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Supporting non-fiction storytellers

Celebrating the art of non-fiction, London's Open City Documentary Festival nurtures and champions the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers.
from Open City Documentary Festival on Aug 9, 2019.

Bringing back Namibia’s stolen moments

A delightful exhibition, 'Stolen Moments: Namibian Music History Untold', originated with the discovery of a pop record in a public broadcaster’s collection “which raised questions but not much information”.
from Daniel Nelson on Aug 11, 2019.

Recommended event


Covered by OneWorld


From the editor




London Mayor Sadiq Khan has endorsed proposals for a British slavery museum in London as a way of combating modern-day racism. The idea has been put forward by the Fabian Society, which says it could help address discrimination against London’s black and minority ethnic population by challenging centuries-old tropes about racial inferiority.  Full story. 


* Two big film events coming up: The Open City Documentary Festival ("the art of non-fiction") opens on 4 September, and the London Film Festival follows on  2 October.


* Theatres are being urged to employ more British actors from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, rather than “unthinkingly making requests for [non-European] based performers at great expense”. Full story: The Stage. Also from The Stage: Hampstead Theatre has defended the casting of an American East Asian in its forthcoming production of The King of Hell’s Palace, claiming she was cast “because of her intimate relationship with the play”.

Earlier, British East Asians in Theatre and Screen – an advocacy group that campaigns for equality for British East Asians in theatre, film and television – said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision to cast Celeste Den, claiming it deprived UK-based East Asian actors a chance to appear in the play.


* Stratford East has unveiled an interesting international programme for later this year:

+ Our Lady of Kibeho (from 25 September): in 1981 at Kibeho College in Rwanda, a young girl claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary who warned her of the unimaginable - Rwanda becoming hell on earth. She was ignored by her friends and scolded by her school but then another student saw the vision, and another, and the impossible appeared to be true.

+ The Gift (from 29 January 2020): outrageous comedy drama about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation and drinking tea, set in Brighton in 1852 and a Cheshire village today, where a black middle-class woman, her husband and small child. They are paid a visit by well-meaning neighbours who have something to confess…  

+ Welcome to Iran (from 18 April 2020): Ava is a 20-something Londoner, who following the death of her estranged father, journeys to Iran in search of his past and her extended family to explore the rich culture and thriving art scene 

Sucker Punch: (from June 2020), Leon and Troy are best mates trying to figure out their place in the world amid mounting unemployment and simmering racial tensions. After finding solace in Charlie’s gym, they start forging their path into the ruthless world of professional boxing.Roy Williams’ bruising play examines what it was like to be a young black man in 1980s Britain and asks, how can you fight a system that’s desperate to see you fail?


Daniel Nelson


Tw: @EventsNelson










Thursday 22 August

* An evening with Jason Reynolds hosted by Alex Reynolds, 6-8.30pm, Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, SW2. Info: 3757 8500/


Friday 23 August

* Remembrance Day: Bill Richmond - Britain's Forgotten Pugilist, 7-8pm, free, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Lane, WC2. Info: 7306 0055


Wednesday 28 August

* The Nowhere Man, Emma Garman on a book first published in 1972 that depicts a London convulsed by fear and bitterness, 6:30pm, Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, W1. Info: 74932019/


Thursday 29 August

* A Literary Talk with author Kim Kyung-Uk, including excerpts from God Has No Grandchildren and Spray, 7-9pm, Korean Cultural Centre, Grand Buildings, 1 - 3 Strand, WC2. Info: 7004 2600

* An Evening With Salman Rushdie, Salman Rushdie and Razia Iqbal, 7pm,  £31/ £43 inc book/ £16, The Light, Friends House, NW1. Info: Intelligence Squared


Friday 30 August

* Vigil at the Saudi Arabian Embassy, monthly event in solidarity with writers, journalists and activists at risk and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, 1pm, Curzon Street embassy entrance. Info:










Not Just A Refugee, Adiam Yemane photos of newcomers who entered the UK as asylum-seekers or refugees, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1, until 31 August. Info: 7405 1818


Stolen Moments: Namibian Music History Untold, Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, WC1, until 21 September. Info: 7637 2388 

+  Bringing back Namibia's stolen moments.

+ 20 September,  Finissage, closing event


* Urban Impulses: Latin American Photography From 1959 To 2016, the work of over 70 photographers, £5/2.50, The Photographers' Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, W1, until 16 October. Info: 7087 9300


Kaleidoscope: Immigration and Modern Britain, photographs, free, Somerset House, Strand, WC2, until 8 September. Info: 7845 4600/


* The British Library, Yinka Shonibare rebinds British books with print patterns that echo colonial trade, free, Tate Modern, SE1, until November. Info: 78887 8888 


* Mandela, "a revolutionary immersive experience", £15/£13.50, 26 Leake Street Gallery, SE1. Info:


Resilience Exile Mutation, DemaOne paints his family’s journey from Morocco to Belgium and their life in Brussels, free, P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, NW1, until  24 August.  Info: 7121 6190/

23 AugustGallery talk: Intersectionality and Internal Exile - Art, Identity and Acceptance, 7-8.30pm; 
Calligraffiti Mural Painting 1-3.30pm


Migration Museum at The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, SE1. Info:


Transitions: Seen Unseen, touring exhibition showcasing the stories of people and communities who have been changed by the experience of migration and travel, free, Applecart Arts, 170 Harold Road, E13, until 31 August. Info:


* Frank Bowling retrospective, the Guyana-born artist's first major retrospective, Tate Britain, Millbank, SE1, until 26 August.  Info: Exhibition


* Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I will Be Reborn, paintings by the Venezuelan artist, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, until 20 October. Info: 7402 6075


Liz Johnson Artur: If You Know the Beginning, the End Is No Trouble, free, South London Gallery, SE5, until 1 September. Info: 7703 6120


  * Windrush: Looking Back, Moving Forward, raises questions about Britishness, citizenship and identity, £3, Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, SW2, until 14 September. Info: 3757 8500/


Culture Under Attack, season of three free exhibitions, live music, performances and talks that explore how war threatens not just people’s lives, but also the things that help define us. It shows how some try to erase or exploit culture, while others risk everything to protect, celebrate and rebuild it, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, SE1, until 5 January. Info: 74165000

+ Rebel Sounds: Songhoy Blues.

+ 7 September, Culture under Attack Symposium, Lemn Sisay, Lindsey Hilsum, Ariel Caine, including creening of documentary The Destruction of Memory , 9.30am-6pm, £30/£20


Swarm: Artists Respond to the Pollinatior Crisis, free, Vestry House Museum, Vestry Road, E17, until 26 January. Info: 8509 1917


Freedom and Friendship, group exhibition of work by students associated with the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants exploring voice, political expression and notions of home., ICA, 16 Carlton House Terrace, SW1, until 29 August. Info:  7930 3647 


* World Gallery, human creativity, imagination and adaptability in over 3,000 objects from the museum's internationally important anthropology collection, Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, SE23. Info: 8699 1872/ Horniman


* Cairo Streets, 19th century life in cairo through the V&A's collection, free, Victoria and Albert Museum, untill 25 April. Info:


Earth Photo, a shortlist of 50 photographs and four films that document the Earth on four themes - people, nature, place and changing forests, free, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7, until 22 August. Info: 7591 3000


* Rapid Response Collecting, tiny but fascinating exhibit of new acquisitions that ranges from a Ghanaian "power bank phone" to shoes that show Western designers' belated realisation that the pink colour 'nude' did not apply to all the world's population, free, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road

+ Burkinis and bullets at the V&A


London, Sugar & Slavery , permanent gallery at the Museum of Docklands, No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14. Info:


atmosphere: exploring climate science, free, Science Museum, South Kensington. Info: Museum


Atlantic Worlds, transatlantic slave trade gallery, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, SE1. Info: 8858 4422


from Tuesday 28 August

* Here Is Elsewherearound 50 works by the late South African photographer, Thabiso Sekgala,  free, Hayward gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1, until 6 October.  Info:  3879 9555/ /



*  The Malian group, Songhoy Blues (below right), are featured in the Rebel Sounds section of the Imperial War Museum's current exhibition, Culture Under Attack.

Songhoy Blues at Rough Trade









* Gazaportrait of Palestinian life that offers a chance to be immersed in the heart of Gaza, meeting a teacher, a student, and a barber, who share their dreams and daily predicaments with taxi driver Ahmed with surprising humour and candour, Curzon Bloomsbury, until 20 August


* Stones Have Laws, filmed in the former Dutch colony of Suriname,  the film explores a Maroon community’s powerful ties to the land, which are now endangered as industries threaten to devastate the region through deforestation and mining - it's a blend of filmmaking, poetry and theatre, ICA, The Mall, until 22 August.


* Blinded by the Lightpoignant comedy about a British teen struggling to reconcile his Pakistani roots with his British schoolboy experience and who feels nobody understands him, until he discovers Bruce Springsteen, Barbican, Cineworld Leicester Square, Cineworld Fulham Road, Curzon Aldgate, Islington Vue, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Victoria, Picturehouse Central, Brixton Ritzy.


Djon Africa, stars non-professional actor Miguel Moreira as a 25-year-old born in Portugal to Cape Verdean parents who journeys to Cape Verde in search of his father, ICA, The Mall, SW1.


In Search, a frank discussion with women who have experienced FGM/C, as the filmmaker considers reconstructive surgery, Curzon Bloomsbury, until 20 August.


* Stones Have Laws, explores how a Surinamese community dealt with colonialism, and how they see non-human forms such as stones as co-rulers of their space, Curzon Bloomsbury, until 22 August.


Wednesday 21 August

* Las Hijas de Nantu, documentary about the ancient traditions of female empowerment amongst the Awajún people of the Peruvian Amazon, 6pm, free, Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road), SE11. Info:  7840 2200/


Thursday 22 August

* How To Start a Revolution, documentary film about Nobel Peace Prize nominee and political theorist Gene Sharp, described as the world's foremost scholar on nonviolent revolution + director’s Q&A, 6.30pm,  £12.50/£10, Curzon Bloomsbury


from Friday 23 August

* Waiting for the Carnival, the Brazilian village of Toritama  is a microcosm of relentless capitalism. Each year more than 20 million pairs of jeans are produced in makeshift factories, with the locals working non-stop hours, proud to be the masters of their own time. During Carnival - the only leisure moment of the year - they transgress the logic of accumulation of goods, sell their belongings without regret and flee to the beaches in search of ephemeral happiness, urzon Bloomsbury, until  25 August.








* Barber Shop Chronicles, set in barber shops in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and UK, £15-£59.50,  Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1, until 24 August. Info:  0300 678 9222 


* Tree, a journey into South Africa's heart - "an electrifying new blend of drama, music and dance",  standing tickets £35 (the perfornance develops around the audience), Young Vic, 65 The Cut, SE1, until 24 August. Info: 7922 2922


* This Is Black, four plays by new Black writers explore identity, hate crime and family relationships with alternating double bills + exhibition of work by Amaal Mohamed, Sharon Adebisi and Taja Boodie responding to “What does it mean to be Black in the UK? Past, present and future”, The Bunker,  53a Southwark Street, SE1, until 25 August. Info: 7234 0486/


* Warheads, a 19-year-old British soldier returns from Afghanistan and finds that the harder he tries to act normal, the harder it gets to be normal, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, N4, until 7 September. Info: 7870 6876/


from Wednesday 21 August

* My One True Friend, in 1970s Rhodesia preparations are in hand for Lady L’s birthday party, but her children are there not for family loyalty or celebration, but to claim what they feel is rightly theirs. On another part of the estate, Kapenie and his grandson argue about loyalty. Kapenie is loyal to a family but not his own, and the generational divide is splitting even wider, £18/£15, The Actors Centre, 1a Tower Street, WC2, until 14 September. Info: 3841 6600/


Thursday 22-Saturday 24 August

 * British Born Chineseexplores what it really means to belong to two different cultures and the difficulties it creates. No matter how it seems, integration isn't always black and white, 8pm, £7/£5,  The Actors Centre, 1a Tower Street, WC2. Info: 3841 6600/


from Tuesday 27 August

* Black Men WalkingThomas, Matthew and Richard walk on the first Saturday of every month. Out in the Peaks, they find themselves forced to walk backwards through 2,000 years before they can move forwards, £15/£12, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, N15, until 31 August. Info: 8365 5450/


Saturday 31 August

* Azmari Bet,  music, comedy and drama in the recreation of a traditional club in the back streets of Addis Ababa, including an appearance by Lemn Sissay, 7pm, £12.50, Rich Mix,  35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1. Info: 7613 7498/


from Saturday 31 August

* Chiaroscuro, explores the experiences of women of colour across generations and celebrates the many intersections of female identity from the 1980s to now and how women chose to identify themselves, Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, London, W12, until 5 October.  Info: 8743 5050/








Monday 19 August 

* From Syria to Scotland: Our Lives,  7pm, BBC1

* Jerusalem, The Making of a Holy City, 11pm, BBC4

* Crossing Continents, 8.30pm, R4


Tuesday 20 August

* Jerusalem, The Making of a Holy City,  11pm, BBC4

* The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, in Colombia, 11.15pm, BBC2

* Beyond Today: What Happens to Shamina Begum Now?, 11.30pm, R4


Wednesday 21 August

* Sacred Wonders, a Nepalese stupa, 9pm, BBC1

Jerusalem, The Making of a Holy City,  11.45pm, BBC4


Thursday 22 August

* Crossing Continents, 11am, R4