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The First Annual Maud Sulter Lecture: Jackie Kay

The First Annual Maud Sulter Lecture: Jackie Kay
3pm Thursday 20th June 2024
Reid Lecture Theatre, Glasgow School of Art
Free but ticketed - Book 

The Maud Sulter Lecture aims to amplify the legacy of artist Maud Sulter, her roots in Scotland, and the internationalism of her practice as an artist, photographer, writer, poet, curator, and organiser. From the mid-1980s until she died in 2008, Maud strove to place Black women at the centre of an art history that had excluded them. She also challenged Western art, denouncing the erasure faced by the African diaspora. This inaugural event will be delivered by Scottish poet, playwright, novelist, and former Makar/poet laureate of Scotland, Jackie Kay – who will discuss Maud’s artwork, her relationship to Scotland and Ghana (and Africa more widely), her identity, and way of bringing the past into the present artistically. 

As a special tribute, Jackie will read her long poem A Life in Protest, a poem written in response to Jackie visiting Ingrid Pollard’s exhibition at Glasgow Women’s Library in 2021 which appears in her new book, May Day. Maud has a long association with Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow Women’s Library and Glasgow School of Art (and other Scottish institutions), alongside being re-appraised by a new generation of younger artists and creatives. Today, this aligns with an increased and overdue presence of Black artists making art in Scotland.

Jackie Kay (CBE, Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature) is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist. She was born in Edinburgh, in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She was adopted by a white couple at birth and was brought up in Glasgow, studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Stirling University where she read English. She is known for her works Other Lovers, Trumpet and Red Dust Road 1993, amongst others. She has won many awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award in 1994, the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998, and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award in 2011. From 2016 to 2021, Kay was the Makar, the poet laureate of Scotland. She was Chancellor of the University of Salford between 2015 and 2022.

Her new collection May Day, which was launched recently at Glasgow Women’s Library in April 2024 casts an eye over several decades of political activism, from the international solidarity of the Glasgow of Kay’s childhood, accompanying her parents’ Socialist campaigns, through the feminist, LGBT+ and anti-racist movements of the 80s and 90s, up to the present day when a global pandemic intersects with the urgency of Black Lives Matter.

Presented by Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow Women's Library, and Glasgow School of Art and supported by Glasgow International with funds from the Scottish Government’s Festivals EXPO Fund

Venue: Glasgow School of Art, Reid Lecture Theatre, 167 Renfrew Street, G3 6RQ

Banner Image:  Maud Sulter and Jackie Kay, courtesy Jackie Kay and Glasgow Women’s Library. Photographed by Elsie Sulter, date currently unknown.
Left Image: 
Jackie Kay by Mary McCartney, courtesy Wylie Agency

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