Jackie Kay the new Scots Makar, Shaping the Body

Posted in Arts, Audio, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-03-26 23:17Z by Steven

Jackie Kay the new Scots Makar, Shaping the Body

Woman’s Hour
BBC Radio 4

The acclaimed writer Jackie Kay has just been announced as the next Scots MakarScotland’s national poet. She tells Jenni about the plans she has for her new role.

Today a new exhibition examining how food, fashion and lifestyle have shaped women’s bodies and lives opens at York Castle Museum. The curator Ali Bodley and fashion historian Lucy Adlington join Jenni to talk about 400 years of squeezing and binding. And, how the current vogue for big bottoms and padded underwear echoes the false rumps of the past.

Mary Magdalene – what do we know about the woman who was described as the constant companion of Jesus, who wept at the foot of the Cross, and who gave the first account of the empty tomb? What is it about her story that continues to fascinate and what evidence is there that she was a prostitute or even the wife of Jesus? Michael Haag author of The Quest for Mary Magdalene speaks to Jenni.

Penrose Halson author of “Marriages are Made In Bond Street” traces the history of one of Britain’s most successful marriage bureaux founded by two twenty-four year olds in the Spring of 1939. Penrose eventually became the proprietor and she tells Jenni about the remarkable cross-section of British society in the 1940’s who found partners through this tiny London office.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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Jackie Kay: Scotland’s poet of the people

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-03-20 16:54Z by Steven

Jackie Kay: Scotland’s poet of the people

The Guardian

Kevin McKenna

Jackie Kay at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh last week.
Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

To say there was a national outpouring of joy at the appointment of Jackie Kay as Scotland’s makar last week might be overdoing it, but not by much. In previous decades, perhaps, not many beyond bearded and ponytailed literary circles might even have known the identity of a new makar or even the purpose of the post. The profile and efforts of the two previous incumbents, Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead, though, have helped to raise awareness of the position so that it has begun to insinuate itself into our national life.

Following the appointment of Kay as Scotland’s national poet last Tuesday, a press colleague who had interviewed her was simply thrilled. “She’s just wonderful; she’ll make people read poetry and write poetry who have never done so before.” The words were spoken in a tone that suggested he had touched the great woman’s hem…

…Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father whereupon she was given up for adoption. John and Helen had adopted Kay’s brother, Maxwell, two years earlier. Many years later, she located her biological father and made plans to meet him while harbouring some anxiety as to how this might be received by her adoptive parents who had given her and her brother so much. She has referred to this as a “kind of adultery”…

Read the entire article here.

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Jackie Kay unveiled as the new National Poet, or Makar, of Scotland

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-03-20 16:33Z by Steven

Jackie Kay unveiled as the new National Poet, or Makar, of Scotland

The Herald
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Phil Miller

Poet and author Jackie Kay

The acclaimed writer Jackie Kay is the new National Poet for Scotland.

Ms Kay, who lives in Manchester, who was awarded an MBE for her services to literature in 2006, will succeed Liz Lochhead as the National Poet.

Ms Kay said she spend around half her time in Glasgow, the city where her parents live.

The final selection of Ms Kay was made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and former first ministers Alex Salmond, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Henry McLeish.

The First Minister made the announcement at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh where Ms Kay read one of her own poems, ‘Between the Dee and the Don’.

Ms Kay was born in Edinburgh and raised in Glasgow.

She said she would like to write a poem for the re-opening of the Scottish Parliament later this year, after the Holyrood elections, as well as highlight the plight of refugees.

The announcement was made by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, who said: “Poetry is part of Scotland’s culture and history, it celebrates our language and can evoke strong emotions and memories in all of us…

Read the entire article here.

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Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots – Theresa Muñoz

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, United Kingdom on 2016-03-20 16:05Z by Steven

Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots – Theresa Muñoz

Scottish Review of Books
Volume 6, Issue 3 (2010-08-12)

Theresa Muñoz

Adopted at birth, Jackie Kay discovered neither of her birth parents were who she’d thought they’d be, her new memoir recalls.

“If you have skin my colour” writes Jackie Kay in her memoir Red Dust Road, “you must be a foreigner.” All of her life, people have asked her where she is from. Glasgow, she’d tell them. Then people would inquire, but where are her parents from? Her parents are from Glasgow and Fife, she’d say. But she would also add that she’s adopted and her birth father is Nigerian. “They’d nod,” Kay says, “with a kind of ‘That explains it’ look”.

Since I moved to Scotland, people have asked me where I’m from. “Vancouver, British Columbia,” I reply. Most leave it at that because they have relatives or friends in Canada and would rather discuss them. But others persist: “Where are you really from?” Once, an older gentleman in the library in Dumfries asked if I was from the Far East. “Yes, I live in Edinburgh,” I replied. He left me alone after that.

It’s not that people shouldn’t ask. I’m happy to tell others that both my parents were born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada, individually, in the Seventies. (They later met in what used to be Simpson’s department store in Toronto.) But the nature of these questions can make you feel like an outsider. As Kay says, “I felt it was being pointed out to me, in a more sophisticated manner, that I didn’t belong in Scotland”.

Other comments are just plain ignorant. Walking down West Princes Street in Glasgow, I passed a man who muttered something about a tan. “Nice tan,” I think he said to me. Kay has also been asked about her tan. In Wigtown a woman asked her and her mother, “Is that lady your daughter? Oh? Your daughter is awful tanned. Is she that colour every day?”

Once or twice things have turned ugly. A fight broke out in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane, when a drunken man asked my Scottish boyfriend where he “bought me”. Kay’s experiences have been much more humiliating. In 1980, during the rise of the British Movement, posters were put up around Stirling University that asked: “Would you be seen with that Irish-Catholic wog called Jackie Kay?” Kay locked herself into her student apartment and was offered police protection.

Racism happens without warning. You never know how to react. Dignity? Fury?…

Read the entire review here.

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Photographing Multiracial Families In Scotland: Celebrating mothers, daughters and diversity through portraits

Posted in Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-01-19 15:21Z by Steven

Photographing Multiracial Families In Scotland: Celebrating mothers, daughters and diversity through portraits

Medium for Pixel Magazine

Interview by Emily von Hoffmann and Polarr

Image courtesy of Kim Simpson.

Portrait photographer Kim Simpson began her Exottish project after her daughter, who is of mixed heritage, experienced a series of racial insults in her primary school in Scotland.

Kim says she hopes her portraits — which feature families with some “visual differences” between their members — will encourage viewers to revisit their engrained ideas of what it looks like to be Scottish.

For Polarr, Emily von Hoffmann spoke with Kim about the work and her experience as a parent in a multiracial family.

Emily von Hoffmann: “Girls and Their Mothers” is one part of the larger Exottish project. What does “Girls and Their Mothers” entail? Who are these women?

Kim Simpson: “Girls and Their Mothers” is a collection of portraits of mixed race girls, of all ages, with their mothers — 48 portraits featuring 16 different families in a mix of individual and group portraits.

Instead of questioning their ancestry or scrutinizing their appearance, I chose to photograph girls and women of mixed heritage and their mothers with an intent to question social perception. These images display their relationships, linking these girls and their mothers together while at the same time respecting their disparity…

Image courtesy of Kim Simpson.

…EvH: What sort of national dialogue, or vocabulary even, around race and appearance exists in Scotland? Is it discussed in school, for instance? I’m interested in thinking about this in comparison to the current Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., and the greater mainstream attention to identity issues of multiracial individuals.

KS: Black Lives Matter is extremely relevant in Scotland, especially at the moment. We have had an awful tragedy that saw the senseless end of Sheku Bayoh’s life at the hands of police officers as he was suffocated during an arrest in Fife, Scotland. Justice has not been served in this instance and it echoes all the hallmarks of what has been going on across the water with concerns of interactions between police officers and members of the black community…

Read entire the interview here.

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Maud Sulter

Posted in Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-01-18 19:00Z by Steven

Maud Sulter

The Herald
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Artist and writer; Born September 19, 1960; Died February 27, 2008. MAUD Sulter, who has died after a long illness aged 47, was an extraordinarily gifted visual artist, writer, playwright and cultural historian.

She was born in Glasgow, of Scots and Ghanaian descent: in her poem Circa 1930, she pointed out that these two cultures “are not as disparate as they might/at first seem. Clan-based societies/With long memories and global diasporas”. The exploration of the continuing presence of Africa in Europe was one of her principal themes, explored through her art in a variety of media: text, photography, sound and performance.

She was active in feminist communities in London in the early 1980s, and while working with a women’s education group programmed Check It, a groundbreaking two-week show at the Drill Hall showcasing black women’s creativity…

…As well as her academic writing, she published several collections of poetry: As a Blackwoman (1985), which won the Vera Bell Prize for poetry that year; Zabat (1989); and Sekhmet (Dumfries & Galloway Council, 2005); and a play about Jerry Rawlings, Service to Empire (2002). “I often address issues of lost and disputed territories, both psychological and physical,” she wrote in 1994. “The central body of my poetic work is unequivocally the love poetry which is addressed to both genders.” Sekhmet begins with a roll-call of love and gratitude to friends, lovers, family across the world, to medics, and to the ancestors, “who walked beside me when I needed them most and carried me forward when the terrain was too rough but never absolve me of the responsibility for my own life and identity”…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Miranda Kaufmann Lecture ‘Africans in Port Towns – 1500-1640’

Posted in History, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United Kingdom on 2014-10-10 21:21Z by Steven

Miranda Kaufmann Lecture ‘Africans in Port Towns – 1500-1640’

University of Greenwich
Queen Anne 180 – Greenwich Campus
Greenwich, England
Wednesday, 2014-10-15, 18:00-19:00 BST (Local Time)

Dr. Miranda Kaufmann will explore the lives of Africans in 16th and 17th century England and Scotland’s port towns, explaining how they arrived in Britain and how they were treated by the church, the law courts and the other inhabitants.

Dr. Miranda Kaufmann will explore the lives of Africans in 16th and 17th century England and Scotland’s port towns, explaining how they arrived in Britain, what occupations and relationships they found in the ports and how they were treated by the church, the law courts and the other inhabitants.

For more information, click here.

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An unmanageable Commodity to have imported into this white Country: Growing up Mixed-Race in India and Scotland, 1780-1830

Posted in History, Live Events, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-01-09 22:12Z by Steven

An unmanageable Commodity to have imported into this white Country: Growing up Mixed-Race in India and Scotland, 1780-1830

Institute of Historical Research
Senate House (Room 103)
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
Tuesday, 2014-01-14, 17:15-19:15Z

Ellen Filor
University College London

Seminar Series: Life-Cycles (Spring Term 2014)

This seminar series will address issues relating to the life-cycle such as age, intergenerational relationships, parenthood, ageing, childhood and youth, from long-chronological and interdisciplinary perspectives.

For more information, click here.

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Extended Families: Mixed-Race Children and Scottish Experience, 1770-1820

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Economics, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2013-08-28 02:54Z by Steven

Extended Families: Mixed-Race Children and Scottish Experience, 1770-1820

international journal of scottish literature
ISSN: 1751-2808

Daniel A. Livesay, Assistant Professor of History
Drury University, Springfield, Missouri

Daniel Livesay was winner of the 2007 North American Conference on British Studies Prize, Dissertation Year Fellowship for “Imagining Difference: Mixed-Race Britons and Racial Ideology in the Eighteenth Century Atlantic.”

Three years prior to the ending of the slave trade, Jamaica’s richest and most influential merchant mused on the possible consequences of abolition. Writing to his friend George Hibbert in January of 1804, Simon Taylor offered a stark vision of the British imperial economy without slave importation, echoing scores of other pro-slavery writers who preached the financial doom and gloom of a post-abolitionist society.  Economics, however, were not the only thing on either man’s mind. Hibbert, in a previous letter, had asked Taylor for his thoughts on the future of Jamaica’s white population if fresh supplies of slaves came to a halt.  He wondered if the colony’s whites could farm sugar themselves and if such back-breaking labour would further stifle the increase of the island’s already meager European population. Throwing off his earlier pessimism, Taylor replied with high hopes for the growth of Jamaica’s white residents.  His optimism sprung from a phenomenon he had watched develop over the last two generations: ‘When I returned from England in the year 1760 there were only three Quadroon Women in the Town of Kingston. There are now three hundred, and more of the decent Class of them never will have any commerce with their own Colour, but only with White People. Their progeny is growing whiter and whiter every remove […] from thence a White Generation will come’.  Taylor had seen all other attempts to increase the white population fail and he believed that this process of ‘washing the Blackamoor White’ to be the only way to build an effective racial hedge against an overwhelming black majority on the island.

If miscegenation was the answer to Jamaica’s problems, Simon Taylor could claim to be doing his part for the movement. Indeed, he had earned a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for his multiracial family. Not long after arriving in Jamaica with her husband, the new Lieutenant-Governor of the island, Lady Maria Nugent visited Simon Taylor in his Golden Grove estate. She commented in her diary that Taylor was ‘an old bachelor’ who ‘detests the society of women’, but she seemed determined to win him over.  However, she could not help but register surprise after an evening at Taylor’s estate when ‘[a] little mulatto girl was sent into the drawing-room to amuse [her]’. Recording the event in her diary, she noted, ‘Mr. T[aylor] appeared very anxious for me to dismiss her, and in the evening, the housekeeper told me she was his own daughter, and that he had a numerous family, some almost on every one of his estates’.  Taylor’s sexual activities with slaves and women of colour were not unusual, nor was his attempt to hide them from European eyes.  Like many white West Indians at the time, Taylor may have given some favours to his children of colour, but he did not treat them as full members of his family.

In contrast to Simon Taylor’s inattention to his mixed-race children, John Tailyour, Simon’s cousin, made a significant attempt to provide for his offspring of colour.  Tailyour originated from Montrose, near Simon’s ancestral home in Borrowfield, and made several unsuccessful attempts at business in the colonies. Forced to abandon his tobacco trade in Virginia at the outbreak of the American Revolution, he returned to North America in 1781, but failed to establish himself in New York’s dry-goods market. Rather than return home to Scotland once again, Tailyour ventured to Jamaica at his cousin Simon’s invitation, where he operated as a merchant from 1783 to 1792. With very few white women on the island from which to choose, Tailyour took up residence with an enslaved woman from his cousin’s plantation. The couple eventually had four children together before Tailyour finally decided to return to Scotland in 1792. Rather than leave his children in Jamaica, however, John Tailyour sent at least three of them to Britain for their education and to be brought up in a trade. His conduct toward his mixed-race offspring stands in sharp relief with that of his cousin’s and reveals the complicated attitudes that whites had toward these children…

Read the entire article here.

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Missing faces

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2013-07-18 02:00Z by Steven

Missing faces

The Guardian

Jackie Kay, Professor of Creative Writing
Newcastle University

As the United Kingdom marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade tomorrow, Jackie Kay challenges fellow Scots to acknowledge their forebears’ part in this shameful history and reflects on the ordeal suffered by her ancestors

We’re perhaps over-fond of dates, of going round in circles of a hundred years to mark the birth of, or the death of, trying to grasp, as we all get older, what time means. Anniversaries give us the perfect excuse to try and catch up on what we already should have caught up on. Anniversaries afford us a big noisy opportunity to try and remember what we should not have forgotten.

Slavery is one of those subjects we all think we know about. Men were shipped, packed like sardines, as in that famous drawing by Thomas Clarkson, the abolitionist. The Africans sold their own people – this gets mentioned so often, as if the reiteration of African complicity diminishes responsibility. But what spirit, eh, the African people? Mind you, there’s always been slavery, the ancient Romans were at it, etc etc. We are closed to any more detail; we don’t want to know. We don’t want to imagine how slavery would affect each of the five senses. Too much information fills ordinary people, black and white, with revulsion, distaste, or worse, induces boredom. We think we’ve heard it all before…

Read the entire article here.

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