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UCLan launches Black Atlantic Research Institute

14 May 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Research centre to promote African Atlantic studies

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has launched a research institute to work with leading UK organisations to promote African Atlantic studies.

The Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) will bring together UCLan research in black British art and culture, African Atlantic literature and culture, curatorial practice in African American and African art, the literature and cultures of African rivers and black Atlantic drama and performance.

IBAR will foster partnerships with museums, galleries, broadcasters and community organisations to promote the study of the Black Atlantic in the UK. These organisations include the International Slavery Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, Tate Galleries, Front Room Theatre Company, Lancashire Museums and Preston Black History Group.

“The Institute for Black Atlantic Research will bring together an interdisciplinary and internationally renowned research pedigree in African Atlantic studies within the University.”

Professor in English and American studies and Director of the Institute Alan Rice said: “The Institute for Black Atlantic Research will bring together an interdisciplinary and internationally renowned research pedigree in African Atlantic studies within the University. This specialist focus on the cultural and artistic aspects of the African diaspora with local, national and global implications makes it a unique addition to intellectual endeavour in the field.”

The Institute has received the backing of award-winning playwright and novelist Caryl Philips Caryl, born in St. Kitts and raised in Leeds, he is best known for his novels and much of his fictional work depicts the experiences of people of the African Diaspora.

Attending the launch event, Caryl read from his new novel The Lost Child. Due to be published in early 2015, the story takes place in the north of England both now and in the eighteenth century.

 

“The University of Central Lancashire already has an international reputation in this area, and the formal creation of an Institute will only cement its position as a leading player in this field.”

Caryl Group

Caryl, a Professor of English at Yale University in the USA, commented: “I'm very honoured to be able to join Professor Alan Rice and other scholars and researchers who are focused on Black Atlantic Research to celebrate the launching of this institute.

“The University of Central Lancashire already has an international reputation in this area, and the formal creation of an Institute will only cement its position as a leading player in this field.”

Professor Rice added: “Caryl is a globally recognised author and essayist in the area of African Atlantic studies so it’s an honour to welcome him to the opening of the Institute. His Northern roots across the Pennines in Leeds combined with his links to the Caribbean and North America make him a singularly appropriate guest at the launch of IBAR.”

IBAR researchers include Professor Lubaina Himid MBE, who has participated at an international level in exhibitions, conferences, books and films on the visual art of the Black Diaspora since the early 1980’s, and the Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain and UCLan Doctoral student Zoe Whitley who recently co-curated a show on Afro-futurism, The Shadows Took Shape, at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

In addition, the Institute has been awarded 300,000 euro from the EU Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship Grant to fund a two year, first ever interdisciplinary study, into the politics of horror and terror in transatlantic Gothic narratives of the Haitian Revolution from 1791 to the present.