Join us on monday 27 febuary for a conversation with researcher Nikita Krouwel of The Black Archives, artist and organiser k.Chi” of hip-hop platform The Mansion, and cultural producer Marischka Verbeek, owner of the first Dutch feminist bookshop Savannah Bay about space for community. With dance by Neema Souare and music by k.Chi”.
This night is about art, space and community. Art or heritage spaces such as archives, bookshops, clubs and studios that were created to present the art and heritage of historically oppressed groups often serve other important functions as well.
For one, they bring together art makers and audiences from those groups. In this way, they offer a home to meet people with similar experiences, and a place to be yourself. They also offer a space for developing your own culture, connecting to your ancestors and passing on knowledge that would be lost if left to dominant heritage institutions. Last but not least, they are a location for organising, building alliances and educating allies.
What makes these places special and sets them apart from, for instance, social media and festivals, is the fact that they offer a real place in a stable location. Here is a place where you meet real-life people, and that does not disappear when the party ends: you can always come back here.
On monday the 13st The Mansion recorded a live podcast in Café LUX about the impact and importance of other and new cultural space for socially marginalized groups. Listen to the podcast on YouTube or Spotify.
We will learn from three organisers with tremendous experience creating such valuable places. Nikita Krouwel is a researcher at The Black Archives, founded in 2015 by the Amsterdam-based Urban Collective and building on the work done and the space created by Vereniging Ons Suriname (Association Our Suriname) since 1919. In 2022, The Black Archives participated in major global art exhibition documenta fifteen.
Next, Marischka Verbeek is the owner of Savannah Bay in Utrecht, founded in 1975 as a women’s bookshop and now specialising in literature, gender, LGBTQIA+ and postcolonial studies.
Finally, k.Chi” organises open mic nights and other events at the new Nijmegen hip-hop platform The Mansion. This platform coaches young performance talent in Nijmegen’s Waalhalla but also offers, for instance, diary-writing workshops at schools. Artistic director is Roche Nieuwendam, cultural producer Debora Heijne.
These three institutions represent a varied range of art spaces: they work with different art disciplines, were founded in different moments in history, and are based in different regions in the Netherlands. What different purposes have they seen their spaces serve over the years? How have they tried to make these spaces as inclusive as possible – or do they perhaps also see the need to dedicate these spaces to specific groups? And, finally, what is the work that is needed to create and maintain these spaces? What advice would they give others who try to create art spaces for communities?
The night will take the shape of a conversation between our guests, led by Adil Boughlala and Anna Geurts, and introduced by a historical tour of the spaces themselves. It will also present dance and music by Neema Souare and k.Chi”, showcasing the role of art in the creation of these spaces
Neema Souare is a social worker and dancer. She has been dancing since the age of ten, and since the age of sixteen, she has been specialising in Afro dance styles such as afrohouse, coupe decale, ndombolo, azonto, and more. As a social worker, she supports young people with whom she also uses dance, as a means of communication and emotional self-regulation. For Souare, dance is more than mere movement: it is all about feeling.
k.Chi” is an artist and producer located in Nijmegen. His work distinguishes itself by jazz en soul influences and highly personal lyrics. In 2021, he released his EP titled Guitar Stories and he is now following his own path in the Hip-hop scene.
Nikita Krouwel is an independent researcher at The Black Archives and an alumna of Radboud University and Leiden University. Her Master’s thesis in Colonial and Global History looked into the history of Transatlantic Black solidarity, specifically between Black American and Afro-Dutch activists during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Her broader research interests are Black history, Black/Afro-Dutch resistance and the African diaspora. During her studies at Radboud University in Nijmegen, she was herself also involved in anti-racism activism, for example as an organiser of the Anti-Racism Awareness week.
Marischka Verbeek is a bookseller, trainer, organiser, presenter and literary journalist. After her degrees in literary and women’s studies, she initially worked as a researcher at Utrecht University, specialising in ethnicity in European curricula. In 1991, she started as a bookseller at Savannah Bay and in 1997 became its owner. Next to hosting a wealth of events at Savannah Bay, such as Queering the City of Literature, she also produces literary events at other venues, including TivoliVredenburg, Catharijneconvent and Tong Tong Fair, and works as a personal coach, presenter and interviewer under the banner of Transforming Stories. Finally, she publishes columns, articles and literary reviews with a focus on post- and decolonial Indische literature. In a recent interview about tearing down symbolic walls, she advocated building some walls, too, if these create much-needed safe havens.
Debora Heijne is an independent art educator, dance maker and teacher/developer in social-artistic work/learning at ArtEZ and Fontys art academies. In her career, art, education and enterprise are always interlinked. This has yielded countless projects, including work as the creative producer of hip-hop platform The Mansion in Nijmegen. Other recent work includes workshop and performance Tapis DeBora about illness and self-care, and the performance Funny Feeling created for dancers Helga Verheugd and Cathy Samé Lottin.
Adil Boughlala is an alumnus of the Bachelor of Arts and Culture Studies at Radboud University. He is currently a Research Master’s student in the Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies programme, specialising in Art and Visual Culture. After his Master’s, he aims to embark on an academic career. His main interests are fashion, film and new media, primarily in the context of gender and race issues, posthumanism and environmental humanities, and psychoanalysis.
Anna P.H. Geurts is an historian, teacher and writer at the Arts Faculty of the Radboud University. Geurts teaches courses such as City Culture, Gender and the Arts and Remaking Tourism, and publishes on everyday uses and experiences of space and time in interaction with changing technologies. They are the translator of Neel Doff’s autobiographical novel Keetje op straat and are under contract with Routledge for a non-fiction book about nineteenth-century travel.