Delve into 500 years of Black British music

Artists, industry experts and academics will reflect on the historical context and legacies that define Black British music at the British Library in London on Friday, July 12th.

Black British Music: Past, Present and Futures will be a day-long symposium hosted as part of the Library’s Beyond The Bassline exhibition - the first dedicated to the story of Black British Music

The University of Westminster’s Black Music Research Unit (BMRU) will host the symposium featuring a keynote from PRS Members’ Council President Michelle Escoffery plus academics, DJs/musicians and writers from SOAS, The University of Liverpool, Florida State University, and more.

Michelle Escoffery is an Ivor Novello Award-winning singer, songwriter and composer. Their keynote cover the nuances of being a Black woman in music, as well as the challenges facing Black British artists.

Other sessions will trace the geographic landmarks and cultures that have driven Black British music, and unpack Black British music’s representation of women and other genres including grime and drill.

The event will also host a music and publishing roundtable considering how Black British Music has been depicted in media. The full programme is listed below.

The predominantly female speaker lineup covers a diverse range of expertise. It includes cultural historian Dr Holly-Gale Millette; Black queer feminist, ethnomusicologist, and author of Queering Black British Music DJ E Falade; and R&B-Jazz Singer, writer, and Founder of BLU WAV artist wellbeing Estée Blu.

Dr. Mykaell Riley, Director of the Black Music Research Unit at the University of Westminster and guest curator of Beyond the Bassline, said: “The Beyond the Bassline exhibition, known for its groundbreaking approach, was inspired by BMRU research, so it’s only fitting for the British Library to host our first annual symposium. This conference will distinctively highlight early-career female researchers with a focus on black British music.”

Ticket are available at here. They include refreshments and a sandwich lunch, plus access to the Beyond the Bassline exhibition at an evening party event, Carnival Warmup and Soca Special, running from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.