consent not to be a single being: Worlding through the Caribbean

The symposium consent not to be a single being: Worlding through the Caribbean was accompanied by an online programme of artists’ audio and film works.

Worlding Public Cultures hosts a major international online conference in partnership with Tate and a programme organised by UAL’s TrAIN Research Centre (Transnational Art Identity Nation). It will explore the legacies of Caribbean thought on global art histories, public culture and activism, complementing Tate Britain’s exhibition: Life Between Islands: British - Caribbean Art 1950s – now.

consent not to be a single being: Worlding Through the Caribbean takes the Caribbean and Caribbean thought as a starting point, to reconsider global histories of art and contemporary public cultures. Drawing on the foundational work of Caribbean thinkers Édouard Glissant, Stuart Hall and Sylvia Wynter, the symposium explores their impact on our understanding of the material, epistemological and ontological repercussions of these Caribbean histories.

Addressing the contested public paces of universities, museums, and cultural institutions, this symposium thinks with and through Glissant, Hall, and Wynter to radically transform our ways of relating to the world around us. The event will include a keynote lecture by celebrated Black studies and Black feminism scholar Katherine McKittrick, as well as five panels covering topics ranging from public culture, education, counter-histories, colonialism, world-making and the environment.

Recordings of the symposium will be available online in January 2022. 

Symposium Programme

Wednesday 1st December


  • Keynote Lecture
    • Katherine McKittrick


  • Panel 1: Human as Praxis
    • Speakers include M. Ty , Julian Henriques, Maica Gugolati, Christopher Cozier and Ada M. Patterson.

Thursday 2nd December


  • Panel 2: Counter Histories
    • Speakers include Adrienne Rooney, Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Sarah Casteel.


  • Panel 3: Public Culture
    • Speakers include Gilane Tawadros, Malini Guha, Julia M. Hori, Natalie McGuire-Batson.

Friday 3rd December


  • Panel 4: Worlding
    • Speakers include Alexandra Chang, Lee Xie, Alpesh Kantilal Patel, Nidhi Mahajan and Moad Musbahi.


  • Panel 5: Ecology
    • Speakers include Susanne M. Winterling, Laleta Davis-Mattis, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Roshini Kempadoo and Guillermina De Ferrar

Organised by Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, in collaboration with UAL’s TrAIN Research Centre (Transnational Art Identity Nation) and the TrACE network (Transnational and Transcultural Art Culture Exchange). 

Audio and Film Programme

. . .the struggle of our new millennium will be one between the ongoing imperative of securing the well-being of our present ethnoclass (i.e., Western bourgeois) conception of the human, Man, which over represents itself as if it were the human itself, and that of securing the well-being, and therefore the full cognitive and behavioral autonomy of the human species itself/ourselves. Because of this overrepresentation, which [I define] . . . as the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom, any attempt to unsettle the coloniality of power will call for the unsettling of this overrepresentation. . .

Sylvia Wynter, ‘Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument’, 2003

The symposium consent not to be a single being: Worlding through the Caribbean is accompanied by an online programme of artists’ audio and film work. It considers Édouard Glissant’s crucial proposition to ‘consent not to be a single being’ (Glissant, 2009) through the entanglements and archipelagic complexity manifested within the Caribbean experience. The programme forms around the notion that these states can be the conditions for worlding otherwise: in Sylvia Wynter’s words, for ‘unsettling the coloniality of being/power/truth/freedom’ (Wynter, 2003) that was established by our collective historical worlding inside the brutality of the colonial project. Across these works, unsettling occurs in the spaces of potentiality created by forms of cultural resistance, and the ever-becoming relationalities in which they are conceived.

The works span music, poetry, conversation and moving image, to reflect the multiplicity of approaches within the respective oeuvres of Édouard Glissant, Stuart Hall and Sylvia Wynter, and their explorations of cultural forms that are intrinsic to their theoretical projects.

The programme includes two new audio commissions: an experimental sound composition by artist Ashley Holmes, and a new episode of artist and writer Ayesha Hameed’s Radio Brown Atlantis, with special guest writer and poet Shivanee Ramlochan.

A programme of artists’ film, screening online from 1st to 3rd December 2021, includes recent work by Helen Cammock, Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman, Jamilah Sabur, Rhea Storr and Alberta Whittle.

The audio and film programme is curated by Rahila Haque and sponsored by Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.