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Join us in the TCD Long Room Hub – as we reflect on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and themes of identity and representation with invited guests who offer a range of perspectives from the context of their work, research, and experiences. In this session, we look at the creative, critical, and collective approaches of artists, with presentations by Alice Rekab (IMMA Collection) and Thaís Muniz, alongside contributions by Dr John Wilkins (IRC Enterprise Postdoctoral Fellow at IMMA / TCD), Melissa Ndakengerwa (IMMA EDI Executive) and chair Dr. Hannes Opelz (Director of the MPhil Identities and Cultures of Europe, TCD).

This session embraces art and cultural contexts to consider CRT as a useful framework for expanding intercultural dialogue, outreach practices and scholarship within the public sphere. Related fields of contemporary art practice, art history and disciplines such as race, gender, diaspora, and decolonial studies are amongst the topics to be explored.

This event takes place at the offsite venue of The Long Room Hub – Trinity College Dublin. Presented in partnership with Trinity College, Dublin: M. Phil course Identities and Cultures of Europe. More details here

About Speakers

Alice Rekab (Artist)

Alice Rekab a visual artist based in Dublin. Rekab practice is concerned with expressions and iterations of complex cultural and personal narratives. The artist takes their own mixed-race Irish identity as a starting point from which to explore the idea of the body, the family and the nation as reflections of one another. This is developed through material investigations and renditions of family, its bodies, and the spaces they move through and inhabit. Through a practice of film, performance, image and sculpture, Rekab creates new intersectional narratives and objects for exhibition.
Recent projects include Ricochet #14, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2021); Two External Light Sources At The Same Time, Temple Bar Galleries and Studios (2019; The Nomoli/Father talk VERY Project Space, Berlin (2019); and The Open Object Stanley Picker Gallery, London (2018). More details here

Thaís Muniz (Artist)

Thaís Muniz is a visual artist interested in the Afro-diasporic connections of identity, memory, displacement and inward love. Her art practice emerges from the need to shatter the status quo when it comes to representation and blackness. Muniz uses textiles, workshops, performances, audio-visuals, and installations to share narratives. A form of ‘Culture in Action’, the participatory element of Muniz’s practice is key, through intimate practices and public exchange.

Since 2012 Thaís Muniz has forged research on turbans and headwraps in Afro-Atlantic cultures and its place in art, politics and aesthetics, by creating Turbante-se (pronounces Tur-ban-tee-see). Turbante-se is movement and platform that follows the mystery and beauty of headwear in the Black Atlantic and its diaspora – traditions, new meanings and the relationship of non-verbal communications implied through the head.
Thaís Muniz lives in Dublin since 2014. She is one of the IMMA Artist-in-residence at The Dean Art Studios and currently studying for a MA in Art and Research Collaboration at IADT. Recent projects include Inner Space of a Future Memory, IMMA (2023), Uplifted Roots, Edinburgh Printmakers (2022), Darling, Don’t Turn Your Back on Me, RHA Ashford Gallery (2021). More details here

Dr John Wilkins

Dr Wilkins is an Irish Research Council Enterprise Postdoctoral Fellow working with Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. His work explores the intersections of race, gender, and national identity in Literature and Visual Culture.

Dr Wilkins identifies as U.S. Black and Gay. Born in North Carolina, he earned his B A from Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster Pennsylvania; his MA in English Literature from the L’Université de Montréal, Canada and his doctorate from Trinity College Dublin’s School of English where he interrogated representations of “Black Gay Male Identity in the African Diaspora”. Dr Wilkins has taught on undergraduate and graduate course modules such as “The American Genre”, “Modernism”, “Post-Colonialism”, and “Romanticism” in Trinity College’s School of English; he has lectured in Trinity College’s Sociology Department on the subject of “Black African Voices in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade”, in UCD’s School of Social Justice on the subject of “Black Male Identity” and in UCD’s Sociology Department on the subject of “Black Activism and Movements in the Black Atlantic”. Dr Wilkins was also a Moderator for Trinity College Dublin’s “Black Identity in the Americas” Conference. He presented papers at “Sibéil’s Feminist and Gender Network Studies Conference on “Black Gay Male Identity in the African Diaspora” and at the African Scholars Association Ireland (AFSAI) Conference on “The Black Body and White Memory”.

Melissa Ndakengerwa (IMMA EDI Executive)

Melissa Ndakengerwa is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Executive – Public Engagement at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, where she and the team work to create meaningful workshops and events that resonate with diverse audiences and foster a sense of belonging within the museum’s community. Having previously worked at the Bar of Ireland as the Events and Project Officer, Melissa excels in managing a variety of diverse events and creating inclusive spaces for engaging in difficult conversations. Melissa is currently pursuing a postgraduate Diploma in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Limerick and is a member of the board of the charity Aware and sits on the Community Advisory Panel for Intel. Melissa also spent three years volunteering for Black and Irish, an organisation dedicated to empowering Black and Mixed-race individuals in Ireland.

Dr Hannes Opelz (Director of the MPhil Identities and Cultures of Europe, TCD): Chair

Dr Opelz leads Trinity’s postgraduate programmes in Identities and Cultures of Europe. His research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century French thought and aesthetics. Methodologically, his work draws on and engages with a variety of fields, namely mimetic theory, deconstruction, myth studies, theories of identity, philosophies of technology and science, gender studies, and environmental humanities. Recent publications include special journal issues on French philosophers Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe (L’Esprit créateur, 2017) and Catherine Malabou (MLN, 2022). He has also published essays on French writer and essayist Maurice Blanchot and, more recently, on science fiction. More details here


Irish Research Council