Show Calendar

ACCA Conversations: As Waves of One Sea

Treasures Of The Rosey Pool Library1 Copy 2
Looking For Langston1

Dr Diarmuid Hester (University of Cambridge), Dr Doug Haynes (University of Sussex) and Dr Joanna Pawlik (University of Sussex)  bring a series of events, As Waves of One Sea, to Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts this November, as part of Being Human Festival. 

Diarmuid tells us more about what they have planned. 

We are very excited to present As Waves of One Sea at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in association with Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities: three fantastic events including a live art performance devised especially for the series, an afternoon of exciting talks by academic experts, and a film screening featuring a Q&A with film director Isaac Julien. All the events draw upon the rich holdings in African American culture at the University of Sussex Special Collections.

 For the first event, ‘They Taught Me Laughing To Keep From Crying‘ (20 November, 8pm) celebrated British Ghanaian performance artist Harold Offeh joins academics Doug Haynes, Joanna Pawlik, and Diarmuid Hester as they attempt to piece together the remarkable life of Rosey Pool. A Dutch Jew who taught Anne Frank, escaped from a Nazi internment camp, and subsequently became a champion of Civil Rights for African Americans, when she died Pool left her personal papers and correspondence with many black writers to the University of Sussex. She also left many unanswered questions… Join us for a unique “performance lecture” that shatters the traditional academic talk into a thousand thrilling pieces.

The second event, ‘Treasures from the Rosey Pool Library‘ (21st November, 12.30pm) features a series of short, spotlight talks by four experts in African American culture. Lonneke Geerlings, Shima Jalal Kamali, Professor Maria Lauret, and Dr Mike Rowland have each picked a book from Rosey Pool’s personal library to talk about: see dusty old tomes come to life before your very eyes as our experts describe the horrors of the slave trade, the passion of the Black Arts movement, and Rosey Pool’s politically-radical book collecting…

For the final event, we will screen British director Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston in association with Eyes Wide Open, Brighton’s queer film strand (21 November, 8pm). Recently the subject of an exhibit at the Victoria Miro gallery in London, where large-format stills from the work attested to its prestige as an artist’s film, Looking for Langston is a classic of black queer cinema. Isaac Julien will introduce the film and stay around for questions afterwards.

Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities is a free nationwide festival which highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives, help us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world. Book via

We’ve also picked out some sneak peeks of some of the archival materials reference in their projects. Follow our Instagram across the next week to see more. 


ACCA conversations: Jo Bannon, creator of Alba

Jo Bannon Alba
Alba 1
Alba 2

Tomorrow night Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts presents Jo Bannon’s Alba. Ahead of the show, we spoke to the artist about the creative process leading to the creation of this visual poem. Using theatre as a medium, Alba demonstrates to be a performance that uses the experience of albinism as a starting point “to explore vision, seeing and being seen”.

What made it a deciding factor to translate your experience with albinism into a visual poem?
My experience of albinism centres a lot around vision, seeing and being seen. Being a person with albinism means there is an interesting paradox between having a limited way of seeing in the world (my eyes have low vision and high sensitivity to light) coupled with having an appearance in the world which is highly visible and distinct; pale skin, white hair, pale eyes. 

So I was interested in using some of the same aesthetics and symbols of albinism; white, pale, pure, angelic, as visual motifs in the work. One of the provocations I used when making the work was to create a stage space where I could blend in, an experience that I don’t often have, so the set transforms a black space into a white space. I’m interested in how visual material might be used as a vocabulary in the work, rather than text as a language, and what the emotional potential might be in images to make meaning and feeling for an audience. 

What main message do you want to tell your audiences with this autobiographical visual piece?
Well that would be telling…! By which I’m only half joking… Because if I could write or speak the ideas within the work I wouldn’t have to use the mechanics of theatre to conjure them. So whilst I am clear what the central ideas in the work are I really do invite the audience to experience the work live and to make meaning from the images, sound, action and to trust their own interpretation. For me it’s not about being deliberately evasive in any way, or making a riddle to be decoded, but about setting ideas in motion and allowing for the ambiguity and varied feelings and interpretations that can afford. I think that’s what theatre can really do best and when it works it’s miraculous!
Your performance is fulfilled with white props and lighting. For you, what does the colour white connote, mean or symbolise?
All sorts of interesting and conflicting things: albinism / privilege / purity / cheap white domestic goods / Catholicism / minimalism. I hope all these things are in orbit in the work.

A few tickets are still available, including Pay What You Decide.

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