Talking meh Talk: My Words Set Me Free

26 May
7:00 pm

About this Event

Copy by London Metropolitan Archives

How we speak is more than what we mean: ‘talk’, accent and the words we use are all part of who we are. In this way, our words set us free to be who we are, and language literally has the power to shape our reality. John Agard’s poem Everytime I talk meh talk challenges the notion that his way of speaking English is inferior, non standard, labelled “Pidgin” and “broken”. Agard makes the connection between how he speaks and who he is; if how he speaks is “broken” then, must he also be broken? This event brings together artists and activists to consider labels such as broken, Pidgin, Creole, Patios and dialect, and how they are used to drive the idea that there is one correct way of speaking English and other European languages.

‘If they’re publishing books by us then they definitely need to be employing us’. The publishing house of Guyanese-born activists and publishers Jessica and Eric Huntley was decolonising the publishing world 50 years ago, yet we are #stilldecolonisingpublishinguk. Through poetry performances and an open conversation, participants consider how we can decolonise the mainly white privileged publishing world, recognising that the process of undoing colonising practices requires a change in who decides whose stories, and whose words have the most value.

Three guest curators unpack these archives, bringing together high-profile public figures including academic Kehinde Andrews, online influencer Mikai McDermott and dub poet Mutabaruka, to listen to extracts from the audio archives and relate them to the pressing issues of the day. Themes include exclusion of Black students in education, Black organising in the UK, and decolonising language. The events, aimed at 18-34 year olds, will be free of charge and take place online.

This event is the last in a series of three online educational events by the London Metropolitan Archives Radical Voices: Yesterday - Today. Delving into the sound archives of Guyanese-born activists and publishers Jessica & Eric Huntley. London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) holds the documents of Jessica and Eric Huntley, radical book publishers and pioneering Black political activists, prolifically involved with the British African - Caribbean community's experience. Audio from these archives has been recently digitised by the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage (UOSH) project at LMA.

Please note this is a live event and it won’t be subtitled as standard. If you wish to attend and have an accessibility requirement then please do email hannah.uosh@gmail.com in advance.

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