We Are Our History Conversations

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We Are Our History Conversations

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 Monday 19 February 2024, 4pm–5pm

  At the Weston Library

  Free events, booking required


About the lectures

We Are Our History Conversations is a series of talks by artists, scholars and researchers opening up critical engagement with archives.

Sadiah Qureshi, Tracing the Legacies of Empires of Extinction

 Monday 19 February 2024, 4pm–5pm

  Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

Professor Sadiah Qureshi is an historian of racism, science and empire. She has recently joined the University of Manchester as Chair in Modern British History. Her first book, Peoples on Parade (2011), explored the importance of displayed peoples for the emergence of anthropology. She is currently writing her next book, provisionally entitled Vanished: Episodes in the History of Extinction, for Allen Lane, supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. In 2023, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Bodleian Library.

This talk is now fully booked.

 Booking information

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These lectures take place in person in the Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre at the Weston Library.

Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

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 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.


Programmes of the Bodleian Bibliographical Press are supported by a generous donation from Lisa Baskin.

This event is part of We Are Our History. A project taking a close look at our collections, work with audiences and staffing through the lens of race and the legacies of the British Empire.

A logo with orange text reading: We Are Our History towards racial equity

Past talks in this series

Tia Blassingame stands in front of a table of prints in a studio

Tia Blassingame: We Rise (Together): Taking and Making Space for BIPOC Book Arts Creatives, Cultures, and Histories

 Tuesday 24 October 2023, 1pm–2pm

  Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

Tia Blassingame will introduce her work leading the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective (aka Book/Print Collective) and will share methods for supporting and empowering BIPOC book and print artists so they can thrive in the book arts field and beyond. She will also discuss her educational work that centres Black American artists working in the book form and her curatorial work challenging the exclusion and erasure of Global Majority traditions and artistry in hand papermaking. 

Founded in 2019 by book artist and printmaker Tia Blassingame, the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective brings Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) book artists, papermakers, curators, letterpress printers, printmakers into conversation and collaboration with scholars of BIPOC Book History and Print Culture to build community, support systems.

Tia Blassingame is an Associate Professor of Art at Scripps College, where she teaches Book Arts and Letterpress Printing, and serves as the Director of Scripps College Press. Her artist’s books and prints can be found in library and museum collections across the world. In 2019, Blassingame founded the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective. Most recently, Blassingame has co-curated, with writer, book artist, publisher Stephanie Sauer, the NEA and Center for Craft grants-awarded exhibition, Paper Is People: Decolonizing Global Paper Cultures, held at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (14 April – 12 August 2023) and San Francisco Center for the Book (28 October -22 December, 2023). Tia Blassingame is the current Bodleian Printer in Residence, 2023.

Book/Print Collective | Instagram: @bookprintcollective

Image: Tia Blassingame working on I AM, 2018.

Two images of a Black man wearing a beautiful and elaborately decorated gown; the left portrait is surrounded by colourful drapes; in the right portrait, he holds a sceptre and wears a crown

Image credit: Peter Brathwaite

Black lives in the archives: Peter Brathwaite in conversation with Professor Farah Karim-Cooper

 Friday 10 November 2023, 5.30pm–6.30pm

  Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

Hear about research into centuries of family history in the UK and Barbados, and the inspiration and scholarship behind Peter Brathwaite’s stunning photographic project, Rediscovering Black Portraiture.


Peter Brathwaite is an award-winning opera singer, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a writer and also a visual artist. He studied at the International Opera School of the Royal College of Music and Operastudio Vlaanderen, Ghent. He was born in Manchester and graduated with a First Class degree in Fine Art & Philosophy from Newcastle University. He was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Music (DMus) honoris causa of Newcastle University in July 2023. In 2023/24 he will perform at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in Little Bulb's Olivier Award-winning Wolf Witch Giant Fairy. He also takes up an artist residency at Snape Maltings, where he also makes a role debut in the 75th Aldeburgh Festival. Peter Brathwaite is currently a visiting artist developing a project with the Humanities Cultural Programme, supported by the Bodleian Centre for the Study of the Book and the Humanities Cultural Programme/TORCH, and in partnership with the Bodleian Libraries project ‘We Are Our History’: Towards Racial Equity.

Farah Karim-Cooper is Professor of Shakespeare Studies, King’s College London and Director of Education & Research at Shakespeare’s Globe. Farah has recently served as President of the Shakespeare Association of America after having served three years as Trustee and Vice-President. She is on the Advisory Council for the Warburg Institute and the Council for the Society of Renaissance Studies. She is also on the Board of Trustees at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Karim-Cooper has held visiting fellowships around the world, including TORCH Humanities Cultural Programme Visiting Fellow and Visiting Fellow at Exeter College, both in 2022-2023. She led the architectural enquiries into early modern theatres at Shakespeare’s Globe, overseeing the research into the design and construction of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the Globe’s indoor Jacobean theatre. Her most recent publication is The Great White Bard (One World, 2023).


A group of people sit at an illuminated table covered in photocopied papers and materials

Image credit: Jessica Chaundy

Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Cut/Copy/Paste: Collage as a form of reading and writing the archive

 Tuesday 23 January 2024, 1pm–2pm

  Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

Oxford is a host and a nexus of the colonial archive, an epistemological reference point on the historicity of empire building and meaning making. In this talk, Dr Tinashe Mushakavanhu marshals critical and creative tools of reading, writing, and editing black lives and black bodies in the archives of Cecil John Rhodes, institutional histories of museums and universities in Southern Africa, and the creation of ‘fictional’ languages such as Shona.

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a Junior Research Fellow in African & Comparative Literature at the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT), St Anne's College. He holds a PhD in English from University of Kent (England) and completed postdoctoral work at University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa). He has an interest in literary archives from southern Africa and interrogates issues to do with literary legacies. Apart from writing journal articles, book chapters, this work also manifests through a series of creative publications, exhibitions and digital humanities projects.

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