CARICUK began with three artistic provocations, each aiming to open up a public conversation about how Caribbean in/securities connect with UK higher education and how race can be understood as an in/security.  You can find our provocation videos, as well as recordings of all three of our provocation events, on the CARICUK youtube channel.  Our CARICUK blog posts provide thoughts leading up to each of the provocation events.

The first provocation digs deep into the concept of in/security and how it connects, in a literally grounded way, the Caribbean and the UK. Annalee Davis’s highly site-specific installations, in Barbados and in the UK, focus on the materialities and regenerative capacities of soils and eco-systems that were transformed through monocropping, industrialisation and plantation systems under colonialism but now display postcolonial resilience and agency by providing popular crops for health and nutrition.  Building on her first such installation, (Bush) Tea Crops, which was set on the former slave plantation in Barbados where her studio is now established, she is due to produce similarly soil and plant-focused installations at Walkers Reserve, an agroforestry project in Barbados, and at Haarlem Art Space, a former mill in Derbyshire, UK. 

Annalee has produced a short video about her work – see below, and there is a recording of the online discussion event that accompanied it. 

In the second provocation, Dr Marsha Pearce, an artist and cultural theorist based in Trinidad and Tobago, has curated the work of six Caribbean artists: Alex Kelly (also from Trinidad and Tobago), whose work is themed around violence and crime; Deborah Anzinger (Jamaica) who works on in/secure Caribbean environments and people within matrices of capitalism and colonialism; Richard Mark Rawlins (Trinidad and Tobago and the UK), working on themes around migration and race; and Christopher Udemezue (USA/Jamaica), who looks at Caribbean Queer In/securities; Kelly Sinnapah Mary (Guadeloupe), whose work focuses on identity in relation to the descendants of Indian indentured labourers; and Lynn Parotti (Bahamas), who focuses on environmental in/securities. The work is exhibited here.  This exhibition is launched with an online public discussion event, in which Dr Noxolo introduces the concept of racialised in/security and its links with Caribbean in/security, and provides a forum for the artists to discuss their work and answer questions from the public. The aim of the second provocation is to introduce a broad set of questions around Caribbean in/securities and how they relate to racialisation. 

The third provocation sets the keynote for the concept of race as in/security and is an original art installation by Sonia Barrett, called ‘Dreading the Map’, which has been constructed within the Royal Geographical Society’s (RGS) Map Room. Carefully curated paper maps of the Caribbean and UK have been shredded into strips.  The artist and three black women co-creators have then used African-Caribbean hair styling techniques to plait the shredded maps.  Culturally, such female spaces of hair styling are filled with discussions around self- and community-care, and this black woman-centred cultural practice flooded the RGS building (its wood-lined walls, globes, and portraits of white explorers) with black women’s words and laughter. As a response to the RGS’s stated desire to reflect on their history and their building, this filling of the space with black women’s language, perspectives, and practices, is a reimagining of what the space can and should mean. This dramatic and large-scale installation was fully filmed and photographed, in a beautiful film by Gennaro Ambrosino, and it was launched via a third online public discussion event between Dr Noxolo and the artist.

We have been supported through our provocation events by a small invited group of academics, who have made excellent contributions to discussion: Sireita Mullings, Kesewa John, Anyaa Anim-Addo, Rebecca Kitchen, Gemma Collins, Deborah Thomas, Lisa Paravisini-Gebert, Susan Mains, Karen Wilkes, Jason Allen-Paisant, Mimi Sheller, Rita Gayle, Cynthia Anyadi, Agostinho Pinnock, Connie Bell, Mama D, Catherine Souch, Alberta Whittle, Suzanne Scafe, Carol Dixon, Jessica Taylor.