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2nd November, 2022

Black History 365: Public Lecture Series – Why Are Period Dramas So White?


Event Details

2nd November, 2022
18:00 - 19:30

Learning Skills is delighted to host the first public lecture of 2022/23, inviting artist-public historian Tré Ventour-Griffiths. Our Black History 365 public lecture series holds a particular focus on providing platforms and amplifying the counter narratives.

Why do you like period dramas? is the question Tré receives as a Black viewer of British historical programmes. Growing up, living, and working in the Home Counties, he ponders the number of contemporary-set dramas about Black British life that predominantly centre British cities, while period dramas more strangely represent his experiences of provincial Britain in the Town and Country.

Speaking from this positionality, Tré takes us on a journey showing how British history is more “melaninated” than our cinema and television screens might suggest. There is a further story of Black people in provincial Britain (Carby, 2019; Robinson and Pitts, 2022) showing that Black creatives should not only be auditioning for roles in these dramas, but have every right to make them as well, as Black people were part of some of the most pivotal moments in British history.

Positioned outside of Britain’s major cities, Tré shows the stories we tell matter – since the term “historical accuracy” in period drama discourse has often been used euphemistically to mean those racialised as white, at the racist and historically inaccurate expense of those racialised not white.

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