As part of Black History Month, French at Stirling’s David Murphy organised a series of events and film screenings in October to mark the 50th anniversary of the First World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Dakar in April 1966. These events emerged from research for his recently published book, The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966: context and legacies.
On 14 October, at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, there were screenings of two documentary films on the 1966 festival, followed by a panel discussion, ‘Dakar 66: Fifty years on’. Later in October, he was involved in more screenings/events as part of the 2016 Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival. On 28 October, he gave a talk on the 1966 festival at a symposium, ‘Havana-Dakar 1966: Capitals of an artistic and political revolution’, at the University of Edinburgh, and held a Q&A after screenings of two documentary films. Then, on 30 October, David introduced documentaries on the ‘Zaïre 74’ Festival (held in conjunction with the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight between Ali and Foreman) and the 1966 festival, as part of another AiM screening. Finally, from 8-10 November, David was in in Dakar, Senegal, where he had been invited to speak at a conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the festival. The event featured academic papers and personal testimony from participants in the festival, and it received wide local media coverage. While in Dakar, David carried out further research on the 1966 festival, including filmed interviews with participants from the 1966 event.
As well as heralding the start of a new academic year for our students, September also saw French at Stirling staff giving invited lectures at conferences in Germany and the US.
On 6 September, Bill Marshall was invited to give a guest lecture at Saint Louis University entitled ‘Rethinking Francophone Film: World Cinemas and World History’ and a keynote at the World Cinema and Television in French Conference at the University of Cincinnati. These talks sought to link the question of cinéma-monde to the longue durée of world history, via four films: A tout prendre (Jutra, 1963), Quest for Fire (Annaud, 1981), Avant les rues (Leriche, 2016) and Stavisky (Resnais, 1974).
From 29 September to 2 October, Fiona Barclay was an invited speaker at the 10th annual conference of the Francoromanistes allemands, which took place at Saarbrücken in Germany. Dr Barclay was invited to speak on the subject of ghosts and haunting North Africa, and her lecture was accompanied by a number of papers on the same broad theme delivered by delegates from across Germany, the United States, France and Morocco. The conference also benefited from the presence of Kebir Mustapha Ammi, the Moroccan-born novelist, who participated in the scholarly debates, and who gave a well-attended reading of his work during one of the evening events. Intriguingly, Kebir Ammi cites Scotland as his favourite area of the UK, and the work of Robert Louis Stevenson as one of the earliest influences on his writing. Perhaps Stirling will have the opportunity to invite him to renew his ties with Scotland in the near future!
In coming weeks, Stirling colleagues will be giving invited papers in Liverpool, at the Africa in Motion film festival, in Dakar and in Montpellier… And French at Stirling staff will be giving lectures and introductory talks at public and schools screenings as part of the annual French Film Festival at the MacRobert in November. We’re also hoping to welcome one of our Erasmus partners, Laurence Gourievidis, from Blaise-Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand to Stirling in early-December. News on all of these to follow…
Congratulations to French at Stirling’s David Murphy on the publication of his new book, The First World Festival of Negro Arts Dakar 1966 which came out last week! The book is the first sustained attempt to provide not only an overview of the festival itself but also of its multiple legacies, which will help us better to understand the ‘festivalization’ of Africa that has occurred in recent decades with most African countries now hosting a number of festivals as part of a national tourism and cultural development strategy.
David is also involved in a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the festival over the coming months, including talks at this year’s Africa in Motion festival, documentary film screenings in Liverpool at the International Slavery Museum and a speech at a conference in Dakar in November. More to follow on all of these in due course.