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Dialectics of Belonging and Strategies of Space: Cultural Memory, B/black Women's Creativity, and the Folds of British Art History 1985-2011

Spencer-Mills, Elicia Clare (2016) Dialectics of Belonging and Strategies of Space: Cultural Memory, B/black Women's Creativity, and the Folds of British Art History 1985-2011. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Building on the challenges set out at the Shades of Black conference in 2001, this thesis contributes to a recent resurgence of re-visitation and reframing of British B/black artists and the 1980s, and the emerging dialogues and discourses, with a particular focus on B/black British women artists. The research is grounded in a detailed case study of one such recent event, the Thin Black L|ne(s) exhibition of 2011 at Tate Britain devised by artist Prof. Lubaina Himid, seeking to plot out Himid’s discursive approach grounded in the visual, the performative, and the plural. I argue that Thin Black L|ne(s) is a practical, methodological and theoretical approach for inscribing B/black British artists into the visual arts canon and wider cultural memory of Britain. By taking on board the concepts and discussions of Lubaina Himid’s ‘conversations’ and Jenny Tennant Jackson’s ‘fold’, I propose a fundamental shift in approach to, and method of, British art history. Centering on the exhibition alongside interviews with four of the featured artists this research examines the strategies of the creative and curatorial practice of a selection of B/black British artists ranging from 1985 to 2011. I aim to open up new possibilities of engagement with Thin Black L|ne(s), and its artworks, as performative sites enacting discourse in a common and interconnected British art history, rather than signifiers of otherness in an alternative narrative of Britishness. The second part of this thesis offers an interdisciplinary ‘methodology of listening’ in order to better engage in dialogue with B/black British women artists. I examine the research method and purpose of the artist interview, and utilizing constructivist grounded theory methods offer new ways to move forward with an art history that responds to and respects Himid’s practice of generating conversations as presented in her exhibition Thin Black L|ne(s).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Black British Women Artists, Grounded Theory, Artist Interview, Black Arts Movement, Black British Art 1980s
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr E C Spencer-Mills
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2017 15:51
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2017 15:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17651

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