Photography as participatory politics: feminist anti-racism in Rhodes Must Fall

In 2015, when a group of Black students founded Rhodes Must Fall Oxford, they catalysed a process of change that has challenged not only the university but the media and political establishment of the UK to reckon with racism and Britain’s empire. Even as Oriel College still refuses to take down the statue of Cecil Rhodes, RMF has led the move to overhaul curricula in several departments, documented systemic racism at Oxford, and built intersectional solidarities with feminist, trans, and indigenous movements. Through an exhibition of Jacqueline Otagburuagu’s photographs, accompanied by Tadiwa Madenga’s writing and co-curated with Athinangamso Esther Nkopo, we seek to highlight the passion and care through which RMF’s activists constructed spaces of dissent, protest, and solidarity. Otagburuagu’s photographs may be familiar to viewers from social media, where they circulated widely, typically without credit. Madenga’s narrative contextualises the photos, drawing the viewer’s eye to the relations of care and friendship, visceral feelings of passion and hope, and everyday emotional labour that undergirded what became a nationally significant social movement.

The exhibition of Jacqueline Otagburuagu’s photographs, organised by the Intersectional Humanities Programme at TORCH, will run in Wadham Ante-chapel between the 26th October and the 9th November 2022.

Sorry, there are currently no talks scheduled in this series.