It's not all sequins and bikinis
The Centre for Culture and the Arts (CCA) at Leeds Beckett and Leeds City Council present the second instalment in the Leeds Cultural Conversations series – ‘It’s not all sequins and bikinis. Power, performance and play in the Leeds and Trinidad carnival’, by Dr Emily Zobel Marshall on Wednesday 7 October at the Thoresby Room, Leeds City Museum.
Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Zobel Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett, said: “Using the sinister and captivating trickster masquerade character The Midnight Robber as a guide, my talk will focus on the cultures of resistance in the Caribbean carnival and ask to what extent carnival in Trinidad and Leeds continue to provide a challenge to officialdom.”
2017 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Leeds West Indian carnival - the first Caribbean-style street carnival in Europe. To mark the occasion, the CCA at Leeds Beckett is planning an international conference on the history and culture of carnival in May 2017.
Dr Susan Watkins, Director of The Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett, said ‘As part of our Black History Month events, Emily will talk about her research into the tensions between power and resistance in the history of carnival in this talk and ask if a return to traditional Masquerade characters, like the Midnight Robber, is the answer to the perceived commercialisation and commodification of carnival.”
Emily added: “Leeds West Indian carnival is now recognised as one of the city's greatest assets – this talk will give us an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary dynamics of power, performance and play at the heart of this unique cultural phenomenon.”
Dr Zobel Marshall is an expert in the role of trickster figures in the literatures and cultures of Africa and its Diaspora and has published widely in this area. Her research is informed by Postcolonial theory and spans a broad range of concerns, including race and racial politics and Caribbean carnival cultures. She is particularly interested in forms of cultural resistance and cross-cultural fertilisation in the face of colonialism and often focuses her work on the ways in which hybrid identities, languages and literatures challenge and modify existing social and cultural structures.
The series, supported by global academic publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, got off to a topical start in September when Professor Franco Bianchini delivered to a packed house at the city’s art gallery: ‘What is the European Capital of Culture and what it can do for the city’.
Leeds Cultural Conversations sees some of the centres leading academics deliver lunchtime talks in some of the city’s most iconic buildings, including the Town Hall.
For more information on the series please visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/LCC.
Carnival image credit to Max Farrar
The full list of talks is:
‘What is the European Capital of Culture and what it can do for a City’ – Professor Franco Bianchini, Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning. Wednesday 9 September 2015 12.30, Henry Moore lecture Theatre, Leeds Art Gallery.
‘It's not all sequins and bikinis. Power, performance and play in the Leeds and Trinidad carnival.’ - Dr Emily Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial. Wednesday 7 October 2015 12.30, Thoresby Room, Leeds City Museum.
‘Retaking the Commons: culture, politics, and the public realm.’ - Dr Andrew Lawson, Reader in American Literature and Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in English Literature. Wednesday 11 November 2015 12.30, Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall.
‘Doing urban history in an urban world’ - Dr Shane Ewen, Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural History. Wednesday 9 December 2015 12.30, Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall.
‘The real Fagin: the life and crimes of William Sheen’ - Dr Heather Shore, Reader in History. Wednesday 13 January 2015 12.30, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
‘Pride of place: LGBTQ histories and heritage’ - Professor Alison Oram, Professor of Social and Cultural History. Wednesday 10 February 2016 12.30, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
‘Women, visibility and playful acts’ - Dr Liz Stirling, Dr Casey Orr, Jo Hassall, Laura Robinson. Wednesday 9 March 2016 12.30, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
‘Cooking without a clock: women, domesticity and timekeeping in nineteenth century Europe.’ - Dr Rachel Rich, Senior Lecturer in European History. Wednesday 13 April 2016 12.30, Denny Room, Leeds City Museum.
‘Eastern European ‘show trials’ of the 1950s: the Slansky case’ - Dr Kelly Hignett, Senior Lecturer in History. Wednesday 11 May 2016 12.30, Court Room, Leeds Town Hall.