Francesca Sobande gives Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture 2020

  • 28 Oct 2020

This year's lecture is on Black Women’s Digital Media and Activist Experiences in Britain.

Francesca Sobande is a lecturer in digital media studies at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University,

This year's Claudia Jones Memorial lecture, entitled Black Women’s Digital Media and Activist Experiences in Britain, was recorded owing to Covid-19. Francesca Sobande is introduced by Marc Wadsworth, chair of the NUJ's Black Members' Council,

Francesca Sobande is course director of the BA Media, Journalism and Culture programme and is an affiliate of the Data Justice Lab. She is author of The Digital Lives of Black Women in Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and is co-editor with Professor Akwugo Emejulu of To Exist is To Resist: Black Feminism in Europe (Pluto Press, 2019). 

Francesca Sobande says that Claudia Jones, the Communist political activist, feminist and journalist's fight against racism and imperialism is just as relevant today. She said the UK has a long tradition of a black press from the West Indian Gazette, edited by Claudia Jones, to gal-dem which has given black people a voice, but today’s digital world has provided black women with new opportunities to pursue activism and combat racism and a chance to escape marginalisation from the mainstream media, which continues to peddle stereotyped images of hypersexualised black women.

Social media and digital platforms have allowed back women to give a voice to grassroot movements and hashtags have been a way to globally mobilise campaigns against police brutality and other forms of oppression. This digital space, however, is not always a safe one and women often find themselves open to abuse and censorship. Instead black women need to design, create and own their own digital spaces.

Francesca Sobande tweets at @Chess_Ess and more about her work can be found on her website.

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