Conversation with Nana Adusei-Poku and John Akomfrah

What a fantastic way to end the year. It was a packed house at the Witte de With, and the event was the culmination of a tremendous amount of discussion and preparation by the PZI Interdepartmental Think Tank. In light of Stuart Hall’s passing in February 2014, we wanted to find a way of honouring and revisiting his work –  and the evening delivered just that.

For me, the two most timely and memorable quotes of the evening were from The Stuart Hall Project, where Hall says “Race is the lens through which people come to perceive that a crisis is developing.” In the wake of Ferguson, no truer words could be spoken about current economic and social divides. And later John Akomfrah in conversation with Nana Adusei-Poku talked about the power of archives, and their capacity to speak, adding that “the archival trace is the monument of the diaspora.”

A big thanks to everyone in the Piet Zwart Interdepartmental Think Tank for making this event possible, and the Witte de With for being generous hosts. Establishing the PZI Interdepartmental Think Tank was quite a gamble given the autonomy of each programme. An evening like this is a sign that it has been a worthwhile endeavour.