My Writing Practice explores
how story can be used to inform, educate & entertain

Fashioning African Diaspora Masculinities


Fashioning African Diaspora Masculinities, maps a 250-year history of African Diasporas male self-fashioning from the relative undress of plantation enslavement to the influence of Afro-Futurism in 5 objects. Each chapter takes an object as catalyst to consider key contextual moments, such as enslavement, freedom, migration, independence and the beyond.

Althea McNish: Fabricating Modernism

FORTHCOMING – Black Artists and Modernism – Sonia Boyce and David Dibosa (eds.)
Althea McNish: Fabricating Modernism re-situates McNish’s work into the context of the Independent Group’s oeuvre, Hull Traders’ prioritisation of Modernist art and design in everyday life, and the Caribbean Artists Movement. She inhabited these artistic communities, yet her presence within them, her contribution to them and to the history of post-World War 2 British textile design has been gradually erased. This article aims to address this erasure.


Africa Fashion Hardcover


Africa Fashion discusses how radical post-independence social and political re-ordering sparked a cultural renaissance across the continent that laid the foundations of today’s fashion revolution. The contemporary African fashion scene is as diverse and dynamic as the continent itself, and crucially always has been. This book offers a window into one of the most innovative, exciting and thoughtful areas of fashion today.


Cut & Mix: Collage, Creolisation and African Diaspora Aesthetics

2020 – Mobilities Issue 09, Venka Purushothaman (ed.)
Cut & Mix: Collage, Creolisation and African Diaspora Aesthetics examines Fragments, a series of rediscovered collages created by the Black British photographer Vanley Burke. It suggests that the materiality, process and thematic of Fragments, provides a clue to the emergence of strategic combinatorial aesthetics amongst the African Diaspora artists at the heart of the 1980s Black British Art Movement.


Re-Fashioning African Diasporic Masculinities

2019 – Fashion and Postcolonial Critique, Elke Gaugele and Monica Titton (eds.)
(Re)-fashioning African Diasporic Masculinities is rooted in the study of the relationship between race, culture and dress. This chapter aims to identify the cultural imperatives that shape the creolized mode of dress favoured by certain African Diasporic men, and to outline the ‘carnivalised’ approach that characterizes my work.


Spinning a Yarn of One’s Own

2022 – A Companion to Textile Cultures – Jennifer Harris (ed.) WileyBlackwell Publications

Spinning a Yarn of One’s Own considers translations of Englishness in Jamaica and Jamaican-ness in England by piecing together histories of creolised African-Caribbean people here and there. Through fragments of text and textiles inspired by Sonia Boyce’s “Big Women’s Talk”, Vanley Burke’s “Rivers of Birminam” and Kei Miller’s “The Same Earth”, this article explores the idea of other cultures translating culture, the idea of mapping history through textiles and the idea of crafting difference.


Aesthetics of Blackness? Cloth, Culture and the African Diasporas

2018 – Guest editor of a special issue of Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture

Setting cloth into the wider context of creolized visual and material culture, Aesthetics of Blackness? a special issue of Textile, considers the relationship between cloth, culture and race from the perspective of the African diasporas across the Caribbean, the United States, West Africa, South Africa and Britain. Taking a cut-and-mix approach that mirrors the bits-and-piecesness of creolized African diasporic cultural expressions, the content includes conversations, reminiscences, photo-essays and scholarly articles.


At Home with Vanley Burke

2017 – Image & Text, Leora Farber (ed.)

This article reflects on the exhibition At Home with Vanley Burke (2015, Ikon, Birmingham). Three objects from Burke’s archive – a Pitchy-Patchy Jamaican Jonkonnu Carnival costume, an old-fashioned wooden school desk and a photograph of a boy with a Union Jack flag – are used as catalysts to explore the relationship between personal/private/intimate and public/collective cultural histories, remembering, memory and material culture. Burke’s archive is shown to be a site of memory and source of individual and collective knowledge.


Stylin’ the Great Masculine Enunciation and the (Re)-fashioning of African Diasporic Identities

2017 – Critical Arts, Volume 31, Number 3 – Leora Farber (ed.)

Stylin’: the Great Masculine Enunciation explores the creolised aesthetic that shapes the stylin’ adopted by African Diasporic men in the Caribbean. The notion of stylin’ as a creolised non-verbal Nation Language is suggested – the (re)-fashioning of the body facilitates the reconfiguration of diasporic identities in constant flux as a result of geographical, psychological and social border crossings.


Althea McNish and the British African Diaspora

2017 – British Pop Art and Design – Anne Massey and Alex Seaga (eds.)
Artist Althea McNish’s contribution both to the field of textile design in Britain and to British culture itself is unmatched. Amongst the first, if not the first designer of African-Caribbean descent to achieve international recognition, McNish injected much-needed colour and life into the post-War fashion and textiles industry from the 1950s onwards.


Lubaina Himid: Artist, Activist, Collaborator

2017 – Cut Cloth: Contemporary Textiles and Feminisms – Sarah-Joy Ford (ed.)

A conversation with artist Lubaina Himid during which she reflects on the women that shaped her early years, the under-represented women artists that inspired exhibitions such as Five Black Women (Africa Centre, 1983) and Invisible Strategies (Modern Art Oxford, 2017).


Migrations, Huddersfield Art Gallery, West Yorkshire

2017 – ROTOR Review
A review of Migrations, the international touring exhibition curated by Jessica Hemmings, took as its departure point the notion that multiple stories of cross-cultural exchange and post-colonial entanglements are embedded in textiles’ folds, patterns and textures.

Sound and Vision: Christine Checinska wonders how Nick Cave’s Soundsuits take shape

2015 – Selvedge Issue 65
An excerpt from an article drawing on conversations with artist Nick Cave, first published in Jessica Hemmings’ book Cultural Threads: Transnational Textiles Today.


Social Fabric

2015 – Co-authored with Grant Watson in The Handbook of Textile Culture – Janis Jefferies, Hazel Clark and Diana Wood Conroy (eds.)

Social Fabric: Textiles, Art, Society and Politics presents the Iniva Social Fabric exhibition, (2012), from its inception in key Marx texts, to its realization, the expansion of the two key artists Alice Creischer and Sudhir Patwardhan’s works through the accompanying archives, and the staging of the conference as a means of opening up further opportunities for dialogue.


Crafting Difference: Art, Cloth and the African Diasporas

2015 – Cultural Threads: Transnational Textiles Today – Jessica Hemmings (ed.), 2015

Crafting Difference: Art, Cloth &the African Diasporas explores the relationship between postcolonial life-writing, fractured diasporic narratives and stitching. Considering stich in the gallery and the domestic space, this chapter suggests that stitching, or working by hand, is both a means of thinking about oneself and one’s place in the world, and a means of thinking at a conceptual level beyond oneself.


Sonia Boyce “Scat: Sound and Collaboration”, Iniva London

2014 – Exhibition review in Visual Culture in Britain, Taylor and Francis
A review of Sonia Boyce’s 2013 Iniva exhibition Scat: Sound and Collaboration. Scat brought together two video installations: For You, Only You (2007), Oh Adelaide (2010) and the artist’s archive, the Devotional Collection, which comprises of an array of memorabilia around Black British women in music.

Second Skins: Cloth, Difference and the Art of Transformation

2014 – Image and Text, Leora Farber and Anne-Marie Tully (eds.)

Second Skins: Cloth, Difference & the Art of Transformation takes the photographic portraits of Maud Sulter and Chan-Hyo Bae as a starting point to explore the place of cloth in the refashioning of cultural, racial and gendered identities, and the use of cloth as a vehicle with which to challenge structures of power that render certain peoples, their histories and their cultural expressions invisible. Staged at the Ben Uri Gallery, London, 2013, the exhibition Looking In juxtaposed the work of Sulter and Bae.


Crafting Difference

2013 – Engage: Critical Crafts special issue Karen Raney (ed.)
Crafting Difference asks what is the place of textiles within the global flow of identities, ideas and objects that map our contemporary cross-cultural entanglements? And how might gallery education use textile crafts as a critical tool to explore diasporic histories of movement and migration, and concepts such as difference, postcoloniality, hybridity and globalisation?


Every Mickle Mek a Mockle: Reconfiguring Diasporic Identities

2012 – Beyond Borders, John Hutnyk (ed.)

Every Mickle Mek a Mockle: Reconfiguring Diasporic Identities examines the fashioning of African and African diaspora masculinities in three historical periods: the arrival of the Empire Windrush or the moment when the Empire came “home”, the spectacle of the Haitian Revolution leaders clad in the ornate dress uniforms of the Ancient Regime, visually challenging the equation of Africans with nakedness, and nakedness with the uncivilized or indeed with a lack of history and culture, and lastly the phenomenon of the Gentlemen of Bacongo, members of the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People, who adopt the dress styles of their former colonial masters.


Re-fashioning Identities

2006 – I am Black, I am White, I am Yellow, Joan Anim-Addo (ed.), Mango Publishing
Re-Fashioning Identities investigates the role of dress in the re-creation of self, a theme central to African diasporic experiences, and the negotiation of geographical, cultural, social and racial borders. Our history begins with the enforced movement of the slave trade, and has continued with subsequent waves of voluntary migration both inside the Caribbean and to the metropolis. Dress in this context is seen as a tool of transformation and reinvention, with the power to both reveal and conceal.


Consuming Colonisation: excavatin’ escoveitched fish

2006 – Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Volume 28, Issue 2 – Anne Collett (ed.), University of Wollongong

Based on interviews with my family, this article investigates the relationship between food, culture, memory and the negotiation of physical and metaphorical borders central to the African diaspora experience. Just as its spoken and written word is creole in character, Jamaican cuisine is an amalgam of African, Arawak Indian, Spanish and English colonial inspirations.


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