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Title: A labour of love : the politics of presenting contemporary art as part of commemorations to mark the United Kingdom's bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, 1807-2007
Author: Hylton, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 5023
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines the role played by contemporary art in commemorations organised to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007. It argues that, besides representing an unprecedented commemorative event, it was also indicative of how certain political, social and cultural practices around ‘race’ and multiculturalism, under New Labour, assumed a hitherto unseen level of prominence and institutional validation. Centred on a number of key exhibitions and other commemorative material and programmes produced for the bicentenary, the study explores themes relating to Black Britain, inclusion politics, national remembrance and commemoration, British history, artistic intervention, institutional critique, the role of Black artists, public collections, contemporary African art and the ethnographic museum. The study draws on and examines a range of discourses and practices involving government, funding agencies, galleries, museums, journalists, researchers and historians. This study contends that rather than being merely a moment of reflection and celebration of multiculturalism, the bicentenary’s contemporary art programme epitomised, in microcosm, the problematic ways in which skewed notions of diversity were normalised in British society. The conclusion also considers the wider influence and implications of the bicentenary regarding ongoing discourses and practices in Britain about the relationships between slavery, history and contemporary art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral