Day School: What is a ‘Black British’ Film?



Mechanics Institute Library – Bradford

Saturday 20 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Tutor: Roy Stafford


In 2018 we are all becoming more aware of questions of identity and culture. But how does British cinema represent the diversity of cultures in the UK? We see that Black British actors often have to go to America to build their film careers. Why is this? The recent scandal of the treatment of the ‘Windrush generation’ of Caribbean migrants to the UK from 1948 onwards suggests that the narratives of African-Caribbean peoples’ lives are not generally well understood in the UK.

In this Day School we will look at a range of films produced in the UK dealing with the Black British experience. We’ll note the different kinds of films, from popular genre films to avant-garde films and explore why there have been relatively few films by Black British writers and directors and why such films have often struggled to find audiences. Our feature screening will be the key 1981 film Burning an Illusion directed by Menelik Shabazz. We’ll also discuss the recent contrasting films of Amma Asante, Idris Elba, Steve McQueen and John Akomfrah. Are they all part of Black British cinema?

Tea and coffee are available in the Mechanics Institute Library. There are places nearby to buy lunch but you are also welcome to bring your own.

Tickets are £18 and £12 concessions.


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