01 BAM About

Black Artists & Modernism (BAM for short) is a three-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as a collaboration between University of the Arts London and Middlesex University.

How do artists of African and Asian descent in Britain feature in the story of twentieth century art?

There is an implied oversight that has been highlighted in Kobena Mercer’s essay ‘Iconography after Identity’ (2005), where he suggests that an art historical amnesia prevails in relation to Black-British art; of forgetting the artistic object in favour of discussions about ethnicity and identity politics. The result of this focus, Mercer argues, inevitably deflects attention away from the work of art.

BAM will address the understated connections and areas of contention between Black-British artists’ practice and the work of art’s relationship to Modernism through close readings of works of art, artist dossiers, interviews, study days, public symposia and a database of works of art in public collections across the UK.

Esteemed colleague, art historian Courtney J Martin (Assistant Professor, History of Art and Architecture, Brown University), has commented:

“For several centuries Britain has introduced some of the most important art and artists to the world. Despite this rich history, the art history of the nation’s own black artists (a term that exceeds the limitations of race to encompass political and cultural solidarity) remains under-recognised nationally and internationally. The Black Artists and Modernism project promises to correct these various omissions by sharply focusing on the art that was produced within its complex spaces of artistic, cultural, historic, political and social context. The specific delineation of modernism and black artists is an astute path from which extensive research will yield new exhibitions, scholarly and popular texts, and, perhaps, most importantly, a cohort of learned practitioners for the field of art.   BAM will re-write British art history and set the contemporary record straight for a generation to come.”

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  • Sonia Boyce

    Principal-Investigator, BAM View Posts →

    Sonia Boyce is an artist and professor of art at University of the Arts London (UAL).

  • David Dibosa

    Co-Investigator View Posts →

    David Dibosa is a curator and art historian. He is Course Leader for the MA
    Curating & Collections at Chelsea College of Arts (UAL).

  • susan pui san lok

    Co-Investigator View Posts →

    Susan Lok is an artist, writer and Associate Professor of Fine Art at Middlesex University.

  • Paul Goodwin

    Senior Researcher View Posts →

    Paul Goodwin is a curator, writer and Director of the TrAIN Research Centre at UAL.

  • Anjalie Dalal-Clayton

    Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

    Anjalie Dalal-Clayton is an art historian and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow based at UAL.

  • Sophie Orlando

    Researcher (Pan-European)

    Sophie Orlando is an art historian, art critic and Associate Professor at the Villa Arson in Nice, France.

  • Marlene Smith

    UK Research Manager

    Marlene Smith is an artist and curator.

  • Hammad Nasar

    Senior Research Fellow

    Hammad Nasar is a curator, writer and Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He has joined the BAM team as a Senior Research Fellow.

  • Ella S. Mills

    Post-Doctoral Researcher

    Ella S. Mills is an art historian based in the South-West. She has joined the BAM team as a Post-Doctoral Researcher.