debrief, The Independent Vice and more. She was also a part of BBC’s 2017 Black and British Season, appearing as a panelist in BBC 1Xtra’s big debate.’

The event kicked off with a brief presentation by Tobi Oredein on her own experiences within her specialism, alongside statistics on black women within journalism and on the creation behind BlackBallad.

Followed swiftly by Shaka Maidoh from  ArtComesFirst .

 

‘It’s important to learn and enrich yourself by other cultures’ – Shaka Maidoh

 

Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh founded the ACF in order to circulate sartorial nourishment, oxygenating time-based projects through dynamic collaborations with different creatives in their network.

The A.C.F.’s network continues to both define and redefine the real ACF with Lambert and Maidoh dedicated to pumping the day- to-day lifeblood through its ever expanding creative corpo partly by provoking their peers with specific creative concepts. The particular magnetism that binds together individual contributors to the ACF and its projects comes directly from their shared admiration of craftsmanship history and their dedication to its future. {..}

Shaka shared his childhood experiences of growing up in a strict household, and on how for a while he was living a double life, whilst studying at university, until he finally got into the field he truly loved and wanted to be part of. His narratives resonated with many and were relatable.

Our third panelist Samia Malik 

‘We need to know our past and where we come from, to understand our present and our future’. – Samia Malik

Samia is an artist and designer. In 2004, Samia studied MA Womenswear at Central St Martins. In 2012, she studied MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths University. Between 2002 till 2015, she designed and sold her own independent clothing label. In past couple of years, she has curated and exhibited in art exhibitions focusing on issues of social justice.

Samia gave a presentation on her journey within UAL and studying at CSM, she spoke on her practice and also on where she stands currently, touching on the new projects she’s involved in and creating, such as the Women of Colour Reading Group currently at Goldsmiths .

Finally, our last panelist, Peju Oshin.

 

‘Never take No for an answer’ – Peju Oshin

 

Peju is a London born freelance museum educator and curator with a background in design. Her practice centres around taking various creative outputs to tell stories that are unheard and those of the ‘other’ to create a sense of understanding cross-culturally. Peju gave a brief presentation on background, her family and her experiences in higher education. Adding that even though she chose less practically creative subjects, she eventually got into what she originally wanted to do to begin with, also highlighting her experience on an internship and on certain internships to be aware of and weary of.

During the discussions, the panelists elaborated on their experiences of the commonly spoken about topic (predominantly amongst family members or friends outside of the arts or creative fields) of ‘Getting a Real degree’ vs getting an ‘Arts degree’. We asked the panel how they thought this comparison has evolved or is evolving. Each panelist spoke about their own experiences through higher education and their courses; on how they managed and worked through these challenging obstacles and how they used these challenges to their advantage.

Questions ranged from asking the black and brown womxn of the panel on black or brown identifying womxn within the industry and how these experiences have shaped their perspectives of the creative industries alongside lessons learnt on their journeys within their chosen specialisms. Our panelists answered with incredible honesty and transparency whilst sharing their stories and thoughts, the event felt intimate and formed more of a even bigger atmosphere of a safe space with lesser numbers and with students sitting more in proximity with the panel.

Ending on questions that touched on the topic of tokenism and when to establish or to spot the signs of being a ‘token’ and how the panelists dealt with their own encounters with being a token in their field, were insightful. Particularly from Samia Malik, who spoke to students on the work of Shades of Noir’s Aisha Richards: ‘Teaching Within’ Programme that she is currently taking part in and training and on the importance of this pedagogical work within UAL.  

The event closed with advice from panelists on what they would advise to young emerging artists of color and/or final year students that may be struggling. The event lead onto post-networking where the discussion continued and contacts were exchanged.

Shades would like to thank the Arts SU educations officer Hansika and Claire on this successful collaborative event with them, it was a huge learning experience and a much needed event that many students gained and learned from.

We Salute You All.

 

Words by Tiff.

 

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