Project update: October 2020

This month is Black History Month – although we are committed at the Meeting House to sharing, learning and celebrating Black History every month. We have a line-up of events this month in collaboration with creative partners The Black Exchange and Alternative Fictions that we have been busy putting together to ensure a high quality, engaging and relevant events programme that highlights and tackles important conversations we should all be having about issues like Black experience, representation in the Arts and inclusion and allyship. You can see the series of events here:

  • Black Germany exhibition: Based on ground-breaking research, the exhibition employs a number of biographies, accompanied by photographic images, in order to look at the largely forgotten development of a Black Diaspora in Germany from the 1880s up to 1945.
  • The Black Exchange: Newington Green Meeting House Takeover: Founders Anna Fearon & Sade English will open the conversation on the arts industry, representation, society’s misconceptions, the beauty of the African diaspora and the Black community. There will also be live performances from Joel Gumbe and Robia. Both live and virtual attendance is free
  • The Arts Part I: The Arts industry in Conversation with The Black Exchange: A conversation with founders Anna Fearon & Sade Byfield English who will discuss the realities of navigating the arts industry as a Black creative, both historically and presently.
  • Identity Across The Diaspora – A Film Night By The Black Exchange: A selection of curated short films exploring themes of Blackness and identity from contemporary filmmakers across the African diaspora, followed by a directors’ Q&A discussion
  • Refocus: to hell with good intentions : a workshop on solidarity and allyship
  • The Arts Part II: Founders Anna Fearon & Sade English host a panel with artists and creatives. A continuation on our previous discussion of the arts: diversity, representation and manoeuvring within the arts as a Black creative.

And all events are free thanks to funding through the National Lottery Heritage Fund – please just book your free ticket on the respective links.

Putting on events under current circumstances is extremely difficult and we appreciate your support of the project. A lot of work has been done to ensure we are a COVID-19 secure venue, with social distancing signage, hand washing facilities, track and trace and  mandatory mask wearing at all times and maximum capacities in the building in place during events and tours. Our events coordinator has also been working on the online streaming capability for those who would rather, or need to, stay at home. We are extremely grateful to our wonderful volunteers who help open and close the building for these events and ensure extra cleaning and procedures are in place to keep us all safe.

If you have visited the Meeting House you will also see the building work is now complete and the interpretation is being installed – and there’s more to come! At the moment we have signs about the history of the building, some of the people who have been a part of the history, photographs from the archive and more on the local radical heritage of the area. Next up we have the audio tour and touch-screens with more information to explore.

In the digital world – volunteers have been busy researching and writing. Find out more about Anna Laetitia Barbauld and her life in Richard’s blog or more on radical histories in the local area with Jessica’s work on the 43 group in Dalston.

In November there will be more talks, zine-making workshops and virtual tours of Hackney – follow us on social media or keep an eye out for updates on the website. Look forward to seeing you at an event (in person or online) soon!

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