I am grateful that the Leverhulme Trust has awarded me a Research Fellowship, which will provide leave for the 2021-22 academical year. The fellowship will give me the space to advance my thinking, writing, and art-making on a speculative book project, titled White Divestment.
Employing negative utopian thought, White Divestment wrestles ultimately with the question of whether the white racial imaginary is capable of imagining futures in which whiteness has no value and what pedagogies are necessary to summon those futures.
The project stems from collective frustrations with the ways in which white anti-racist pedagogies have the paradoxical effect of shoring up and re-centring whiteness, a topic that I considered at length in my first book, The Creative Underclass.
Methodological pluralism will guide this project. I am analysing art, film, and contemporary events. I am drawing upon historical resources. And I am making artwork to be discussed in the book.
For a full description of the project, click here.
The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) has published a member’s response to the Sewell Report, which made the absurd claim that structural racism cannot explain racial inequalities in the UK. I joined the Society’s Anti-Racist Art Education Action Group in crafting a response, which was difficult to write precisely because our response was exactly what the Sewell Report cynically anticipates and desires. The Sewell Report is one front in the post-Brexit Culture Wars in which Britain and Britishness is being asserted as Christian and White, thus mobilising White grievances to secure political power. This dynamic struggle to secure White power attempts to cast those who call out structural racism as irrational and unreasonable. Those in the arts and the academy, associated with the political left, make easy targets. Nonetheless, responding to this Report is the least worst choice. I look forward to working with NSEAD’s Ant-Racist Art Education Action Group to continue to advance its aims, which can be read here.