Music, Movement, Power: Blackness and Sonic Resistance

Thu 19 April, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Venue: Martin Hall Theatre, Loughborough University



With Evan Ifekoya, Xana, Majd Alsaif, Richard Bramwell and James Esson.

There are a myriad of forces at work that prevent, enable and force movement. Borders prevent freedom of movement between states. Police and private security regulate movement through social space. Social housing tenants are forcibly relocated as areas are gentrified. Such issues disproportionately affect black people. Yet being made to move is not always a negative phenomenon; and a number of black musicians and artists have explored the role that music can play in creating times and spaces of collective empowerment to subvert, resist and overcome these power structures.

Through live performance and discussion, this event will explore the relationships between blackness, music, and the (in)ability to move. What is the relationship between grime and social housing? What does it mean when songs can cross borders but people can’t? How might music work within, against, and beyond a world in which free movement is denied to so many?

A panel conversation will feature all participants and the audience. Evan Ifekoya and Xana will also be performing:

Evan Ifekoya - This Catalogue of Poses, Scenario One: At the Ice Box
A radio play exploring the daily lives of four figures in a photograph, some of whom are more alive than others. Beginning at a spectral house club night in London, the characters dialogue as if inhabiting the past, present and future simultaneously. Drawing on the emotional charge of music, the work evokes image through textures of sound, fragments of conversation, reflections and memories.

Xana - Movement in Minus
a sonic loop exploration into the frequencies of pirate radio and how it is used to instil longevity within black and poc communities.


EVAN IFEKOYA investigates the possibility of an erotic and poetic occupation using film, performative writing and sound, focused on co- authored, intimate forms of knowledge production and the radical potential of spectacle. Their ongoing project ‘A Score, A Groove, A Phantom’ explores archives of blackness, sociality and inheritance as they diffract through queer nightlife and trauma in the present moment. Most recently their work has been propelled by exploring the relationship between a Buddhist practice, speculative fiction, and the echo as affective encounter. Ifekoya’s recent work has been presented at: Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire; New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2017); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; Serpentine Galleries, London; and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town (2016). Recent performances have taken place at ICA, London and KW institute, Berlin (2017) and Jerwood Space, London and Whitstable Biennial (2016). Ifekoya was an Art Foundation Fellow in Live Art for 2017. 

XANA is a live loop musician, sound designer, composer and poet - often working collaboratively with other artists, researchers, theatre practitioners and filmmakers. In particular Xana is passionate about working with young people, devising creative workshops, encouraging the engagement of others with music, and broadcast technology. They are an organiser of Afrotech Festival; a recipient of Spitalfields Music Open Call funding award; and an artist in residence at Tate Modern and Tate Britain, where they devise workshops for young people. Xana’s interests include archives as places of active memory and future building; sound in architecture; data and its impact on local communities and stories around transhumanism. 

JAMES ESSON is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Loughborough University. His research is broadly located within the field of development geography, and contributes to debates in geography and the wider social sciences by examining development processes in relation to three areas: 1) Unconventional approaches to development 2) International Migration 3) Urban Dynamics. He is Co-Chair of Loughborough University’s BME Staff Network and heads the RGS-IBF RACE Working Group’s Learning and Teaching subcommittee. 

RICHARD BRAMWELL is a Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University. His current research explores the performance of alternative identities through rap; examining the role that hip hop and grime play in a variety of institutional contexts. These include prisons, youth centres, and an arts charity. He is interested in the impact that rap has had on organisations wholly or partially funded by local or national government; the role that the state plays in fostering Britain's rap cultures through these organisations; and how young people perform their identities and represent their communities through rap. 

MAJD ALSAIF is a BSc Media, Culture and Society student at Loughborough University. She is on the committee of Loughborough University’s Ethnic Minorities Network, has been involved with a number of musical events in Loughborough, and is interested in issues around race, gender and social justice. She is working with Evan on a broader project for Radar


The event forms part of (re)composition, Radar’s commissioning programme for 2017/18. Traversing geographies real and imagined, this explores how music makes place and places make music. Featuring contributions from artists, musicians, researchers, and members of Loughborough’s music communities, (re)composition consists of a lively programme of artists’ commissions, performances, compositions, workshops, film screenings and public discussions. Commissioned artists are Sam Belinfante, Evan Ifekoya, Rebecca Lee and Xana. 


Radar is Loughborough University’s contemporary arts organisation, which commissions contemporary art projects that work with, contribute to and draw from research undertaken across Loughborough University’s two campuses.

Image: Evan Ifekoya, A Score, A Groove, a Phantom, Performance Whitstable Biennale 2016, photo by Bernard G Mills


Loughborough University Arts

Martin Hall Building

Loughborough University

Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK

01509 222 948

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