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Meandering Networks, Mapping Nations

Thursday 17 - Saturday 19 June 2021

Online via Zoom and CCA Annex (as part of the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) Glasgow)

Image credits (from left to right): Janine Francois, Image by Fraser FN courtesy of Guts Gallery; Ashanti Harris; Melanie Keen; Briana Pegado, Image by Matt Beech Photography;

DJ Plantainchipps at Clyde Built Radio; Gaëtane Verna, Image by Tyrell Gough; Martha Adonai Williams.

Black Curators Collective (BCC) is facilitating a two-day gathering as part of the 2021 GI Events Programme on Thursday 17th - Friday 18th June 2021; with a celebratory DJ set by Plantainchipps on Saturday 19th June. We are considering the idea of ‘meandering networks’ as a starting point to think through how we connect and come together as cultural workers across the four nations. The first day is closed-door for Black practitioners with a curatorial practice and the second day is open to the public. Day two will feature a keynote address by Melanie Keen, Director of Wellcome Collection; an offline workshop by artist and researcher Ashanti Harris; and roundtable discussions led by Briana Pegado, Gaëtane Verna, Khadea Kuchenmeister and Lola Olufemi. Ashanti features in Glasgow International 2021 'Across the city' exhibitions programme.

Our programme is based on the principles of collectivity, resource building, and regionalism. We are inviting Black practitioners working with contemporary art based across Scotland, and the UK to share a moment of peace, rest, and reinforcement between each other on an international platform. We are not striving for ‘newness’ but to shift attention and form connections between what already exists/is emerging, with the aim of moving Black practitioners from the peripheries by sharing and decentralising resources and knowledge. We view our stories as oral archives, our experiences as resources and aim to voice and share this as a national resource.

Meandering Networks, Mapping Nations embodies slowness as a state of mind through doing less better, taking comfort in the unknown, and focusing on a process-driven approach to public programming.


The early development of this project was shaped significantly by contributions from BCC alumni Francis Dosoo and artist Ray Camara.




Janine Francois is a Black British Feminist writer, cultural producer and academic.

Ashanti Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist and researcher based in Glasgow, Scotland. Working with dance, performance, facilitation, film, installation and writing, Ashanti’s work explores the movement of people, ideas and things and the wider social, cultural and historical implications of these movements. As part of her creative practice, she is co-director of the dance company Project X; works collaboratively as part of the collective Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S) – facilitating experimental movement workshops and research groups. She is also lecturer in Contemporary Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and co-facilitates the British Art Network research group The Re-Action of Black Performance. Recent commissions and exhibitions include: OHCE, Radiophrenia, 87.9fm (2020); Being Present, OGR, Torino (2020); In The Open, The Common Guild, Glasgow (2020); Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick (2020); Pre-Ramble, David Dale, Glasgow (2020); The Skeleton of a Name, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2019); Second Site, Civic Room, Glasgow (2019); Walking Through the Shadows Eyes Open, SUBSOLO Laboratório de Arte, Sao Paolo, (2019).

Melanie Keen is Director of Wellcome Collection, a free museum and library in London which aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health. Prior to joining in October 2019, she was Director and Chief Curator at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), where she was instrumental in the revitalisation of Iniva’s mission and vision by making the library collection its creative hub. Melanie sits on a number of boards and advisory committees including the Government Art Collection and the Board of Visitors of Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. She was on the selection committee for the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019 and one of the judges for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020. 

She has worked extensively in building greater awareness of the practice of artists of African and Asian descent in Britain. Her curatorial practice has focused on creative collaboration, community engagement and experimentation. As a regular contributor at conferences and seminars, most recently as a keynote speaker at the Museums Association Conference 2020, Melanie is enthusiastic about the potential to forge an alliance of museums and cultural institutions committed to social justice.

Briana Pegado FRSA is the founder of the Edinburgh Student Arts Festival (ESAF), an award winning social enterprise that provided a platform for emerging artists and creatives facing barriers to the creative industries across Scotland. She is currently Chair of YWCA Scotland - the Young Women's Movement, an intergenerational movement that supports young women's leadership. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Art, member of the governing body of the University of York, and on the National Partnership for Culture. Intersectionality, feminist, queer, and sustainable development lenses all inform her work.

Glasgow based DJ, Plantainchipps (she/her) is all about upbeat and fast-paced sounds. Music that uplifts and excites all those that listen to it. Her selection covers such genres as afrobeats, R’n’B, house & dancehall, however, she enjoys exploring other genres and adding them to her mix. Plantainchipps has played a variety of gigs around Glasgow in venues that include The Berkley Suite, The Art School and Stereo, as well as supported such artists like Peach, Shygirl, Bonvaventure & Lorraine James in the past. She has always had an interest in music and the different genres that it includes and occasionally makes some of her own under the name Nwanneka, which includes hypnotising single ‘Soil’ produced by Mark Hoise.

Gaëtane Verna is an art historian. She is the Director and Artistic Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. Previously, she was Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette (2006–12) and was Curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke (1999–2006), while also teaching in the Art History department of both Bishop’s University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Verna holds an International Diploma in Heritage Administration and Conservation from the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris and received a DEA and master’s degree in Art History from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. Verna has years of experience in curating, publishing catalogues, and presenting exhibitions by emerging, mid-career, established Canadian and international artists, she is one of the initiators of the Black Curators Forum together with Julie Crooks, Pamela Edmonds and Dominique Fontaine. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts and TV5 Québec Canada and is the President of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Arts Council. In 2017, she was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government.

Martha Adonai Williams is a writer, facilitator, producer, community organiser, black feminist and friend. Her practice departs to and returns from black feminist world making, always, with regular layovers in front of trash tv or at the allotment. Her work considers the wilderness and margins as sites of resistance, refusal and homecoming. She works with writing and storytelling as therapeutic tools and as methods for community building. Her recent work has been shown as part of Fringe of Colour films and published in MAP magazine. She runs call&response black feminist writing community, programmes for Glasgow Zine Library and produces SBWN's annual Metaphors for a Black Future programme.

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