A new London-based festival celebrates the legacies of Black British culture

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“It felt like a poignant opportunity to reflect on the contribution that Black people continue to make to British culture”

Wider conversations exploring the history of Black culture within Britain have developed greatly over the last year. The complex ways in which Black British people have influenced, created, and participated in the invention of British culture are innumerable, deeply embedded across the nation. Running the weekend of the 12-13 June at Lambeth Town Hall, the Power Of Festival will celebrate this history. 

The festival is organised by (Fashion) Minority Report, a team of change-makers working to further improve equality and diversity within the fashion industry. At the heart of the (Fashion) Minority Report and the Power Of Festival is Daniel Peters, a marketing specialist and advocate for marginalised voices. Encouraging and facilitating more Black photographers within the fashion industry is one of his main priorities, an ambition that can be felt throughout the festival. 

© Oliva Lifungula.

“I wanted to create tangible opportunities for people to connect and celebrate everyday change-makers – the people who are really driving diversity and inclusion with their medium,” he explains. When Lambeth Town hall, a space heavy with its own Black history became available, Peters and his team “jumped at the chance” to create a festival celebrating their goals of diversity and inclusion. “With the 40 year anniversary of the Brixton Riots, it felt like a poignant opportunity to reflect on the contribution that Black people continue to make to British culture,” he adds. 

The festival will host multiple events over the weekend, including workshops such as a revolutionary reading club, life drawing classes, panel discussions, and a music showcase. The three keynote panels explore the power behind protest, culture, and the next generation of Black Britain. As well as these events, the festival includes a photographers’ gallery, focusing on the power of Black Identity.

© Philipp Raheem.

The gallery will include work by Adama Jalloh, Amber Pinkerton, Courtney Campbell, Henry Kamara, Holly Cato, Lou Jasmine, Nico Utuk, Olivia Lifungula, Philipp Raheem and Wunmi Onibudo, as the group all respond to the nation-wide open call for images representing “The Power of Black Identity.” Karis Beaumont, winner of the The Power Of Black Identity Photography competition, will also present her winning project Bumpkin Files. The contest, run in partnership with Nikon, awarded Beaumont the prize for her “thought and preparation,” explains Neil Kenlcok, one of the judges. “Her work stood out due to the actual style, quality, and how she captured the moment.” 

© Wunmi Onibudo.

Bumpkin Files subverts the expected narrative for Black British identity, focusing on the lives lived outside of London and found in other cities such as Cardiff and London. The resulting work exemplifies the long lasting legacies of Black Britain, showcasing the diversity and multifaceted nature that can be found. “I hope for the prize to act as an opportunity for the chosen winner to help hone their craft, and ultimately supercharge their work taking it to the next level,” says Peters. Judges include Peters himself, photographer Neil Kenlock, Emma Clackson, director of creative street advertising agency JACK, producer Julie Vergez, and multimedia artist, Pogus Caesar. The prize includes both equipment and mentorship from Nikon, as well as their images being displayed on billboards across central London.

© Karis Beaumont.

The festival aims to put more Black British creatives on the map, celebrating the last century of Black British culture while doing so. “Photography is a medium that allows us to celebrate, reflect or contemplate,” Peters adds. We are able to document such momentous moments like the global BLM movement. The UK is full of such wonderful talent, but I’ve seen a small amount of Black, brown, and marginalised voices given a physical platform that doesn’t feel tokenistic.The Power Of Festival aims to be a home for showcasing incredible talent, as well as work that deserves of praise, just like their white counterparts.”

© Karis Beaumont.
Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.