Skip to main content

Making Histories Visible at The Centre for Contemporary Art

Making Histories Visible has since 2005 excavated creative histories. We work with major art museums and international cultural organisations to connect artists and communities with their local and international heritage through exhibitions, archive interventions and public art projects. We aim to act as cultural brokers to encourage a sense of belonging and contribution to the culture, while strategically engaging in curatorial collaborations, major collection interventions and public exhibition projects. Research is undertaken by Professor Lubaina Himid with Susan Walsh and Christine Eyene.

As a result of current projects in 2012/2013 and previous work carried out in collaboration with Tate in 2005 and 2008, major acquisitions have been made of work by artists from the black diaspora by Tate itself as well as a number of internationally recognised institutions. Tate has acquired work by artists included in the MHV exhibition Thin Black Line(s) 2011 Tate Britain. Manchester Art Galleries has acquired work from Tailor Striker Singer Dandy 2010 and the entire installation Naming the Money 2004 has been recently acquired for the International Slavery Museum by National Museums Liverpool

The display, access and development of the Black Art Archive and Print & Drawing Study Collection at the Centre for Contemporary Art has encouraged, a steady growth of interest in the work of artists from the Black Diaspora. We actively engage in public talks and archive tours as well as significant loans of materials and artworks to external organisations.

We also edit and disseminate the on Line journal Colourcode ; currently in its fourth year. In it we encourage the building of working relationships between enthusiastic audiences, energetic curatorial teams, creative participants and artists from all over the world. We introduce young creative people to the work of professional visual art practitioners whose concerns range from the black urban experience to innovative experiments with process. We highlight educational courses which investigate the histories and promote the richness of visual art contribution of diverse cultures. We feature artists; web sites, new books, archive material, small visual art events, moving image festivals and major metropolitan exhibitions. We discuss the collecting policies of major museums and aim to expand the limited range of critical writing around the politics of representation . We plan to continue working with several major museum collections to help them to show sensitive and never formerly displayed material around caricature and slavery. The papers and artwork work produced will encourage extensive dialogue around collecting and presentation while facilitating a respectful dialogue with core audiences and culturally diverse partners. This work is part of a HERA bid currently being assessed.

We have a firm and visible commitment to the development of future display opportunities for the creative projects internationally including venues and projects in Europe and Africa and importantly will strive share the creative histories of artists of African /Asian descent with audiences seeking to experience a real sense of belonging as well as with academics seeking to integrate this research into the canon of Contemporary Art where it belongs.


History of Britain’s Black Art Movement

History of art from the British based African Diaspora 1970’s to present.

History of South African art 1930’s to present

Gender narratives in the work of black women artists

Contemporary African art with a focus on conceptual art and links with classical African and visual and performative work.

Urban culture and street art in Africa and the diaspora

Body narratives, performance and conceptual art in current mainstream visual arts.

Temporary art installations in public places – Site & Archive Intervention

  • Papers published in several international peer review journals
  • Keynote lectures including at CAAR 2009 and TERRA/Oxford University 2013
  • Curatorial collaboration on international, and national projects including Thin Black Line(s) Tate Britain 2011/2012 and the co -curatorship of Dak’Art 2012
  • Exhibition catalogue essays including We Face Forward –art from West Africa Today Manchester Art Galleries.
  • Exhibitions through publically funded, and commercial galleries including Thin Black Line(s) 2011/2012 Tate Britain , Cotton Global Threads 2012 Whitworth Art Gallery, Jelly Mould Pavilions National Museums Liverpool.
  • Commissioned artworks including -To Scatter: ICP, CART :Projects Galore, Moments that Matter: Cultural Olympiad London 2012
  • Editorship of journal – Africultures pub Paris:L’Harmattan editions 72, 74, 75 & 85
  • Lubaina Himid’s work has been profiled as part of the #100 Works that Belong to You project which celebrates 12 years of acquisitions by the Outset/Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection (OFT). 100 works by 69 artists were acquired for the National Collection by OFT between 2003 and 2014 and the video profiling Lubaina’s work can be accessed via Vimeo
  • Lubaina Himid was curator of the ContemporaryAnd (C&) ‘Carte de Visite' exhibition at Hollybush Gardens in London from 04 Dec 2015 - 23 Jan 2016. For more details about the exhibition visit ContemporaryAnd (C&) website.

(HIMID)2011/2012Thin Black Line(s) Tate Britain

(HIMID)2010 Jelly Pavilions for Liverpool National Museums Liverpool

(HIMID)2011/2012Kangas from the lost sample book/Tailor,Striker,Singer, Dandy- Manchester Galleries & Whitworth Art Gallery

(HIMID)2009What are monuments For ? Keynote for CAAR conference Bremen

(EYENE)2012 DAK’ART 2012 Biennale of Contemporary African Art

(EYENE)2011 Photoquai Biennial of World Images

(EYENE)2010 Uprooting the Gaze Brighton Photo Biennial

(EYENE)2010-2014Five African Women Photographers Hayward Touring exhibition

(WALSH)2011/2012Images and conversations from the 1980s showreel TBL(S) Tate Britain

(WALSH)2009 0ngoing Colourcode editor on-line journal

(WALSH)2013 CART in Durham DLI museum and Projects Galore University of Durham

(WALSH)2011Rub-a-Tub Invisible Wash Project Space Leeds

Keynote lecture Oxford University for Art across the Black Diaspora : Visualising Slavery in America (LH)

Public Art project Spitalfields Market London (CE)

Keynote Lecture National Gallery London Framing Feminism event (LH)

Exhibition Tiwani Gallery London (CE)

On 3rd March 2016 Professor Lubaina Himid is at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in conversation with Paul Goodwin, curator and Director of TrAIN (Transnational Art, Identity and Nation), as part of the ‘Exhibition Histories’. series of talks.

On 21st March 2016 Professor Lubaina Himid is a keynote speaker in conversation with Dr Dorothy Price at the ‘Framing the Critical Decade’: After the Black Arts Movement’ conference.

From 16th April to 2nd October 2016 Professor Lubaina Himid exhibits at the Van AbbeMuseum in the Netherlands as part of the ‘The 1980’s today’s beginnings’ exhibition.

We are hosting a guest lecture by the eminent Professor Francoise Verges as part of the Making Histories Visible project and the Distinguished Visitor Programme. This takes place on Thursday 13 October 2016. This event will be of interest to people curious about, or researching, postcolonial studies, the history of slavery, feminism, cultural diversity and visual arts, whether they are academic or not.

Lubaina helped to organise the Creative Conversations: Black Women Artists Making and Doing two-day symposium in January 2020. , Lubaina and PhD Student Jade Montserrat tell us about the event which was a major celebration of black women’s art in Britain, marking over 40 years of black female artists making an impact in the UK in this video.

Dr of Arts

  • Thin Black Line(s) 2011/2012 Tate Britain
  • Jelly Pavilions for Liverpool 2010 NML
  • Lost Kangas/Tailor Striker 2010/2011 Manchester Art Galleries
  • Dak’Art 2012 Dakar Senegal
  • Photoquai 2012 Paris
  • Colourcode 2009
  • Black Archive & Print /Drawing Study Collection
  • CART at Durham DLI