Global Majority Takeover – reflections on the first sessions

BLACK* Artists on the Move, Theatre Bristol and Arts Council England set up the first Global Majority Takeover in January 2020. Here Akulah Agbami, BLACK* Artists on the Move, reflects on these initial sessions.

Last Friday was a big day for BLACK* Artists on the Move. Our raison d’etre is changing the landscape for BLACK* artists in the UK and access to funding is a major part of that.

So in partnership with Theatre Bristol, who vacated their office and handed over the keys, and Ruth Kapadia, who donated a day of her expertise and inside knowledge, the first Global Majority Takeover was born.

Photo by Cleo Lake

A total of 16 artists took part over the two 4-hour slots available. We had circus artists, playwrights, spoken word performers, hip hop artists, reggae musicians – so Theatre Bristol was literally bursting at the seams with talent, energy and creativity.

The common theme – which we knew before we started – was how little we settle for, as BLACK* artists. We scrimp and scrape and do amazing things on a shoestring, and feel too intimidated, too unworthy, or too incapable, to apply for the funding that is out there.

All of this is more evidence of how racism creeps under your skin, seeps into your brain cells and leaves you internalizing a sense of worthlessness.

Odd really. At each of the sessions, after we’d shared food, got to know each other, had an intense introduction to Arts Council funding applications, and explored other avenues of funding and the way we present ourselves generally, there was a moment of outpouring.

Artists shared poetry, play excerpts, song, spoken word, and we were together in this vortex, no longer TB’s office space, but this vast expanse of creative space to luxuriate in. To revel in. To be filled with wonder within.

Forget internalized racism. Forget the chronic undervaluing of our abilities. The time is now. We are an unstoppable band of creative people, a tornado of artistic prowess.

And Global Majority Takeovers are an important trampoline that sets us soaring…