A collective blog post by the CRTc East Atlantic Community
On 30th October 2023 at the Blue Anchor pub by the river Thames in Hammersmith, West London, the CRTc East Atlantic Community was thrilled to bring members of the collective and wider community groups together in their first in-person event, the Resistant Knowledges Gathering. Scheduled to coincide with the nearby 2023 Association for Information Science & Technology conference, this event aimed to provide a focal point for East Atlantic community organising as well as an opportunity to spark international conversation and collaboration. The intimate setting of the Blue Anchor function room was well-suited to the community energy of the CRTc and the context of our current call for papers: Resistant Knowledges: unmasking coloniality through the re-search of local to global communities.
The Blue Anchor pub in Hammersmith, London. Established 1722.
Generously sponsored by IOS Press and Dominican University iSchool, the event provided a vibrant and affirming gathering point for over 40 diverse library and information scholars and professionals, academics, activists, students and community members. Together we enjoyed a delicious spread of food and drink provided by the excellent Blue Anchor caterers, and listened to a CRTc-curated playlist to set the tone for resistant knowledges in the community.
Some of the Resistant Knowledge Gathering attendee enjoying food and conversation.
The evening was introduced by CRTc Community Initiator and International Lead Dr Tony Dunbar, and East Atlantic Lead Dr Alice Corble, and headlined by two special guests: the dynamic partnership of Dr. Gabriella Beckles Raymond and Phillip Beckles Raymond, two London-based scholars and educators who have written and taught extensively on critical race and decolonial approaches to knowledge production. Gabriella is an independent interdisciplinary philosopher, writer, educator, wife, mother, sister, friend, basketball coach, and Co-CEO of EQBR. Phillip is a creative, anti-disciplinary economist and transgressive educator who practises the art of transforming society through the harnessing of creative energies.
Their engaging interactive presentation was entitled “Carnival, Liv Good and
Bell’s Rules of Racial Standing”. Drawing on their Caribbean and Black intersectional feminist traditions, Gabriella and Phillip’s approach centred on engaging community members sensorily and intellectually in what they termed as “an imaginative disembarkation from vessels of coloniality” that operate across higher education.
Phillip Beckles-Raymond and Gabriella Beckles-Raymond presenting their work to the group, sitting next to Phillip’s drum.
Phillip welcomed us into the space with drumming, collective stomping and the call of a whistle inviting us to share a collective experience of music through ritual. This provided a dynamic opportunity to enter into an anti-racist space and claim our place in these conversations. Our shoes pounded the floor with rhythms of resistant knowledges that disrupted the normalcy of whiteness on a chilly dark evening in a West London pub.
The start of Phillip and Gabriella’s presentation focused on ‘Rules of Racial Standing’, from CRT founding theorist Derrick Bell’s Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992). Our esteemed guest speakers invited us to break into groups to think through the ways in which these rules manifest in our everyday lives. This activity prompted many of us to think about our own anti-racist work and consider how these rules inform hope, resistance, and emancipatory tactics in the face of enduring white supremacy and coloniality.
Excerpt from Philip and Gabby’s slides, outlining Derrick Bell’s (1992) ‘Rules of Racial Standing.’
Example of notes from one workshop breakout activity, where participants responded to Bell’s fifth Rule of Racial Standing: Discernment has its price.
Following an engaging discussion on each group’s reflections on the rules they had been assigned, Phillip and Gabriella went on to present overviews of Carnival and Liv Good: two living praxes for resistance that embody the pursuit of intersectional justice as well as different kinds of futures.
Phillip brought the Rules of Racial Standing to life by drawing on the Trinidadian tradition of Carnival, reflecting on its diasporic re-rooting in British culture via the anti-colonial feminist praxis of Claudia Jones, who founded the Notting Hill Carnival in London.
Excerpt from Phillip Beckles-Raymond presentation on Carnival.
After outlining her philosophy of Liv Good, a living praxis for an intersectionality-just life (learn more about this here), Gabriella invited us in the second breakout group activity to discuss and re-imagine specific examples of ways in which we could enact this philosophy in practice. What might be some of the ways we could Liv Good together in non-exploitative and non-extractive ways? One group responded with ‘Tek time’: a slow way of living in response to a Liv good praxis. “In our re-imagined futures, we want to ‘Tek time’ for joy, care, and to nourish ourselves and others.”
Excerpt from Gabriella Beckles-Raymond’s presentation on ‘Live Good – The Intersectionally-just Good Life’.
Our concluding discussion gave us space to share how we can continue to draw on resistant knowledges and carnival communities in order to Liv Good. Testimonies at the close of the event from some community members highlighted that the very act of gathering together in the way we did for this occasion was already an example of collectively doing just this. One member articulated how the event had given him renewed hope at what can often feel like a politically hopeless time, while another, who works as a holistic therapist, shared how the way in which we had come together was a form of healing. This was echoed by another, who reflected how the CRTc event resonated with recent events run by Healing Justice London: a community organisation building collective approaches to surviving state and systemic oppression through radical and holistic health and healing praxes.
There was a strong appetite by many attendees for more events like the Resistant Knowledges Gathering – nourishing spaces to come together and hear each other in ways that overcome what one member described as “the loneliness of being the only one in the room” with an expectation to perform racialised norms and rules. The power of collectivity and intersectionality-just forms of gathering together was likened to a form of medicine. One idea for future events could be to apply Beckles-Raymond’s Liv Good praxis to specific themes in the health and wellbeing sector, addressing systemic racialised health inequalities through radical and collective care.
We’d love to hear your thoughts for collaborations and future event ideas. Meanwhile, enjoy our CRTc playlist which formed the soundtrack to the beginning and end of our event. Please also check out our CRTc website and feel free to review the Resistant Knowledges Call for Papers and consider submitting your work for review/publication. You can follow the collective on social media: Twitter (X), Instagram as well as on LinkedIn.
Summaries of the workshop design and images of presentation slides are the intellectual property of Phillip and Gabriella Beckles-Raymond, with there permission to re-use by the CRTc for this blog post.
The CRTc would like offer our utmost appreciation to our sponsors and host:
- The College of Applied Social Science @ Dominican University (US)
- The School of Information Studies @ Dominican University (US)
- IOS Press, Publisher’s of Education for Information (Amsterdam)
- The Blue Anchor Pub (Hammersmith/UK)
Beckles-Raymond, Gabriella. ‘“Liv Good”: The Intersectionally Just Good Life, an African/Caribbean Perspective’. The Post-Windrush Generation: Black British Voices of Resistance, 15 Mar. 2022, https://post-windrush.crassh.cam.ac.uk/2022/03/15/liv-good/index.html
Bell, Derrick. Faces at the Bottom of the Well : The Permanence of Racism. New York, NY, BasicBooks, 1992.
Frazer-Carroll, Micha. ‘Black History Legacies: Claudia Jones’. Runnymede Trust, 30 Oct. 2020, https://www.runnymedetrust.org//blog/black-history-legacies-claudia-jones.