Obsidian in London and Education (Part 3)
Updated: Nov 25, 2022
The Journey to creating authentic Black Curriculum for Academic Study.
The final blog in this London series is perhaps the biggest part of the October UK launch. October is Black History Month in the UK. The Obsidian Collection is committed to education.We are working to provide accurate information in partnership with Black Archives and Black Curriculum. For over a year we have been in conversations with the University of London PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Center). Our meetings explored the meaning of collaboration with sincere diversity, equity and inclusion. We discussed the questions of who has the authority to tell Black stories. Who should have authority to comb the archives and determine the accurate curriculum?
The journey created a lasting friendship between me and Brigitte Lardinois, the Director of the Photography and Archive Research Centre at UAL’s London College of Communication (LCC). From Brigitte, I learned not only many nuances of curating art exhibits and the depths of the university’s archives; but I learned the importance and her honest commitment to diversity and inclusion without being offensive. Being from different cultures, we found what we have in common. We know we are creating a new project that will have the appropriate depths of academic accomplishment and authenticity of UK Black history.
What we agreed on was University students want authentic, progressive and unique experiences. We knew the collaboration should include the Black Cultural Archives to be authentic to the United Kingdom’s Black history. We also understand the importance of keeping up with modern technology. Students need to learn with the tech of the future.
The A.I. firm, DeepMind decided to sponsor our launch in the UK. It appears we had all the components of a great new effort!
We decided to celebrate this collaboration with an art exhibit at the University. Brigitte engaged two Black curators. Adrian Wood and D. Waife are Senior Lecturers at LCC . They created an exhibit called “The New Wave.” In their own words: “This exhibition explores how young creatives of colour have inspired new forms of creative entrepreneurship and innovative thinking in the arts and creative industries. A celebration of creativity through adversity, it also illustrates how innovative methods for community engagement can help to build new avenues for Black creatives in their journeys towards futures in the arts and media.”
The team at Black Cultural Archives introduced us to the owner of The McKenzie Heritage Picture Archives (MPHA). This was the first commercial picture library to exclusively provide these images for publication and worked with every major media outlet across the UK. Anita McKenzie, her daughter Nasiche and a UAL student curated a wonderful portion of the exhibit. The images and artifacts fit right into The New Wave.
Not only was the opening night of the exhibit a success, but it was also one of the best nights of my life. The vibrancy of the participating photographers and the energy of the diverse youth in attendance were all exhilarating.
Our goal is to bring this exhibit to Chicago for our Black History Month, February 2023. Connecting these two countries through exhibitions and audiences is the beginning of The GLOBAL Obsidian Collection!