Afroeuropeans conference organised for the first time in Finland and the Nordic countries

Submitted on Tue, 07/04/2017 - 12:39

Nearly 250 researchers, artists and activists from twenty different countries will gather in Tampere on 6–8 July 2017

Millions of people in Europe identify themselves as part of the African diaspora, as Africans or as descendants of Africans. In Finland, there are tens of thousands of these people.

“Increasingly more dark-skinned Finns do not want to be called immigrants, nor second-generation immigrants; instead, when ‘race DOES matter’, they want to be called either black, brown or Afro-Finnish,” academy research fellow Anna Rastas says.

In general speech, Europeanness is still related to being white, which disregards the long history of the African diaspora in Europe as well as those social and cultural changes that have been brought about by African presence in different parts of Europe. It is not only about cultural influences but also – and most importantly – about the communities and cultures created by experiences of racism and resisting racism.

The sixth international and multidisciplinary Afroeuropeans: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe conference will be organised at the University of Tampere for the first time in Finland as well as in the Nordic countries on 6–8 July 2017. The conference will present the newest research on the African diaspora and culture in Europe from the perspective of different disciplines. Nearly 250 researchers, artists and activists from twenty different countries have signed up for the conference. In addition to the keynote speakers, over 130 scientific presentations will be held in the dozens of sessions of the conference during the three days. The cultural programme takes place mostly in the evenings.

The main keynote speaker will be Professor Paul Gilroy from King’s College London who is the most renowned researcher of racism and black culture in Europe. Other speakers include the representative for the association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), Professor Elisa Joy White (University of California at Davis; ASWAD), representative for the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Netherlands, human rights lawyer Domenica Ghidei Biidu, Henry Mainsah (University of Warwick) who is a researcher of black/Afro-Norwegian internet communities, among other things, as well as Johny Pitts, London-based a journalist, photographer and the rewarded founder of Afropean.com.

The cultural programme has been designed and will be implemented in cooperation with Fest Afrika, the Tampere-based and Finland’s oldest festival for African music and dance, and the London-based Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions. Among other things, the cultural programme includes the Black British Poetry Night event organised at Klubi on Thursday 6 July. The performers of the event include renowned black Spoken Word artists and poets Zena Edwards, Vanessa Kisuule, Solomon OB and Yomi Sode. The event will be hosted by Roger Robinson.

Further information on the keynote speakers of the conference as well as the programme can be found on the conference website. The website also includes links to the websites of the Fest Afrika festival and Speaking Volumes.

For further information, please contact (preferably before the conference and only via email during the conference): academic research fellow and docent Anna Rastas (anna.rastas@uta.fi, tel. +358 40 1909845), who is a member of the international researcher network organising the Afroeuropeans conferences and the person responsible for the organisation of the conference at the University of Tampere.