(Re)Framing the Archive – Book Launch & Talk


Panya introduces her forthcoming poetry pamphlet. You can attend the launch on Saturday 2 July, 14:00-15.30 at New Art Exchange, Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham.

(Re)Framing the Archive, my forthcoming poetry pamphlet with Burning Eye Books, derives from my personal engagement with museums as a heritage professional over two decades and my experience as founder and curator of Nottingham Black Archive. It is my attempt to give voice to individuals and a community that has historically been overlooked by the sector and address the underrepresentation of Black people as curators of our own history.

In making the poems for (Re) Framing the Archive, I was achingly conscious of the concerns I have about what is largely a monocultural heritage sector in Nottingham. I raise the voices of Black artists, activists, and other individuals who have worked to make Nottingham’s Black community visible to the museum and heritage sector. I also create alternative narratives for some of the prized objects in Nottingham’s museum collection, like the painting ‘After the Lion Hunt’ of William Frederick Webb (1829-99), who purchased Newstead Abbey, one time home of Lord Byron. I also re-imagine old objects in new ways through ekphrasis and show how voices demanding the decolonisation of the sector are becoming louder.

When I began mining Nottingham Black Archive to map its history and make a creative intervention into the collection in 2018, through my critical and creative PhD at NTU, I could not have foreseen how relevant my poems would be to what is currently happening in Nottingham’s museums sector. I am excited about the launch of (Re)Framing the Archive on Saturday 2nd July at the New Art Exchange at 2pm. In advance of its publication, Writing East Midlands CEO Henderson Mullin has said:

‘Panya Banjoko’s latest collection is keenly awaited by those of us who know, and understand the importance, of her work. If Some Things sought high ground from which to look down on those who continue to build their institutions   on the backs of others, then (Re)Framing the Archive, digs deep to undermine their foundations. I know of no other poet who combines activism and archive the way that she does, or manages to hold on to the hope of peace through equality – despite the evidence.’

The launch will include some of my favourite things: live music, a talk, discussion, and, of course, tea and biscuits.

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