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Blackness, Knowledge, Stories and the Disappeared Olivia U Rutazibwa

CentreSpace Gallery  |  Free

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A public talk and discussion with Dr Olivia U Rutazibwa (Sociology, LSE) on the relation between the stories and knowledges we tell and are told and who is or can be disappeared.

We focus on the question: ‘where are the Black people?’, both as storytellers and protagonists to cast a new light on historical (cf Holocaust and the World Wars) and present day pressing sites of systematic disappearances (eg. in the Mediterranean, overseas wars, (Black) lives in the police, carceral and judicial systems, our housing and labour markets). We will seek to understand how storytelling, and who gets to live and who gets to die, are intimately linked; and how centring other stories and storytellers can help us refuse and experience the disappearances of the world’s global majority as unacceptable to us all.

This event is part of the State of Disappearance project.

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Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa is a Belgian/Rwandan International Relations scholar and former journalist. She is Assistant Professor in Politics in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Politics (LSE), UK and Senior Research Fellow of the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Studies (JIAS), South Africa.

About the State of Disappearance Project

The State of Disappearance project is a collaborative response that ​brings together the arts, humanities, social sciences and wider advocacy groups to bring new attention to the multiple ways disappearance occurs. Started in 2017 by the projects co-directors Professor Brad Evans (Director of the Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Bath) and Visual Artist Chantal Meza, it asks what forced absence and human denial means for societies and how we might better understand such violence in the 21st Century? 

The first phase of the project culminates in the State of Disappearance art exhibition, featuring 77 artworks on the theme by painter Chantal Meza. The exhibition will take place in Centrespace art gallery in the City of Bristol from 28 October to 8 November 2023 and will also coincide with the publication of a book with McGill-Queens University Press. The exhibition will kick off two weeks of public talks and panel discussions from renowned authorities, educating on a broad set of issues from enforced disappearance, the Holocaust, slavery, along with the challenges of finding the missing. 

The State of Disappearance Art Exhibition is supported by Arts Council England National Lottery; the Centre for the Study of Violence, University of Bath; ESRC Festival of Social Sciences; the Global Insecurities Centre, University of Bristol; the Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath; the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame; and Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. It is also partnered by Bristol Ideas; Locate International; Trebuchet Art Magazine; and The Philosopher.

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