Black Presence: A Dialogue with Azeezat Johnson’s Legacy

The work of Azeezat Johnson is intrinsically involved in care, refusing to be defined by a disciplinary canon or the colonial grounds that situate the Black presence shaped solely within intersectional oppressions, death, starvation or suffering. Azeezat invokes black feminism and decoloniality as tools to discuss liberation, dreaming, and (r)evolutions. The subversive remark in Azeezat’s work shows a consistent confrontation with misogyny and racial capitalism, often centring Black women in her commitment to imagine futures other-wise and inviting all people to join. Such invitation on the praxis of love cannot be misunderstood as romantic but taken as a revolutionary strategy that shall not rely only on minoritised groups.

We invite participants for a one-day gathering to be in dialogue with Azeezat Johnson’s work and the possibilities to engage with creative writing concerning Black presence to move towards a “feminist geography that connects our multiple situated knowledges” – in Azeezat’s words – to explore potential expressions of Black presence and dreamwork. The gathering of around 20 people will hold space to honour Azeezat Johnson’s work from a different relationship to Black presence even and especially as we reckon with the brutalities that inform our world. The dialogue will draw from an unpublished piece written by Azeezat Johnson, Francesca Sobande, and Katucha Bento called “Black Presence: A Gathering of Words”, which will be shared with participants prior to the gathering. 

We invite participants to be in dialogue with each other as Azeezat Johnson’s work will be the compass of our exchange. We welcome innovative interventions (poetry, songs, videos, etc.); however, no presentation is required. This online gathering aims to facilitate creative writing and promote meetings of people and ideas from other-wise:

  • 16th July (Saturday) from 10h – 15h (online)

We encourage early-career researchers, PhD researchers, anti-racist activists and practitioners to join the gathering. We have six stipends of £225 each available for people who are unsalaried and/or not institutionally affiliated.

Please, send your expression of interest through this form [LINK] until the 27th of June.

We will select 20 people to participate, and we will share a piece of writing with them that will be central in our dialogue.

This event is being co-ordinated by the GEM Collective’s “Black Presence” group and is being developed with the support of the LAHP (London Arts and Humanities Partnership), the Race.ED Network, and in collaboration with Cardiff University.

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