IBar News

IBAR in association with the Bronte Parsonage Museum Haworth Present Lost Children: The Black Atlantic and Northern Britain ‘An Interdisciplinary Symposium’ April 30-May 1

IBAR is proud to announce that it will host a symposium to tie in with the launch of Caryl Phillips new novel The Lost Child, a prequel to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847). It will echo the historical context and themes of the work discussing black presences across generations in the North from the 1770s to the present. It will be an interdisciplinary symposium which will bring together historians, visual artists, cultural critics and writers. It will discuss The Lost Child in its widest Black Atlantic and Northern British context and highlight links and contexts that enable a variety of other writers and artists including the Brontës to be discussed. This will create dynamic new interpretations of British culture in this rarely heard context of the North and the Black Atlantic. It will include two readings from Caryl Phillips at UCLan and at the Bronte Parsonage Museum Haworth. The symposium will spend the second afternoon in Haworth and there will be an opportunity to explore Brontë Country with a guided tour from our own Victorian expert Dr. Theresa Saxon.

Our two keynote presenters are Dr. Jessica Moody (University of Portsmouth) an expert on Liverpool and its memory of slavery and Dr. Fionnghuala Sweeney (Newcastle University) an expert on Ireland, Britain and the Black Atlantic.

Visual Artists presenting their work include IBAR’s own Professor Lubaina Himid, Manchester-based Kooj (Kuljit) Chuhan and Scarborough-born Jade Montserrat.

New York film-maker Sikay Tang will present her film Toby’s Paradise about the sojourn from Liverpool to Shanghai of a Nigerian-born sailor.

Joe Williams (Heritage Corner, Leeds) will perform his solo play, The Fishes of Isis, an insightful portrait of Pablo Fanque, the British-born Victorian circus owner of African origin. (http://heritagecornerleeds.wix.com/heritage-corner#!).

Other contributors include:

Professor Benedicte Ledent (University of Liege)

Professor Evelyn O’Callaghan (University of the West Indies)

Professor John McLeod (University of Leeds)

Professor Brian Ward (University of Northumbria)

For the full programme click here

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Report by Jasleen Kaur

Caryl PhilipsIBAR hosted the symposium ‘Lost Children: The Black Atlantic and Northern Britain’ at the University of Central Lancashire from April 30th – May 1st. Takings its cue from Caryl Phillips’ latest novel The Lost Child, a prequel to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, the conference saw leading and emerging academics, artists and filmmakers present and reflect on the Black Atlantic and Northern Britain.

Part of the symposium was held at the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth where Phillips gave a reading of the novel followed by a Q & A that was moderated by Professor Alan Rice. Phillips spoke of the inspiration that the Parsonage provided for his novel and the many hours spent exploring the life – and dying moments – of Emily Brontë. As well as this, audience members were also given the opportunity to discuss Phillips’ motivations behind the character of Monica and her role as a ‘lost child’ as well as the other lost children portrayed within the narrative.

A number of the visiting academics, led by Dr Theresa Saxon, also took an expedition to Top Withens – the house that is said to have inspired Wuthering Heights. Along the trail, the group were treated to excerpts from Brontë’s novel that corresponded to the surrounding scenery, including a final reading and group photo at Top Withens.

Top_Withens_Lost_Children - Copy (2)

Please find below a video of the the excursion to Haworth and walk to Top Withens. Video by Kevin Mahy of House of Sunshine Media



Keynote: Jessica Moody, University of Portsmouth: ‘”Physically Present and Glaringly Absent”: The Memory of Slavery in Liverpool.’

Histories and Cultures of the Black Atlantic (1)

Sandeep Parmar, University of Liverpool: ‘Nancy Cunard: Liverpool and New York.’

Brian Ward, Northumbria University: ‘The Beatles’ White (Photograph) Album: Race, Class and Gender on Miami Beach, 1964  – A Tale of the Modern Black and White Atlantic.’

Andrew Warnes, University of Leeds: ‘”Am I not your boy?”: The Young Fathers, Diaspora, and the New Hip Hop of North Britain.’

Max Farrar, Leeds Beckett (formerly Metropolitan) University: ‘Remember Oluwale? Yes, But Why, and How?’

Histories and Cultures of the Black Atlantic (2)

Hannah-Rose Murray, University of Nottingham: ‘Eloquence, Intelligence and Nobility: Former Enslaved African Americans in Britain and the British Press.’

Michael Morris, Liverpool John Moores University: ‘Recovering Scotland’s Memory of the Black Atlantic.’

Elisabeth Bekers, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels: ‘The Black Atlantic in Jackie Kay’s Work.’

Ray Costello, University of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and the Centre for the Study of International Slavery: ‘The Real Lost Children: The fate of some children of African descent in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Liverpool.’

Readings from Crossing the River and The Lost Child from Caryl Phillips, followed by Q & A session on the themes of adoption and fostering with Professor John McLeod, University of Leeds.
Caryl Phillips and Lost Children Across the Generations

Johny Pitts, Sheffield and London: ‘Talking Daffodils: A Meeting With Caryl Phillips.’

Lucienne Loh, University of Liverpool: ‘Domesticating Slavery in Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River.’

Bénédicte Ledent, University of Liège, and Evelyn O’Callaghan, University of the West Indies: ‘Haunted by Loss: Caryl Phillips’s Cambridge and The Lost Child.’

Kirpal Singh, Singapore Management University: ‘The Bastard: Reading Wuthering Heights, The Lost Child and Myself.

A Regular Black Filmmaker discussion: A Regular Black, a film about black presence in Northern Britain, and discussion with filmmakers Adam Low and Martin Rosenbaum.


Joe Williams (Heritage Corner, Leeds) performs his solo play, The Fishes of Isis, an insightful portrait of Pablo Fanque, the British-born Victorian circus owner of African origin.

Sikay Tang’s Film Toby’s Paradise, followed by Q & A session with Peter Atkinson, UCLan.

Reading in Haworth from The Lost Child from Caryl Phillips, followed by Q & A with Professor Alan Rice (IBAR, UCLan).