How would YOU re-imagine Cole?

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The Northern School of Art

1 Church Street

Hartlepool

TS24 7DS

United Kingdom

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‘How would you re-imagine Cole?’ This is an evening of performance, presentation and debate exploring the imagery of Christian Cole, the first Black scholar at the University of Oxford in 1873.

Christian Cole went on to become the first Black African to practise law in the English Courts, and yet, unlike his peers and near contemporaries, no photograph or ‘true’ memorial of him exists. All that remains are a couple of cartoon-like illustrations which are very much products of the prevailing attitudes of the day – in one he is depicted as a minstrel, with a banjo in another he is in a grass skirt surrounded with bananas.

How would YOU Re-imagine Cole? A drama performance delivered by two professional actors illustrating the relationship between Christian Frederick Cole, the first Black scholar at the University of Oxford, and Joseph Renner Maxwell, both Sierra Leone students at the University of Oxford, 1876. Maxwell has his image captured professionally; Cole depicted only as a caricature. Why was this? The piece will depict a fictionalized meeting demonstrating their intense conflict, rivalry and spirited exchanges, interweaving the themes and issues of heritage, identity, class, social mobility, colourism, belonging and acceptance and the outsider within the establishment.

The exploration of what Cole experienced as a Black scholar has resonance for our times and the challenges felt by those labelled and perceived as different. How would YOU re-imagine Cole? will enable the audience to come away with a new appreciation of, and ability to challenge and question identity and its relevance to today’s contemporary society.

This event is produced by Black Oxford Untold Stories in association with the Northern School of Art.

Funded by Arts Council England

Date and Time

Location

The Northern School of Art

1 Church Street

Hartlepool

TS24 7DS

United Kingdom

View Map

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