Activity: Talk or presentation types › Invited talk
venue is currently developing as an Arts Centre, and this, its inaugural seminar, was based around Graham Fagen’s exhibition Scotland + Venice 2015, previously at the Venice Biennale.
Fagen’s exhibition is based around the story of Robert Burns’ near emigration to work as a book-keeper on a slave plantation in Jamaica. Fagen took an abolitionist song ‘The Slave’s Lament’ often attributed (though on fragile evidence) to Burns, and recorded a new version with reggae artist Ghetto Priest.
The seminar opened out the topic of the exhibition to explore Scottish connections with Atlantic slavery and the continuing importance of questions of race in the present. In particular, connections with the North East were emphasised: as Montrose had been a key port in the tobacco and rum trades, slave ships had left from its port.