“Race”, history, and the African Caribbean diaspora: identity and representation in Bristol, England

Author

Banks, Donna

Director

Renes, Maarten

Grau Perejoan, Maria

Tutor

Alonso Breto, Isabel

Date of defense

2022-01-20

Pages

313 p.



Department/Institute

Universitat de Barcelona. Facultat de Filologia

Abstract

This dissertation takes a transatlantic approach in its exploration of identity and representation by examining artistic practices within areas of the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States. Australia is also used as a point of reference to further the discourse on representation and identity. While the focus is on the African Caribbean diaspora, specifically the Windrush generation in Britain, this work also engages with other immigrant and marginalized BIPOC communities to emphasize the social, cultural, and political importance of art that is representative of the diversity that exists within contemporary cities. This is an ethnographic study that incorporates participant-observation, interviews, and archival research. It is postcolonial by its focus on place as defining identity, and fills a scholarly gap in the field of British history. It is grounded in the discipline of cultural studies, but is cross-disciplinary in nature, engaging anthropology, psychology, performance studies, and urban planning. In an effort to understand implicit bias, bigotry, and racism -all of which contribute to racialized spaces- this dissertation analyzes place names and the psychological connection people have with places. In examining artistic practices and institutions, the ways that public spaces are racialized and gendered are explored. To that end, public art, specifically community-engaged murals, are contrasted against traditional art institutions. It is argued that such murals challenge the racialized status quo and allow for representation that would otherwise be unacknowledged. In this work, the term art world refers to traditional art institutions such as museums and galleries, alternative spaces meaning unconventional venues, academia, and public spaces. The former have long received criticism within public discourse and academia for racism and sexism as women and nonwhite artists have been woefully underrepresented in art exhibitions and museum collections. By comparison, public art has not received as much scholarly analysis and has often been promoted as having wide appeal, acceptance, and appreciation. However, portrayals of public art as universally understood and relatable are false and can further alienate members of society who do not see themselves and their communities represented. Increasingly, individuals and groups are protesting against such public art and in some cases taking it upon themselves to remove contentious and offensive statues from their exalted position. While this dissertation draws from various geographic locations and populations, the focus is on Bristol, England, and members of the Windrush generation. In this regard, the country's colonial past, specifically its role in the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved people is examined. The concept of universal Britishness is interrogated for its racial and gendered biases. The racialized ways that public places are marked within Bristol are discussed, and creative placemaking through community-engaged murals is introduced as a means of disrupting the status quo. In examining how place naming and marking contributes to feelings of belonging and dis-belonging, critiques of previous creative placemaking studies are incorporated. To that end, gender, history, and "race” are added as place-defining parameters. Race relations in twentieth-century England are examined along with the ways that marginalized individuals of the Windrush generation negotiated themselves within dominant power structures, asserted their identity, and gained political strength. After providing a socio-historical analysis, this dissertation introduces the Seven Saints of St. Pauls® Art & Heritage Trail, which consists of seven large-scale murals of individuals of the Windrush generation. I argue that this heritage trail contributes to Bristol’s livability by providing positive and authentic representation of a community of Black Britons, while also effectively disrupting the racialized spatial status quo of a city with a history rooted in enslavement and whose public memories of this past are normalized and represented as a regular part of daily life in contemporary Bristol.


Esta tesis adopta un enfoque transatlántico en su exploración de la identidad y la representación mediante el examen de las prácticas artísticas en áreas del Caribe, Europa y Estados Unidos. Aunque el interés de esta disertación se focaliza en la diáspora afro-caribeña, específicamente en la generación Windrush en Gran Bretaña, este trabajo también incluye otras comunidades inmigrantes y marginadas de BIPOC para enfatizar la importancia social, cultural y política del arte que es representativa de la diversidad que existe dentro de las ciudades contemporáneas.Este es un estudio etnográfico que incorpora observación de participantes, entrevistas e investigación de archivo. Es poscolonial por su enfoque en el lugar como identidad definitoria, y llena una brecha académica en el campo de la historia británica. Se basa en la disciplina de los estudios culturales, pero es de naturaleza interdisciplinaria.En un esfuerzo por entender el sesgo implícito, la intolerancia y el racismo, esta tesis analiza los nombres de los lugares y la conexión psicológica que tienen las personas con los lugares. Al examinar las prácticas e instituciones artísticas, se exploran las formas en que los espacios públicos son racializados y se tienen en cuenta las cuestiones de género. Con ese fin, el arte público, específicamente los murales comprometidos con la comunidad, se contrasta con las instituciones de arte tradicionales. Se argumenta que tales murales desafían el status quo racializado y permiten una representación que de otro modo no sería reconocida.Mientras que esta tesis se basa en varias ubicaciones geográficas y poblaciones, el foco está en Bristol, Inglaterra, y los miembros de la generación de Windrush. En este sentido, se examina el pasado colonial del país, se discuten las maneras racializadas en que los lugares públicos están marcados dentro de Bristol y se introduce la creación creativa de lugares a través de murales comprometidos con la comunidad como un medio para perturbar el status quo.Después de proporcionar un análisis socio-histórico, esta disertación presenta el Sendero de Arte y Patrimonio Seven Saints of St. Pauls®, que consiste en siete murales a gran escala de individuos de la generación Windrush. Sostengo que este sendero patrimonial contribuye a la habitabilidad de Bristol al proporcionar una representación positiva y auténtica de una comunidad de británicos negros, al tiempo que interrumpe de manera efectiva el status quo espacial racializado.

Keywords

Geografia urbana; Geografía urbana; Urban geography; Antropologia cultural; Antropología cultural; Cultural anthropology; Art del carrer; Arte de la calle; Street art; Diàspora africana; Diáspora africana; African diaspora; Representacions socials; Representaciones sociales; Social representation; Identitat racial; Identidad racial; Race identity

Subjects

572 - Antropologia

Knowledge Area

Ciències Humanes i Socials

Note

Programa de Doctorat en Estudis Lingüístics, Literaris i Culturals

Documents

DONNA BANKS_PhD_THESIS.pdf

16.40Mb

 

Rights

ADVERTIMENT. Tots els drets reservats. L'accés als continguts d'aquesta tesi doctoral i la seva utilització ha de respectar els drets de la persona autora. Pot ser utilitzada per a consulta o estudi personal, així com en activitats o materials d'investigació i docència en els termes establerts a l'art. 32 del Text Refós de la Llei de Propietat Intel·lectual (RDL 1/1996). Per altres utilitzacions es requereix l'autorització prèvia i expressa de la persona autora. En qualsevol cas, en la utilització dels seus continguts caldrà indicar de forma clara el nom i cognoms de la persona autora i el títol de la tesi doctoral. No s'autoritza la seva reproducció o altres formes d'explotació efectuades amb finalitats de lucre ni la seva comunicació pública des d'un lloc aliè al servei TDX. Tampoc s'autoritza la presentació del seu contingut en una finestra o marc aliè a TDX (framing). Aquesta reserva de drets afecta tant als continguts de la tesi com als seus resums i índexs.

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