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Conversation: Behind the Line – KARVAN meets Kwanzaa Collective UK to talk about CARE

Bonington Gallery

Conversation: Behind the Line – KARVAN meets Kwanzaa Collective UK to talk about CARE, 2021.
In conversation | Networking | Seminars | Workshops

Working closely with five Black frontline workers and NHS staff, Kwanzaa Collective UK explores the question: “How do you do a job that involves caring for others, when you are working within a system that doesn’t care about you?”

This event is part of NTU Global Week, a vibrant, inspiring annual festival showcasing our multicultural community.

Event details

Who is caring for the carers?

The ONS have reported that over 60% of COVID-related deaths on the frontline have come from ethnic minority backgrounds, yet ethnic minorities only make up about 17% of the NHS – with Black people being only 6.1% of that. This disproportion generates a lot of questions that desperately need answers.

Working closely with five Black frontline workers and NHS staff, Kwanzaa Collective UK explored the question: “How do you do a job that involves caring for others, when you are working within a system that doesn’t care about you?”

They wanted to hear what Black frontline workers have experienced during the pandemic and over the course of their career, and to answer the question: “Who is caring for our carers?”

Using the words of the frontline workers and stories from several personal interviews, they compiled spoken word poetry, personalised ‘care packages’ for them, and captured a series of intimate, anonymised portraits.

Behind the line was funded as part of a B-arts (North Staffordshire) CARE R&D.

The conversation is hosted by KARVAN: ‘together we travel’ of worldlits.com.

Biographical notes

Emma Dawson Varughese curated KARVAN: ‘together we travel’ in 2014 to be a creative, multidisciplinary space for the exploration of language, identities, culture, and creativity. An artistically-renovated 1980s caravan, KARVAN travels around, hosting and facilitating events. Learn more here.

Kwanzaa Collective UK is based in North Staffordshire. Kwanzaa Collective UK are a consortium of artists, academics, and activists of colour. Through creativity, collective activism and collaboration, they aim to amplify the voices of Black and brown people.

Rebecca Kremer is a Stoke-On-Trent-based multi-disciplinary artist and illustrator, working with a variety of broad mediums – from designing digital artwork and animation; to producing art that responds to spaces; to creating patterns and prints for large-scale art projects. Rebecca loves creating art that plays with themes of minority representation, bold prints, mesmerising portraits, complimentary colour schemes, floral patterns, and ethereal narratives.

Gabriella K A Gay is a mother, teacher, facilitator and page-stage poet whose work is rooted in connection, community and highlighting a range of voices. She is the founder of Stoke’s Roaming poets and Kwanzaa Collective UK.  She was the local writer in residence for Nationwide Voices and writer in residence at the Hanley Car Boot Sale. Gabriella is also a trustee of the New Vic Theatre and the Cultural Champion of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Gabriella is regularly commissioned to perform, write, organise events, and facilitate workshops for a range of organisations.

Adina Lawrence is a Black British portrait photographer from Stoke-on-Trent. She makes portraits of people that show character, personality, strength and diversity. Her pictures are compelling contemporary portraits that tell a story. She is based in Stoke-on-Trent and has a BA (Hons) in Photo Journalism from Staffordshire University.

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