Keynote Lecture Angela Davis

Moving Together: Activism, Art and Education – A Week with Angela Davis is a weeklong program taking place from 12-17 May at various arts, cultural, educational and heritage institutions, and community centers in Amsterdam. Together with esteemed guest Professor Angela Y. Davis, as well as artists, scholars, activists and audience members, we will look into questions of citizenship, communal knowledge sharing, intergenerational activism, and relevant artistic practices.

05/17/2018 | 6:00 PM

Moving Together: Activism, Art and Education – A Week with Angela Davis

Artists, educators and activists have often been at the forefront of challenging social and cultural hierarchies within society. Events of the past decade have highlighted a noticeable increase in authoritarianism, racism, sexism, environmental disasters and economic hardship at local and global levels. This turbulent climate has prompted significant responses in the form of social movements calling for more inclusion, decolonization, and liberation within cultural and educational institutions.

In what ways are artists, educators and activists re-energizing cultural and knowledge production in the Netherlands? In what ways can institutions help mobilize these efforts towards creating a more just society for all?

Armed with thoughts, books, poetry and dance Moving Together: Activism, Art and Education aims to connect social, cultural, and educational institutions and initiatives in order to address themes of social justice, equality, artistic production and education, and share the emancipatory practices that emerge within these fields with a larger public.
This weeklong series celebrates the role and importance of black scholarship, cultural production, and activism within our contemporary polarized society. Central to the program is the work of Professor Angela Davis, whose life’s work exemplifies the value of interdisciplinary and intersectional practices of liberation.
Angela Davis’s work spans many decades. She is deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world through her activism and scholarship. Her work as an educator – both at the university and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender and sexual justice. Angela Davis is joined by her long-term collaborator Professor Gina Dent, whose work on prison abolition, feminism, social justice, and black literature and art contributes to the ongoing struggle for global social justice.
Moving Together aspires to amplify ongoing conversations on refugee, anti-racist, feminist, queer, trans*, anti-border, anti-nationalist, prison abolition, and environmental justice struggles through sharing knowledge and strengthening connections between arts, activism and education.

Program highlights:

On Sunday 13 May the program opens with PUBLIC DIALOGUE: Intergenerational Coalitions, a public event at Tropenmuseum with contributions by Angela Davis, Gina Dent and artists, organizers, and educators such as Olave Basabose, Nawal Mustafa, Flavia Dzodan, and Joy Mariama Smith. (Tropenmuseum)

Wednesday May 16, the Black Archives hosts a lecture by Gina Dent on black artistic and literary responses to the social constructions of blackness. (Black Archives)

On Thursday 17 May, the weeklong program concludes with a keynote lecture by Angela Davis on art, activism, and education in a transnational context. The lecture is followed by a conversation between Angela Davis and Professor Gloria Wekker. (VU Amsterdam)

In addition to these public events, the program features a series of workshops, discussions, meetings, and film screenings at various locations throughout Amsterdam.

Moving Together: Activism, Art and Education – A Week with Angela Davis is initiated by SNDO - School for New Dance Development and produced by the Academy of Theatre and Dance as part of AIR - Artist in Residence program of the Amsterdam University of the Arts and the Research Center for Material Culture (Nationaal Museum voor Wereldculturen).

The project is generously supported by Democracy and Media Foundation and Mama Cash with contributions of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis, Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, the ASCA Research Group Transformations of Civil Disobedience: Democratization, Globalization, Digitalization, VU University Amsterdam, Organisation of the Research Institute for Culture, History and Heritage, CLUE+, BAK Utrecht, Framer Framed, and the Black Archives.

Moving Together: Activism, Art and Education – A Week with Angela Davis is curated by Amal Alhaag, Quinsy Gario, Nadia Bekkers, Mikki Stelder and Bojana Mladenović.

Keynote Lecture

Participants: Angela Y. Davis, Gloria Wekker, Tirsa With and Benedicta
On May 17, 2018 our guest of honor Angela Y. Davis will present a lecture at VU University in which she will reflect on the week. Moving Together has foregrounded the relationship between activism, art and education and social justice in the Netherlands. During the keynote Angela Davis will connect her transnational work with her experiences in the Netherlands in order to shed light on potentials for coalition, collaboration, and liberation. After the lecture, she will be joined by Professor Gloria Wekker to engage in conversation on their different and interrelated experiences living and working as educators, writers, and activists in these moving times. Spoken Word artists Tirsa With and Benedicta will open the night with a poetic reflection on Moving Together.

Angela Y Davis

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world.  Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.

Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley.  She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University.  Most recently she spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness – an interdisciplinary Ph.D program – and of Feminist Studies.

Angela Davis is the author of ten books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.  In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination.  She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”  She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment.  Her recent books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? about the abolition of the prison industrial complex, a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and a collection of essays entitled The Meaning of Freedom. Her most recent book of essays, called Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, was published in February 2016.

Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex.  Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions.  Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

For more information about the full program and ticketing please refer to

*Image by courtesy of Daily Bruin archives