CfP: On Whose Terms?: Ten Years On…

On Whose Terms?: Ten Years On…

(in Critical Negotiations in Black British Literature and the Arts)

Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

22-23 March 2018


The cultural power of Black British* literature and the Arts resides as much in the exploration of pressing cultural concerns, as in its innovative material aesthetics and textual practices.

The 2008 landmark conference ‘On Whose Terms?: Critical Negotiations in Black British Literature and the Arts’ focused upon local, international and transnational engagements with Black British literature and the Arts, to trace the multiple – real and imaginary – routes through its production, reception and cultural politics. It created a meeting point for prominent and emerging scholars, writers and practitioners, young people and the general public for exploring the impact of this field, both at home and abroad. 

The 2018 return conference, ‘On Whose Terms?: Ten Years On…’ aims to chart what has happened throughout the past the decade.  As substantial reclamations in cultural histories continue to expand and revise the horizons of knowledge, recent cultural and technological changes have also propelled new mechanisms of success as well as marginalization, invisibility and exclusion. This return conference offers a platform for incorporating the developments and questions concerning the impact of globalization and digitization, post-humanism and biopolitics, visuality and materiality.

At a time when established notions of community, human life and democracy have come under new and considerable pressures, this return conference offers a vibrant arena for critically engaging with Black British politics and the aesthetic practices that respond to today’s local and global challenges. The conference seeks to take stock of these developments as well as encouraging fresh discourses in the field, in a context of critical investigation and celebration; to continue a journey along diasporic and aesthetic routes.

*Black British indicates a scope, for ease of reference, to a body of work by writers of African descent in a context of literary history, rather than as imposing racial restrictions upon complex possible identities and self-terming.



·         Carole Boyce Davies gives the Professor Stuart Hall Memorial Address

·         Fred D’Aguiar 

·         John McLeod

·         Jackie Kay in conversation with Blake Morrison

·         Malorie Blackman tbc


Performance and readings by Patience Agbabi, SuAndi, Jay Bernard, Kei Miller, Courttia Newland


Please see attachment for further details of invited specialist panellists, events, exhibitions and participating organisations.


Paper proposals

We invite proposals across a broad spectrum of areas: drama, poetry, prose, performance, film, visual arts, music, curating, publishing, arts management and history. Areas of discussion might connect with the following ideas:


(i) Sites and Sights – The Digital Medium

(ii) Decolonising the Curricula

(iii) Historicising the Field

(iv) Economies of Cultural Visibility: the ‘Value’ of Black British Literature

(v) New Subjectivities: Mixedness, Post-humanism and Afro-futures

(vi) Sexual Textual Practices

(vii) Holding Environments: Publishing, Archiving, Revivals


Please send your abstract (250 words) and a bio (50 words) by 31 May 2017 to: OnWhoseTerms10YearsOn[at]



 Deirdre Osborne, (Goldsmiths University of London)

Birgit Neumann, (University of Dusseldorf, Germany)

 In partnership with

 Kei Miller, (University of Exeter)

Catherine Robson, (New York University, London)

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