Love Letter for Seven Speakers
Event by Derica Shields
4–6pm, Saturday 27th July
Please book via Evenbrite here
In response to Civic Duty, writer and researcher Derica Shields presents a new reading accompanied by sound work – an oral letter to Black people surviving the UK welfare state.
Since August 2017, Derica has interviewed seven Black Londoners about their encounters with social services. As that project comes to a close, she reflects on the experience in the form of a letter that draws on the texts informing the project and converses with the anonymised interviews. This work honours the creative resourcing involved in survival and political (self-)education as a strategy to stop us feeling “quite so crazy”, to draw on the US writer Audre Lorde, when we are gaslighted by the British state.
After the reading, there will be a break to decompress, drink tea, chat and move about in the space, followed by a 30-minute discussion.
The reading will take place in a darkened room. More accessibility information here. There will be an opportunity to view the exhibition Civic Duty in the main exhibition space which continues until 28th July.
Derica Shields is a writer, researcher and programmer from London. Her work has appeared in the New Inquiry, Rookie, Girls Like Us, Live Art Almanac, Flash Art and more. She is the co-founder of The Future Weird, a (now defunct) screening and discussion series centered on experimental, world-unravelling films. As part of a 2017 Triple Canopy commission, she is developing a multi-format oral history project centering on black people's accounts of the UK welfare state. She is also working on a book project commissioned by Hannah Black for a new Book Works series.
Thank you to Shenece Oretha and the seven anonymous speakers for sharing their accounts.
Developed with the generous support of Arts Council England, Marpac LLC, Cockayne and the London Community Foundation.
Image credits: A collage of quotes by Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie & Suzanne Scafe, Audre Lorde and Johnnie Tillmon.