A COMPLEXION CHANGE – Transnational & Intercultural Diplomacy
“View to the Future – The Flag still flies”
in cooperation with / in Kooperation mit der Commissioner for Integration, District Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Berlin
Integrationsbeauftragten des Bezirks Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Berlin
in association with / in Verbindung mit der Embassy of the United States of America, Berlin
Botschaft der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, Berlin
Black International Cinema Berlin is an intercultural and interdisciplinary festival, presenting the contributions of international filmmakers, artists and engaged people with diverse cultural, ethnic, socio-economic und religious backgrounds.
The festival focuses on presenting works from the African Diaspora as well as contributions dealing with intercultural themes and perspectives.
Black International Cinema Berlin offers a forum for the intellectual and artistic exchange and seeks to provide an oasis of inspiration and information to contribute towards a peaceful and respectful living together in our multi-faceted society.
The film program will be accompanied by discussions, performances, seminars and musical presentations.
Admission is without charge / Der Eintritt ist frei
Production & Direction FOUNTAINHEAD® TANZ THEATRE
THE COLLEGIUM – FORUM & TELEVISION PROGRAM BERLIN
“FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND?” – EXHIBITION, July1-August 31, 2012
in association with CULTURAL ZEPHYR e.V.
Bola Agbaje born (June 1981) is an award winning playwright and screenwriter. Bola has been writing since (2006) and has had plays presented at the Royal Court Theatre, Tricycle Theatre and Albany Theatre to name a few. Bola’s plays address issues of youth identity, stereotypes and culture.
Photograph: Ibbolya Feher for the Guardian
Bola won the (2008) Outstanding achievement in an Affiliated Theatre Laurence Olivier Award for her first play Gone too Far (2007). In (2010) Bola also won the Women of the Future Award in the Arts and Culture category at Women of the Future Award in association with Shell. Best Playwright at the African Film Awards and the Red Magazine Red’s Hot Women to watch in the Red’s Hot Women Awards.
Bola Agbaje was born in St Thomas Hospital London to an African family. Her Nigerian mother Sikirat Agbaje is a cook in a local school and her Nigerian father Olakunle Agbaje is a civil servant for a local council. Bola spent her childhood living on the North Peckham Estate in south East London. At the age of six Bola’s father decided to relocate back to Nigeria. Bola and her younger brother went along where they met their two elder siblings. Bola briefly lived in Nigeria for two years and returned to England at the age of eight. Throughout her childhood Bola had a tough time coming to terms with her identity. ‘I didn’t know if I was African or British. In England I was called African, in Nigeria a black girl with an English accent I was called British and when I returned to England with an African accent I was called African. I was so confused for a very long time.’ This confusion continued into Bola’s teens where she also recounts her first day in secondary school. ‘I went around the classroom asking everyone where they were from and when I was asked I told my class mates I was half Jamaican and half African. Thinking back I don’t know why I did it, I mean I know why at the time, I was ashamed of being African most African where I grew up were ashamed. It was cooler to be West Indian. Looking back its funny I told such a dumb lie, I was so naive because I was gonna be with these same people for five years so eventually they would have found out I wasn’t Jamaican, which was the case.’ Bola explains it took her a number of years to be comfortable with being Nigerian and it was at college where she met a vast number of second generation Nigerian/Africans that she was proud of her roots. ‘Most people at college were Nigerian or African and in the common room we would all sit and share stories about our parents and family. We would joke about how we were once embarrassed our parents had African accents but now we were going around talking with African accents.’
Bola believes this discovery is what lead to her writing her first play Gone too Far – a play that explores youth identity and culture. Bola Agbaje’s original dreams was to be an actor. She attended a part time drama school called Identity Drama school in East London from (2004-2006). However Bola had a change of heart frustrated with the lack of roles for young black actors. In (2006) Bola quit Identity Drama school and enrolled in the Royal Court Theatre ‘Critical Mass’ Young Writers Programme. A ten week playwrighting course. It was at the young writers group that Bola developed her first play Gone too Far.
Gone too Far was selected as one of two plays to have a full production during the Young Writers Festival (2007). Bola recalls the shock and excitement that her play was selected out of 400 plays. ‘I wrote the play because I was tired and frustrated. I wanted to write a play about my experiences. I wanted the characters to have African names. I felt I was not represented. I know over 20 Bola but not once on screen or on stage have I seen a play or film with my name. I was sure most second generation immigrants felt this way, so instead of complaining I thought I’d take a stand.’
After the success of Gone too Far Bola was commissioned by various theatre to write plays. In (2008) Gone too Far was revived in the Royal Court theatre downstair playing to a 400 seated audience per night and it went on tour to the Hackney Empire and Albany theatre. In the same year Bola was nominated for the Evening Standard Most promising playwright award. This however went to Terrell Alvin McCraney.
In 2009 Bola was commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre alongside playwrights Roy Williams and Kwame Kwei-Armah to write a play for the Not Black or White season. She also worked with a young Director John Dayo to write and produce three short films for Day Zero productions. The last Piece a short film written by both Bola and John won the runner up prize for best narrative at the Bablegum Online Film Festival.
In 2010 Bola second play for the Royal Court Theatre – Off the Endz saw a successful run in the theatre downstair. She also wrote a short play Playing the Game for the Tricycle Theatre Women, Power and Politics season. Bola is under commission with Paines Plough, Tiata Fahodzi and 20 Stories high.
Bola Agbaje is currently working with UK Film Council and a production company Poisson Rouge in developing her first feature film a screen adaptation of her play Gone too Far. Bola completed this film script in 2010 and worked with a young director Destiny Ekaragha in producing a 6 min pilot for the film. The screenplay has been sent out to various distribution companies.
A Brussels-based anti-racism group has condemned Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth for cutting a “racist” cake at a Stockholm art museum, demanding the government issue a formal public apology: http://www.thelocal.se/40356/20120419/
On another note from Scandinavia, it’s almost time for the Helsinki Film Festival
“Welcome to HAFF! African movies offer a great way to build bridges at a time when prejudice and racism are on the rise,” says festival director Wanjiku wa Ngugi: http://www.haff.fi/en
Please add links to other posts about what happened in Sweden here.
Sofia Rasmussen is a freelance writer who is deeply passionate about education. Email her if you ever want to discuss an article.
At a distance, tt can be easy to view America and Europe as facing a similar set of challenges. As policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are struggling to help schools with limited resources prepare students for a changing workplace, the challenges faced in Europe offer a telling comparison between the old world and the new.
Every European member state has its own system for education, which has been developing gradually for centuries. Unlike the United States, secondary school is a relatively recent development, only becoming commonplace after World War II. However, in Europe it is much less enterprising – there aren’t online PhD programs and a staggering number of for profit schools quite like there are in the US. Vocational programs still have a much more prominent role in several countries. According to the United Kingdom’s National Foundation for Education Research, this has led to a variety of systems, with their own teaching methods and structures for moving students from primary to secondary school.
Add this to the language barriers and culture that separate Europe’s member states, and you have the makings of a classic labor mismatch.
According to a European Commission report, a drop in education graduates combined with an aging teacher force is producing a growing shortage of specialized educators. The effects are particularly dramatic for minority populations: In Belgium, 45% of 15-year-olds in the French-speaking community are without a specialized mathematics teacher.
The good news is that these problems aren’t going unchallenged. The same report showed that education funding has held steady in most member states, and targeted training programs such as mentoring are on the rise. The Commission’s Erasmus for All program aims to provide training opportunities for a million European teachers in order to make the profession more appealing.
One challenge that Europe does share with American educators is the rise of immigration. Foreign-born students make up more than 10% of the population in many western European countries, according to an Open Society Institute study. Female minority students tend to fare somewhat better than their male counterparts, but they can be more likely to face cultural exclusion, either from their peers or from official policy.
Member states have responded with a range of policies, all geared toward integrating minority children into the education system and society as a whole. Some of these policies have proved controversial, such as bans on hijabs, traditional Muslim headwear, but they reflect the mentality that has animated the European Union ever since its conception.
Building a unified framework to integrate the continent has been a goal of the European project for decades, and building a modern education system is an important part of that effort. While European workers are less likely to change jobs than Americans, the system of vocational schools is leaving some students ill prepared for a labor force where most of the existing jobs are taken by older workers. Youth unemployment in Europe sits at a staggering 20% and their unrest is beginning to show.
According to Eurostat, the number of students in early childhood education has been growing steadily in the last decade. More students are graduating in the mathematics, science, and engineering fields – or highly specialized fields that can result in highly specialized workers. If Europe’s member states can successfully integrate their immigrant populations from an early age, the continent may be on track for a strong educational future.
STOCKHOLM. Afro Swedes’ Association calls for Culture Lena Adelsohn Roth departs. This was because she, according to the union, participated in a “tasteless racist manifestations.”
They are also known as Lena Adelsohn Roth in connection with the celebration of World Art Day April 15 cut up a cake, which depicted a naked black woman. According to Afro Swedes’ Association represented the cake to a racist caricature of a black woman.
According to the Modern Museum, the intention was to problematize female circumcision.
– To say that you did this in an honorable amplifies only the mockery of people who suffer from racism and against women who are victims of circumcision, says Kitimbwa Sabuni, who is spokesperson for Afro Swedes’ Association.
Afro Swedes’ Association is urging that culture minister resigns.
– Confidence is consumed. It is such a serious overshoot. She was a minister must have a feel for it and must be able to say enough is enough and do not participate in it as a representative of the Swedish Government, he said.
Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth understand the reactions.
– I understand very well that this provokes, and it was a very bizarre situation. I was invited to speak at World Art Day on artistic freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut up a cake, she said.
TT: Afro Swedes believe it was a racist caricature of the woman.
– Then they actually turn to the artist, I do not go in and reviewing art, but I can well understand the whole situation can be misinterpreted.
TT: But you will still in the cake?
– It did so, everyone, but it was perhaps a little shocking situation and that was also the artist wanted to achieve I suppose. He tells you it defies a romantic and exotiserande approach from the west on what is really about violence and racism. That’s what I have learned about the artwork afterwards. The art must be provocative, says Adelsohn Roth.
The artist who made the acclaimed cake called Makode Aj Linde. It was part of a major event that took place at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The organizer was the Swedish chapter of the International Association of Art (IAA), part of the Artist Organization (KRO), whose 75th anniversary was celebrated.
Besides the Minister of Culture speeches were made including a panel discussion on the fight against censorship and for freedom of art with some of the international art scene’s top names. TT
Editor’s note: Read UbanLife.se’s article about Makode Linde.