Storytelling Festival

The David Livingstone Birthplace Museum will invite artists from across the Scottish African diaspora to the museum for a weekend of storytelling through fiction, history, poetry, dance, music and workshops.

The David Livingstone Birthplace Museum in Blantyre will host ‘Our Stories Between the Myths and Memories’ event over the weekend of 22 to 23 October. The event, which takes part during Black History Month, has been programmed by Scottish-Zimbabwean artist and researcher Natasha Thembiso Ruwona and will bring creative practitioners from across the Scottish African diaspora to the museum for a weekend of storytelling. The museum will also be open throughout the weekend for tours 

Saturday’s programme of events will begin with a discussion looking at storytelling across different cultures and communities led by Nigerian-Scottish writer, editor and creative producer Tomiwa Folorunso. The museum will then host a workshop run by Glasgow-based filmmaker and comic book writer Etienne Kubwabowhere he will discuss his work. Kubwabo is the mastermind behind ‘Beats of War’, the celebrated comic featuring Scotland’s first Black superhero. The first day will end with a dance party featuring the DJs atJambo! Radio, Scotland’s only radio station dedicated to African and Caribbean music. 

On Sunday the subject of decolonisation will be explored through several workshops and discussions. A panel will be presented by the staff at the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum on decolonising its collection and object handling. There will also be live music at the museum from the Congolese Gig Group, a band of musicians playing Afro-Congo pop, reggae, seben/rumba and Afrobeat. The weekend event will end with ‘An Exercise in Exorcism’, a piece by multi-disciplinary artist Ashanti Harris. It will utilise dance, performance and installation to reimagine historical narratives from a Caribbean diasporic perspective. 

Natasha Thembiso Ruwona, Scottish-Zimbabwean artist and researcher, programmed the event, she said: “I’m really excited to be able to bring together so many brilliant creative practitioners from the Scottish African diaspora to one space and to celebrate their contributions to the creative sector.”

Natasha added: “This project speaks to our past, present, and potential futures that examine Black Scottish history, culture, and identity. It is also a timely event that will spotlight the work that David Livingstone Birthplace are doing as they consider the role of museums within truthful storytelling, by asking important questions about legacy and memory.”

David Livingstone Birthplace will soon announce further events which will take place during the weekend. The museum will also be open for tours throughout the two-day event, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore David Livingstone Birthplace and gain an in-depth perspective on the story of Livingstone. The museum uses its globally significant collection to reframe Livingstone’s achievements, his failures, and the opportunity his story holds to encourage a deeper understanding of marginalised histories and Scotland’s role in slavery and colonisation.

Grant Mackenzie, Director at David Livingstone Birthplace, said: “We are delighted to be hosting one of Scotland’s first Afro-Caribbean storytelling festivals, providing a showcase for creatives in Scotland. This event builds on from a major refurbishment of the historic site, where our brand new museum has recontextualised Livingstone’s story and how it connects with Scotland’s colonial history, slavery and contemporary issues such as racism.”

Tickets to ‘Our Stories Between the Myths and Memories’ are free and can be booked for Saturday 22 October here; and for Sunday 23 October here. Programme and timings subject to change.

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