The magazine/ collective continues to put on the best inclusive programming in London, so we caught up with them to talk about their most recent film inspired venture
Watching a group of black women cavort through the grand halls of the V&A adorned with gold hooped earrings and denim embellished with Missy Elliot’s face felt like a huge moment, and it was. Taking over a space that is usually quiet and white and starting a party to celebrate the works of musicians, artists, designers, film who belong to diasporic communities allowed young people to come together and celebrate being “other” in a mainstream space.
gal-dem’s V&A Friday Late event solidified their reputation as the hottest female collective – selling out of their first print mag and putting on one of the busiest Friday events at the institution ever. “It was obviously a very big moment for us, for colour, for the museum, for a lot of different things,” explains Liv Little, gal-dem’s editor-in-chief. Adding that her motivation for each event is to push boundaries and bring together a variety of people to provide something different every time.
Whereas last time the focus was increasing the knowledge of those who attended, this time the events are focussed on ensuring people come away with new skills. Curated by Little and Varaidzo (arts and culture editor), the programming is consistent with the collective’s dogma. Inspired by her own experience working in television, Little wants to make the industry more accessible to minorities and hopes this event can provide a helping hand.
“I work in TV and it’s so white. My development exec was saying how I’m the first black person she has ever worked with and she has been in the industry for over 15 years,” she explains. “And it’s so important because things that have the ability to reach lots of different people are really powerful. It’s important that people like us are entering these spaces and pushing narratives contrary to the dominant ideas of what we should be and what we should be doing.”
With two days of activities, talks and workshops and a change of location, we’ve rounded up the things you should look out for this weekend and what you can get up to:
TURN UP FOR THE TURN UP
As always the event will be soundtracked by the best up-and-coming artists and DJs. With a selection of grime, garage and house, visitors can dance to the sounds of Radar Radio’s Shy One, 90s R&B inspired Ojerime and the Born n Bread girls.
LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT CULTURES
“As a platform that represents women of colour, it’s really important to make sure we’re representing lots of different cultural groups within that,” says Little. And with an Anime Sketch techniques class, you can help create new anime characters using the conventional styles that represent you. Or you can delve into the world of Bollywood, decoding female sexuality in South Asian films or even take a Bollywood dance workshop. RIOTGAL Sophia Tassew will also talk you through how she manipulates the graphic language of documentaries to reimagine grime albums as Hollywood blockbuster posters. Then you can let Crack Stevens feed your current Moonlight obsession by watching his collection of short films that question what masculinity looks like. The BBZ crew will also be providing a night of Caribbean cinema.
“It’s important that people like us are entering these spaces and pushing narratives contrary to the dominant ideas of what we should be and what we should be doing” – Liv Little
GET CREATIVE AND PICK UP SKILLS FOR FREE
Aside from coming away as a great dancer and sketch artist, you can join in making an interactive movie timeline of overlooked legends from the big screen to challenge #OscarsSoWhite or immerse yourself in a multi-player break-up themed game. If you’re interested in creating an idea for your own web series, the girls from Sorta Kinda Maybe Yeah will kick off your Saturday with a practical workshop. Dazed contributor Jade Jackman’s DIY Film Workshop will give you the practical skills to shoot your ideas. Finally, meet the gal-dem team to quiz them about how to sustain a successful online collective. As Little admits that it can be difficult to break into avenues that allow you to gain new skills. “If we have the knowledge to do things like create a film on your phone that is breaking down one barrier for someone”.
Buy tickets via Stratford Picturehouse box office for a screening of the film with a panel discussion with Dionne Edwards, Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor and artist Alexander Ikhide, chaired by Emma Dabiri. Make sure you visit the cafe afterwards for spoken word performances, which explore the complexities of queer blackness by Travis Alabanza, IcyKal and Laayie.
Friday Late is free and takes place 24 February 18:30-22:00, and 25 February 11:00-16:00 at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Stratford Picturehouse and Gerry’s Kitchen