Radical. Engaging. Diverse. Inspirational Events

No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960  – 1990


After the initial public opening on 10 July 2015, No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990, has played host to a series of inspirational events aimed at animating and enriching visitors’ experience of seeing the fine art and objects in the exhibition, featuring educational talks, workshops and gallery tours,  including curator’s talks.

This autumn No Colour Bar plays hosts to a short series of radical talks as part of its touring exhibition. We are delighted to have helped inspire People Power: Black British Arts & Activism in Hackney 1960s – 2000s, a new exhibition, curated and developed by Hackney Museum. Join us to experience elements from the stunning No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960 – 1990 through two digital displays created by artist Dr. Michael McMillan and Gary Stewart (Dubmorphology) the No Colour Bar digital exhibition co-curators. Rediscover key narrative materials from the Huntley Archives at London Metropolitan Archives alongside new digital visuals reproduced from the recent stunning art and archive exhibition held at the Guildhall Art Gallery. The digital installation of the No Colour Bar exhibition is available to go tour in 2017.

No Colour Bar: programme of public events

Publishing & Literary Archives: Cutting through White Noise
Iconic Black literary activists in conversation with Shani Crawford – BOOK TICKETS ONLINE

Thursday 13 October 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm
Black Cultural Archives

Key figures in political activism in Guyana and in the UK, pioneering husband and wife Eric and Jessica Huntley led the rise of the independent bookshop and Black publishers by founding the famous Bogle L’Ouverture Publishing company. The Huntleys’ campaigns of resistance, anti-racist socio-political interventions and their fiercely determined support for new Black talent and writing changed the post-migration literary world forever. Recently featured in the stunning art and archive exhibitionNo Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action —1960-1990, Eric Huntley chooses several iconic book covers that helped to articulate and represent Black Britain, sharing personal insights into the struggles, activism, and how these emblematic books cut through to shape voice and forge a Black identity. Joining the panel conversation: Dr Margaret Andrews, author of the successful Doing Nothing is Not an Option: The Radical Lives of Jessica and Eric HuntleyMargaret Busby OBE publisher, editor, writer and broadcaster based in the UK. Britain’s youngest and first black woman book publisher in the 1960s; Donald Hinds, writer (Mother Country) journalist (Journey to an Illusion: The West Indian in Britain), historian and teacher.


Connecting Black Archives & Black Bookshops Free to attend. BOOK TICKETS in advance online
Dr Michael McMillan
Saturday 5 November 2.30 pm to 3.45 pm
Hackney Museum

Artist and Curator Dr Michael McMillan explores the rise of the independent radical bookshops and Black publishers at the time of great cultural change through the campaigns of resistance, anti-racist socio-political interventions. Join him to hear his fascinating talk about his No Colour Bar digital installation featuring archives through Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, Walter Rodney Bookshop and Centerprise.


Vision, Voice & Power – Black Women Artists in Britain BOOK TICKETS ONLINE
Thursday 10 November from 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Black Cultural Archives

Black women artists in Britain have played a significant role in the vitality of contemporary British art, yet how many of us can say that we have seen their work or engaged with their visions? Makeda Coaston, exhibition co-curator for No Colour Bar: Black British Arts in Action 1960-1990, will facilitate an interactive evening featuring a presentation by artist and curator Marlene Smith. Narrating the struggles for visibility and resilience, Smith will discuss key works by Black women artists from the 1980’s to present times, highlighting artistic work and themes that continue to provoke, challenge, and uplift womanist dialogues. Special guest artist, Claudette Johnson, will share perspectives and insights from her journey as an artist.

Marlene Smith was a founder member of the pioneering 1980’s BLK Art Group and founding Director for ‘The Public’ arts centre in West Bromwich. She is currently a researcher for the Black Artists and Modernism Research Project and a PhD candidate at University of the Arts, London.

Claudette Johnson was an active member of the BLK Art Group. Her work was featured in a series of important exhibitions, curated by Lubaina Himid, that propelled the visibility of Black British women artists in the 1980’s. Her talk at the First National Black Arts Conference in 1982 is recognised as a formative moment in the Black feminist art movement in the UK.