Visual Representations and Cultural (Re)Constructions of Black British Masculinities in 21st Century Birmingham

Sergeant, Ian Lloyd (2022) Visual Representations and Cultural (Re)Constructions of Black British Masculinities in 21st Century Birmingham. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Ian Lloyd Sergeant PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Nov 2021_Final Award Jun 2022.pdf - Accepted Version

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“Visual Representations” locates Birmingham and the West Midlands as places of cultural significance within contested histories of migration and settlement of African Caribbean people. This practice-based research uses an original, interdisciplinary methodological approach of “cut & mix” to produce new knowledge and insights into the contemporary conjuncture and the pathologisation of Black British men in Birmingham and their communities.

“Visual Representations” draws on the tumultuous histories of the 1970s and 1980s, a period of critical reckoning regarding the economic, cultural and political of Blackness in the UK, which saw the emergence of the counter-cultural practices of the West Midlands collective the Blk Art Group (1979-1984). The research questions, to what extent is the Blk Art Group’s art useful in framing constructs of contemporary Black male identities?

In response to the continued silencing of Black British men, methods of socially engaged arts practice and autoethnography centre the voices and experiences of Black British men, as a means of empowerment and critical reflection, in post-Thatcherite neoliberal Birmingham. Their lived experiences, as primary data interpreted through conjunctural and intersectional cultural theory, highlight “what is at stake”, due to the hegemony of Westernised epistemologies and pathologies of race, place, gender, identities and sexualities. Hence, how are masculinities defined and understood by Black males, and how do Black males construct their masculine identities?

A further outcome of this practice-based research is Cut & Mix the exhibition, to address the research questions: how does popular culture influence these masculine identities, and how are these identities negotiated in their communities? Here, identities are deconstructed and reappraised through newly commissioned and archival artworks by Black male, female and queer artists. The urgency of discourses of representation, warrants public engagement, indicating the intended impact of this thesis through its dissemination in communities and institutions of Birmingham, the Midlands, and further afield.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
November 2021Submitted
June 2022Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black British Masculinities, Birmingham, Blk Art Group, Cut & Mix, Practice-based research, Socially Engaged Arts Practice, Autoethnography, Intersectionality
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > School of Visual Communication
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2022 15:12
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2022 15:12

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