David Brauner writes:
On 4th November 2016 a symposium on ‘The Interface Between British Contemporary Black and Jewish Cultures’ was held at the University of Reading. The event was sponsored by the ‘British Jewish: Contemporary Cultures’ AHRC network and the ‘Identities’ research group at Reading. It also marked the launch of a large interdisciplinary research project based at Reading, led by Professor David Brauner, entitled ‘Towards a British “Black-Jewish Imaginary”: The Interface Between British Black and Jewish Literature, Art and Culture 1945-2015’.
The symposium was divided into four sessions: a panel on ‘Contemporary Fiction’ in the morning; a panel on ‘Shifting Identities’ after lunch; a panel on Zadie Smith after a break from coffee; and finally a talk by the playwright, theatre director and academic, Julia Pascal. Joining four speakers from Reading – Nicola Abram, David Brauner and Nicole King from the Department of English Literature, and Rachel Garfield from the Department of Art – were speakers from all over the UK and from Germany and Poland. In addition to the presentations, there was much intensive discussion and debate and the end of the day found everyone exhausted but stimulated and inspired to continue the conversations beyond the symposium.