Date and Time

3rd February 2018


Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

Join us for the first Stuart Hall Public Conversation, on the anniversary of Stuart Hall’s birthday, at Conway Hall in London. The event will bring together writers, performers and artists for an afternoon of stimulating talks, readings and performances focusing on the profound political and economic changes taking place in different parts of the globe and the forms of popular resistance to those changes. The afternoon will start with award-winning poet Mona Arshi reading new and recent poems including from her moving and intimate poetry collection Small Hands. Keynote speeches will be given by playwright and commentator David Edgar, essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra and will be followed by an open discussion, chaired by Gilane Tawadros, the Vice-Chair of Stuart Hall Foundation. Following the discussion, the movement artist and choreographer Lanre Malaolu will perform his powerful piece Elephant in the Room which explores the complexities of mental health. Elephant in the Room follows a day in the life of a young man and his constant internal and external battle to be “Normal”. Using blends of physical theatre, hip hop dance and spoken word, the piece challenges the conventional ideas embedded in our society around mental illness. Programme 14:00 Reading by poet Mona Arshi 14:20 Keynote speeches – David Edgar and Pankaj Mishra 15:00 Open discussion – Mona Arshi, David Edgar and Pankaj Mishra, chaired by Gilane Tawadros 16:00 Break 16:30 Lanre Malaolu’s performance Elephant in the Room Tickets £15 full price / £10 students The First Stuart Hall Public Conversation is organised in partnership with Conway Hall Ethical Society. Speakers and performers Mona Arshi is an award-winning poet. Her début collection of poems Small Hands won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. She worked for a decade as a lawyer for the human rights charity Liberty UK, acting on many high-profile cases, including that of the ‘right-to-die’ campaigner, Diane Pretty. Arshi began writing poetry in 2008 and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. While she was studying Arshi won first prize in the inaugural Magma poetry competition for her poem ‘Hummingbird’. Arshi also won the Troubadour International Competition in 2013 for her poem ‘Bad Day in the Office’. Arshi was selected for the ‘Complete Works’, a national development programme funded by Arts Council England. David Edgar is a playwright and commentator. More than sixty of his plays have been published and performed on stage, radio and television around the world, making him one of the most prolific dramatists of the post-1960s generation in the UK. His original plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company include Destiny (1976), Maydays (1983) and Pentecost (1996). His adaptations include Nicholas Nickleby (1980-81), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1990, currently in revival) and A Christmas Carol (2017). In 1989, he founded Britain’s first graduate playwriting course, at the University of Birmingham. In the 1990s, Edgar served on the board of Marxism Today and wrote frequently for the magazine. Today he is a regular contributor to The Guardian and The London Review of Books. His book about playwriting How Plays Work was published in 2009. Lanre Malaolu is a performer, choreographer and the co-artistic director of Protocol, an award-winning dance theatre company based in London. Protocol fuse physical theatre and hip-hop dance, to create work which aims to enhance and challenge our social and political views of the world. Malaolu was handpicked from over 1300 applicants to be a choreographer on the inaugural ‘OLD VIC 12’; a talent group supported by the Old Vic Theatre comprised of the most exciting emerging theatre-makers in the UK. He was the movement artist and choreographer on The British Council film ‘DEAR MR. SHAKESPEARE’, which was selected for the Sundance film festival. As a choreographer, his work has been supported by Arts Council England, The Michael Grandage Company, The Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells and East London Dance. As an actor, he has worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court and the Globe. Pankaj Mishra is an award-winning essayist and novelist, his books include Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India (1995) and Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond. Published in 2012 From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. In 2017, he published to wide acclaim across Europe and America Age of Anger: A History of the Present. Mishra is a columnist for Blomberg View and the New York Times Book Review. He also writes literary and political essays for the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, the New Yorker, London Review of Books, among other publications. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Literature. In 2014, he received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize. Gilane Tawadros is the Vice-Chair of the Stuart Hall Foundation and Chief Executive of DACS, a not-for-profit visual artists rights management organisation. She is a curator and writer and was the founding Director of the Institute of International Visual Arts (INIVA) which Stuart Hall chaired for over a decade. She was the first art historian to be appointed to the prestigious Blanche, Edith and Irving Laurie Chair in Women’s Studies, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She has written extensively on contemporary art and culture. Her books include Changing States: Contemporary Art and Ideas in an Era of Globalisation (INIVA, 2004) and Life is More Important Than Art (Ostrich, 2007). Her forthcoming book The Sphinx Contemplating Napoleon: Global Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Difference will be published by I.B.Tauris in autumn/winter 2018.