Stuart Hall & John Akomfrah: Creating Monument Symposium

8 June 2013, 11am - 5pm

New Art Exchange


Past event

A half day symposium exploring the practice of artist-filmmaker John Akomfrah, his most recent film installation The Unfinished Conversation, and the impact that leading British cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, has made on the work of Akomfrah and other visual artists of his generation.

Nottingham and the West Midlands were key locations in the formation of the historic Blk Art Group. Paul Goodwin and Marlene Smith will discuss the impact of Stuart Hall’s thinking on the development of these radical currents in the art of the 1980s and 1990s. The session will also analyses the engagement and impact of John Akomfrah and the Black Audio Film Collective in the evolution of radical new approaches to film and documentary practices as a response to the crisis of British postcolonial racism and the crises of capitalism.

The venue will be open from 9am to register and view The Unfinished Conversation (45 minute running time). Sessions will start promptly at 11am and the symposium will draw to a close by 5pm.

More speakers and programme to be confirmed. To receive updates, join our Photo of the Week.

Part of the exhibition

John Akomfrah
The Unfinished Conversation

10 May - 14 July 2013

New Art Exchange, Nottingham

Read more »

What the press says

Tomorrow some of the nation’s leading artists, filmmakers and cultural commentators will gather at New Art Exchange

Emma O'Neill, The Flaneur

In partnership with

New Art Exchange

New Art Exchange is a contemporary art gallery committed to stimulating new perspectives on the value of diversity within art and society.

Nottingham Trent University


Symposium Chair

Ekow Eshum

Ekow Eshun is a writer, cultural commentator and award-winning broadcaster. The former Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Eshun appears frequently on TV and radio programmes including BBC 2’s The Review Show and Radio 4’s Saturday Review and Front Row. His first book, Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for Home in England and Africa was nominated for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2005. He sits on the board of the Arts Council, England and is Chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing the most prestigious public art programme in the UK.


John Akomfrah

As an artist, film director, screenwriter and founding member of Black Audio Film Collective, John Akomfrah’s practice is committed to giving a voice and a presence to the legacy of the African Diaspora in Europe, filling the voids in history by digging into historical archives to create film essays and speculative fictional stories about past lives. Over the course of the day Akomfrah will be in-conversation with the symposium speakers, discussing the concept of The Unfinished Conversation and the impact Stuart Hall has made on his life and work.

Kodwo Eshun

Kodwo Eshun is a writer, theorist, film-maker, and co-founding member of the Otolith Group. The group was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010 for their project A Long Time Between Suns. Kodwo co-curated the exhibition The Ghosts of Songs (2007), a retrospective of the Black Audio Film Collective. In the symposium Kodwo will be discussing the craft and concept of films by the Black Audio Film Collective and John Akomfrah.

Mark Sealy MBE

Director of Autograph ABP, curator and writer. Mark Sealy’s specialism lies in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics and human rights.

Autograph ABP was established in 1988 with the mission of advocating the inclusion of historically marginalised photographic practices. As the commissioner of The Unfinished Conversation, Sealy will discuss the inception of the commission, its importance, and Stuart Hall’s relationship to Autograph ABP.

Paul Goodwin

Paul Goodwin is an independent curator, lecturer and urban theorist. Recent exhibitions include Migrations: Journeys Into British Art, Tate Britain 2012 and Thin Black Line(s), Tate Britain, 2011.

Marlene Smith

Marlene Smith is an artist, curator and organiser of artists’ and cultural events who joined Eddie Chambers, Claudette Johnson, Wenda Leslie, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney, and Janet Vernon to establish the The Blk Art Group in 1982.


Please book in advance to avoid dissapointment. To book, please phone New Art Exchange's box office at 0115 924 8630, or email

Press contact

Press images and information is available in the Press Dropbox

For further information, images and interviews, please contact Lois Olmstead at Autograph ABP - phone 020 7720 92200 or email


This Symposium will be filmed. To receive updates when the video is available online, follow Autograph ABP on Facebook or Twitter

Additional Info

Venue Details
New Art Exchange
39 – 41 Gregory Boulevard
Nottingham NG7 6BE

0115 924 8630

Monday: 9am - 5pm
Tuesday: 9am - 5pm
Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday: 9pm - 5pm
Sunday: Closed, open 9am - 5pm during June and July

New Art Exchange is fully accessible. To reserve disabled parking bays please call 0115 924 8630

Screening times
Screenings of The Unfinished Conversation will start on the hour from 10am - 4pm. We advise viewing the full duration of the piece which is around 45 minutes.


  • John Akomfrah at the symposium. Photo by Mark Sealy
  • Installation of The Unfinished Conversation at New Art Exchange
  • Kodwo Eshun speaking at the symposium. Photo by Mark Sealy
  • Invitation card to the symposium