10am - 5pm

Curated by Paul Gilroy, Cora Gilroy Ware and Ingrid Pollard

Programmed to complement The Lie of the Land, this daylong symposium will use performance, intergenerational conversation and deep listening to explore exclusion and the English countryside. 

First exhibited in 1987, Ingrid Pollard’s series Pastoral Interlude ushered a wave of reflections on the exclusion of black people from the English countryside. Now, over thirty years later, what, if anything, has changed? Do the marginalised people who traverse footpaths and bridleways still grapple with the threat of violence? Are they still subject to the same degree of scrutiny by those they encounter? Have emergent patterns of immigration and the vitriolic debates they bring forth redistributed the experience of exclusion? Is it enough to be included? Should we strive for something else?

Looking back in time reveals that black artists before Pollard, particularly the neglected archive of folk musicians from migrant backgrounds, found ways of transcending the dilemma of exclusion through their practices. As concepts like ‘tradition’, ‘identity’ and ‘way of life’ continue to be abused to further a mainstreamed far-right politics, their legacies provide a means of enriching our understanding of how the desire to belong and the blocking of that desire has figured and continues to figure in the enjoyment of the English countryside.


10:30 Performance and introduction by Cora Gilroy-Ware

Part I: Being in the English Countryside    

11:00 Panel discussion chaired by Cora Gilroy-Ware featuring: 
  •  Beth Collier, Director, Wild in the City, an organisation that supports the wellbeing of urban residents through connections to nature.
  • Gabriel Jamie, birdwatcher and ornithologist.
  • Vanessa Kisuule, Bristol City Poet, writer and performer.

 13:00 Lunch

 Part II: Claiming Belonging through Looking and Listening

 14:00 Visual presentation by Ingrid Pollard 

 15:00 Listening session with Paul Gilroy

 16:30 Break

 17:00 Collaborative performance by the organisers

 17:30 End