Culture

Celebrating British Writers of Colour in Berlin

Literary Event Celebrating the Diverse Nature of British Literature in Kreuzburg, Berlin

November 30th, 2017
Matthew J. C. Carrington, Berlin Global
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A group of British authors produced a one-off event hosted by Lettrétage - das Literaturhaus in Berlin Kreuzberg, celebrating the work of British authors of colour.

The event, held on the 16th November at 20.00, was a partnership between Lettrétage and Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions’ Breaking Ground tour sponsored by Arts Council England.

Authors such as performance poet Francesca Beard, the Laureate Caleb Femi, poet Rishi Dastidar and author Xiaolu Guo came together to produce a performance utilising film, photography, technology, music and audioscapes to create a thought-provoking multi-dimensional experience and to showcase the diverse nature of the British authors.

At the heart of the Speaking Volumes production is the celebration of the work of British authors of colour and to promote diversity in the UK publishing industry. Julia Shimura of Speaking Volumes, in an interview with CROWD Literature, conveys that the project is “aiming to change/challenge attitudes both within the industry and in society more generally” [in terms of] “the inequality and lack of diversity within the UK publishing industry”.

“We believe we can help to overcome the inequalities and intolerance that Brexit is opening up through greater partnerships across the continent. This forms the heart of our Breaking Ground project, which was funded by Arts Council England prior to the Brexit vote, but which has never seemed more necessary. Through this, we’re visiting Finland, Spain, Portugal and Lithuania as well as Germany, building up networks and audiences for British writers of colour – and, we hope, creating lasting friendships and open doors as a result.”

The Arts Council England receives government funding from the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and promotes the UK creative sector through funding and supporting arts and culture across England. At the heart of the Arts Council England’s strategy is Cultural Diplomacy, defined as the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding.

Cultural Diplomacy initiatives, such as this event in Kreuzberg, are not only important in challenging attitudes but also in building bridges between nations and their peoples. And in the political climate of Brexit, facilitating understanding, building bridges and creating lasting friendships through Cultural Diplomacy, has never seemed more necessary.

References:

  • "Cultural Diplomacy, Political Influence, and Integrated Strategy," in Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda, and Political Warfare, ed. Michael J. Waller (Washington, DC: Institute of World Politics Press, 2009) .
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