Perspective & Directions, conference report

The period marking the most recent collective emergence of Black artists, which dates back to the turn of the last decade, has been sporadically punctuated by conferences organised for and/or by Black artists. To my knowledge, one of the first such gatherings was The First National Black Art Convention held in Wolverhampton in October of 1982. Following on from this, Fred Brookes, then director of The Midland Group Nottingham, organised a weekend conference on Black Artists/White Institutions.

            That was December of 1982. Early in 1984, those responsible for the running of The Black-Art Gallery staged an extremely low-key conference of Black artists at Islington Town hall. Another convention, similarly lacking in significance, was organised by The Black Art Group and held at the Ukaidi Centre in Nottingham, in March of the same year. More recently, we have seen a GLC-organised conference, again on Black Artists and White institutions.

            Realistically speaking, most of these conferences have lacked collectively-agreed perspectives and directions, therefore dooming them to unavoidable failure and non-achievement. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the VISION & VOICE Black Visual Arts Conference held at the CAVE in Birmingham last December was no exception.

The above extracts are from a report by Eddie Chambers on the VISION & VOICE Black Visual Arts Conference held at the CAVE in Birmingham December 1985, AN Artists Newsletter April 1986: 14