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Through the mediums of poetry, dance and spoken word, talented local performers and artists gather to give voice to personal reflections and provocative politics.

Join a unique performance event exploring absent archives, unseen material and distant voices.
Featuring Solomon O.B, Moussa Kouyate, Cleo Lake, Akulah Agbami, Edson Burton, Dionne Draper, Ralph Hoyte and Valda Jackson; In the absence of ruins… will include the Speakeasy corner: an opportunity for others to perform, speak, sing or hold court.

The event is presented in collaboration with Bristol-based artist, Libita Clayton.

Working with the Southwest Speakeasy Network and forging new connections with creatives, collectives and communities of the African Diaspora, Clayton’s most recent project was BS2: RESIST & REVOLT, BLACK HISTORY – LIVE TRANSMISSION at Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF) in Portland Square. The event put Black History Month in conversation with Art Weekender Bristol & Bath, deciphering their established frameworks and mechanics through a relay panel discussion, transmitted via a temporary DIY radio station.

In the absence of ruins… continues Clayton’s interest in fostering new social exchanges and dialogue between artists, academics and the wider public.



Akulah Agbami

Akulah Agbami is a writer, poet and dancer producing work for radio, theatre, film and books. She is a member of Sheba Feminist Collective and Breathing Fire Theatre Company, works for The Women’s Community Forum and is a former editor of Spare Rib.

Solomon O.B

Describing his style as a ‘hybrid between a rapper and a poet’, Solomon Ogunmefun-Brooker was crowned National Poetry Slam champion in January 2016. He will release his debut hip hop solo EP The Writing is Real later this year.

Moussa Kouyate

Moussa Kouyate is a Senegalese Master Kora Artist,  and a player and instrument maker of pure descent from “griot” family Kouyate, fathers of west African music, advisors to kings and holders of the anthology of the music of the Mandinka people since 1235. The rhythm of Moussa’s music is taken from these fundamental roots and is classical in nature.

Edson Burton

Dr Edson Burton is a writer & historian who’s broad interest in Black History, Literature and Culture is united by his commitment to challenge and to reimagine Black experience. He is also a member of Come the Revolution programming collective.

Dionne Draper

Performer, singer, actress and founder of ‘Sing with Soul’, Dionne Draper works with communities to empower people and voices through music, song and spoken word. ‘The Untold Eulogy’ explores faith, race and identity through the bonds of a mother/daughter relationship. Moving, funny and shocking in parts, Dionne Draper performs a variety of colourful characters in collaboration with Renewal Gospel Choir.

Ralph Hoyte

Ralph Hoyte is a poet who experiments with integrating live, sculptural and graphic words into land and cityscapes. His work ranges from epic Gothic ballads to touch-sensitive audio-sculptures to GPS-triggered soundscapes. His latest work, ‘Omerset, can be visited at the New Dimensions exhibition at The Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

Valda Jackson
Valda Jackson is a visual artist and a writer, whose public sculptures and paintings are exhibited internationally. Born in Jamaica, Jackson came to England as a child. Her work is concerned with memory and the fragmentation of history in recalling and re-imaging the past. Jackson’s short story ‘An Age of Reason’ was published in Closure: An Anthology of Contemporary Black British Fiction (Peepal Tree Press, 2015).

Cleo Lake

Cleo Lake is passionate about cultural dance forms connected to the African Diaspora. Inspired by Bristol’s rich, diverse and global history, she promotes and instigates dance and creative activity and is currently writer in residence at Arnolfini. She presents a collaborative work-in-progress featuring spoken word in a ‘Grime’ soundscape, mixed with elements of Kumina, an Afro Jamaican spiritual practice that fuses the past and the present.

Cleo will fuze together text, music and dance theatre inspired by Vertigo Sea and Bristol’s history and culture.  The performance will also feature an element of crowd participation as Cleo brings a flavour of her ‘Dance Riot’ to the performance integrating movement of the African diaspora with music connected to Bristol.


Awkward & Benjamin One

Awkward and Benjamin One are electronic music artists with very distinct styles who collaborate in live events. From Hip Hop, Funk, Electro and Dub to the avant garde, the duo present a weekly show of eclectic sounds on Bristol’s Ujima 98 fm: Universal Magnetic.



Nocturnal is a youth-led interactive magazine and showcase platform, covering a range of writing, music, illustrations, photography and film to deliver Millennial insights and showcase work from young Creatives in the arts, fashion and music industries.

Ujima Radio

Ujima Radio is a local Bristol Community radio station, transmitting popular news, discussion and music programmes. Ujima also provide support and training for over 150 volunteers each year.



Gal-Dem is a creative online magazine collective of young women of colour frustrated with the lack of diversity and media representation. It provides a platform for people from all walks of life, of different shapes, sizes, genders and ethnic backgrounds to share their reflections on contemporary culture.

Come the Revolution

Come the Revolution… is a collective of curators, programmers and creatives from Bristol & Birmingham committed to exploring and challenging black life, experience and cultural expression through cinema.