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Monthly Archives: April 2009

We’re getting excited about the Race, Privilege & Identity gathering this weekend!

Is Bristol ready for the stampede of visitors? We hope so and are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

To give us courage, we invoke the power of Jayaben Desai, one of the principal leaders of the Grunwick strike that began in August 1976 and ended at the beginning of 1978.


We will be showingThe Great Grunwick Stike: A History 1976-1978 on the Saturday night of the gathering. The film presents an important history of the strike which was led mainly by Asian women workers and was supported by impressive solidarity actions throughout the UK.

The film also depicts the violent policing of the strike which can only resonate, in light of the G20 protests, with the worst of police brutality we are currently witnessing.


Certainly not to be missed…..


For folks coming out of town, here is information on how to get to the main venues for Race, Privilege & Identity.

Bristol is a nightmare to negotiate by bus, seriously. Here is the best way to get to the places you need to go.

Friday: 9 Bath Buildings. Here’s a map.

From Bristol Bus Station it is a short walk. You need to walk up Stoke’s Croft, this will lead onto Cheltenham Rd, Bath Buildings is the first road on your right.

From Bristol Temple Meads you will need to catch a 8, 9 bus into town, get off by Stoke’s Croft and do the same walk. There is no bus that goes direct from the station to this venue. Sorry!

Saturday St Werberghs Community Centre.

Here’s a map.

From Bristol Temple Meads catch a local train to Stapleton Rd train station. Walk onto Stapleton Rd, and then turn onto Waverly Rd, keep walking in a straight line, you will need to cross the motorway bridge and you will see St Werberghs Community Centre glistening (hopefully it will be a sunny day!)

From the Centre of Town, ie the bus station, catch a 25 or a 5 bus, get off on the first stop after The Better Food Company, opposite the Victoria pub. Walk down Stafford Rd, turn right slightly, then left. The community centre will be in front of you.

Good luck! Email us if this isn’t clear and we can try and make it clearer!


Friday 24th April, 7.30pm – 10.30pm @ 9 Bath Buildings, Montpelier

Film starts at 8pm

Film Screening: Travel Queeries (2009, 96 mins)

Travel Queeries is a documentary that examines the culture, art and activism of radical queers in contemporary Europe.

Through personal interviews and documentation of performances, festivals, multi-media visual arts and spaces, Travel Queeries puts an exciting international lens on queer fringe culture. With the aim of building bridges and awareness, Travel Queeries considers the word “queer” and explores the complexities, innovative values and spirit of queer within a progressive social change movement.

Following the screening there will be a discussion about issues of race, privilege and identity raised by the film.

Saturday 25th April, 10am – 11pm @ St.Werberghs Community Centre, Bristol, BS2 9TJ

Workshops will run over two days and there will be an opening plenary, an icebreaker followed by two simultaneous workshop streams and a closing plenary on Sunday that will be used to for evaluative purposes and future action planning.

10 – 11.30 Opening Plenary and icebreaker

Saturday, Stream One

12.00 – 1.30 Anti-Racist Space Audit: Part One

Facilitator: Sam Lamble

Too often racism is seen as primarily a problem of individual attitudes, prejudice or ignorance. Though certainly important, a focus on individual behaviour often obscures systemic forms of racism, namely racist norms that are embedded in institutions, community spaces, and collective practices. The physical spaces we inhabit, whether public buildings, resource centres, community workplaces or social squats, are often neglected as sites that require specific anti-racism work.

This two-part workshop considers the ways in which spaces we inhabit may reinforce racial, gender, class, and ability-based hierarchies.

1.30 – 2.30 Lunch

2.30 – 4pm Street Activist Coalition Building Across the Margins

Facilitator: Abher Behn

“Now we must recognise differences among (wo)men who are our equals, neither inferior nor superior, and devise ways to use each others’ difference to enrich our visions and our joint struggles.”*
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

Street and community activists use face to face engagement as a tool to action change, raise awareness about social justice issues and the atrocities of state and nation.

If, as “progressive” activists, we confront many issues in solidarity with the marginalised communities they affect, why are the groups fighting for social justice still so lacking in diversity? Why are we are still struggling to embrace and include difference within activist groups? Why are the decisions of autonomous non-hierarchical activist groups still being dominated by white straight able bodied privileged men, in said and unsaid ways despite the rhetoric?

The anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist/feminist movements of the last 20 years have worked hard to be truly “inclusive”, to avoid the political replication of a rightwing exclusionary demographic (from which the leftist vanguard suffered to its detriment) and essentialisms, but are we really succeeding in doing this? In the very act of “including” we are announcing that there is “another” to include, someone we place outside of the socio-economic history of activist organisation.

If we continue to deny difference we deny access, despite the declarations of an open door and so our potential for movement and transgression remains a contradictory theoretical construct.

In this workshop we will discuss and map the language of oppression and “inclusivity”, how identity and privilege work complicitly with race/gender/class/ableism in an immediate and destructive way in our lives as activists and community organisers. How in trying to sustain our communities and tackle local, global and personal oppressions we need to find ways to challenge the behaviour, language and actions of the self and one another beyond tokenistic gestures of tolerance and acceptance.

4.30 – 6 Remember Olive Morris
Facilitators: Remembering Olive Collective

Olive Morris was a key figure in Black British and Black British feminist history. A member of the Brixton Black Panthers, she also founded the Brixton Black Women’s Group, was a founding member of Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent and was at the forefront of London-based squatter movements in the 1970s.

The London based Remembering Olive Collective is a grassroots history project made up of a mixture of women from different backgrounds and ages. Their presentation will introduce the aims and objectives of the Remember Olive Morris? Project; including the activities they have already done, the use of the blog and, of course, collecting information about the life of Olive Morris.

Saturday, Stream Two

12.00 – 1.30 Race & feminism: learning from history
Facilitator: Terese J

This workshop will start with a presentation looking at how racism and white privilege has been challenged, discussed, ignored and/or erased from history at different moments within feminism’s recent past (looking in particular at the 80s). It will also challenge the popular misconception that feminism in the UK has always been led by white women. The presentation will be followed by a discussion about how contemporary feminist activistscan engage with and learn from this history, and to think about ways in which we can avoid reinventing the wheel, and instead build on the historically-grounded, critically honest and accountable antiracist movements spearheaded by anti-imperialist feminists in the 1980s.

2.30 – 4 ‘Colonialism’s final frontier’
Facilitator: Bristol LGB Forum

‘Under One Sky’, Bristol LGB Forum’s groundbreaking project documenting the experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people of BME heritage / BME heritage and Faith present a workshop contextualizing their research to date within the historical and contemporary oppression of LGB people of colour in Britain.

4.30 – 6 Too many prisons, not enough justice

Facilitator: Bristol ABC

Prisons are tools of social exclusion that remove and silence the criminalised other, often defined as such by gender, ethnicity, economic status or political affiliation. We can see this at work in the UK today, with people of colour being over-represented in the prison system, the growing number of women and young people being given custodial sentences, and the disproportionately long sentences meted out to political activists. This destroys our communities while keeping individuals isolated and vulnerable; communities and individuals are criminalised, excluded and disempowered.

Prisons reinforce the state and capitalism’s oppressive agenda: hierarchical, patriarchal, racist, heterosexist, homophobic, and imperialist.

In our workshop, we will explore the factors that increasingly contribute simultaneously to the criminalisation and victimisation of communities. We will also discuss ways of defending against the criminalisation and overpolicing of our communities to oppose the growing “prison society”. It is our hope that this will feed into any plenary session discussion regarding future action.

Bristol ABC works in solidarity with political and social prisoners to challenge state oppression by directly
supporting radical, anarchist and class war prisoners. We consider all prisoners are political prisoners. We look to examples of solidarity and mutual aid to find solutions in our communities.

Bristol ABC is made up of radical activists who are engaged in the day to day struggle against the state, capitalism, and all forms of oppression. We will draw on this knowledge for the workshop.

6pm – 7.30 Dinner

Saturday Night Film Screening: 7.30 pm onwards

The Journey of Bronze Woman, Monument of Love, the Installation (10 mins, 2009)

The first permanent statue of a Black woman in the UK was unveiled in Stockwell, London, in October 2008.
The film focuses on this historic event whilst introducing the inspiration behind the statue, 89 year old poet, composer and writer Cecile Nobrega, author of the poem ‘Bronze Woman’.

Kuchu Story (20 mins, 2008)

Rachel Wamoto’s short documentary presents candid interviews with British born lesbians of African and West Indian descent and those who have come to Britain in order to be out.

The Great Grunwick Strike 1976-1978: a history (64 mins, 2008)

This film tells the tale of the Great Grunwick strike at a film-processing factory in North London at the end of the 1970s.

The strike, led by Jeyaben Desai, was mainly comprised of Asian women workers. This documentary tells the story through footage and stills from the time plus contemporary interviews with forty-odd participants.

It offers an honest and direct account of how a small band of workers in a small back-street factory managed to bring out thousands and thousands of workers in solidarity for the simple right to form a trade union.

Sunday, Stream One

11 – 12.30 AIDS, Intellectual Property and Access to Knowledge

Facilitators: Mike & Dettie

Mike & Dettie will screen their work-in-progress documentary Patent Fever (33 min) which takes a fresh look at the controversy surrounding patents and access to medicines in the country hardest hit by HIV: South Africa. Patent Fever documents both the progress on access to treatment and the new under-reported explosion of HIV-TB co-infection that threatens to undermine it. The film draws on previously unseen archive footage and the personal testimony of key players – including Vuyiseka Dubula, the new inspirational head of the Treatment Action Campaign – to narrate the latest twist in the decades long global fight against AIDS.

After showing the film there will be the opportunity to give feedback to the filmmakers and discuss the issues raised during the film.

Watch the trailer here.

Sunday, Stream Two

11 – 12.30 Deaf and disability awareness

Facilitators: Marion and Lani

How can we make our events more accessible to deaf and disabled people? It is easier than you might think! In fact, attitudes and lack of awareness create the biggest barriers for deaf and disabled people. We will discuss practical strategies for improving accessibility which don’t require a lot of money or specialist knowledge.

We will also talk a little about the social model of disability and the history of deaf and disabled movements. What can we learn from them? We will be drawing on experiences of living as and working with disabled people, but we are not experts! Please feel free to discuss your own ideas and experiences, so that we can learn from each other.

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 2.30 Anti-Racist Space Audit
Facilitator: Sam Lamble

While Part 1 of the workshop identified problems, Part 2 focuses on solutions. Participants will be asked to identify the five most pressing issues/concerns they identified in Part 1 of the workshop, and then brainstorm possible strategies and solutions. This will lead into a larger facilitated discussion, where participants can raise issues that come up in the audit exercise, discuss challenges and collectively share ideas for creating anti-racist spaces.

Closing Plenary 2.30 – 4