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Arnolfini - est 1961

A panel discussion exploring the symbolism of the sea and its relationship to migration. This talk will be interpreted with British Sign Language.

Vertigo Sea reflects on themes of encroachment, territory, movement and displacement with specific reference to current issues around migration. This panel discussion will further explore the symbolism of the sea and its relationship to post-colonial experience and diaspora. Through discussion and presentation, speakers will consider the sea as a site of conflict and a vessel for journeys.

Guest speakers include Melanie Keen, Director, iniva, writer Philip Hoare, academic Adam Elliott-Cooper and Arnolfini writer-in-residence Cleo Lake.


An experienced broadcaster, curator and filmmaker, Philip Hoare wrote and presented the BBC Arena film The Hunt for Moby-Dick, and directed three films for BBC’s Whale Night.  He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Southampton, and curator of the Moby-Dick Big Read, .His book Leviathan or, The Whale won the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.  Hoare’s latest book, The Sea Inside, was published in 2013. 

Adam Elliott-Cooper is a doctoral student in the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. His research looks at black resistance to police violence in post-2011 Britain.

Melanie Keen is Director of Iniva, London. Her career spans two decades in the visual arts as a curator, consultant, an arts funding manager and was a Senior Relationship Manager at Arts Council England. Her independent curatorial projects focuses on collaborative practices and process-based approaches to making work. Other projects include the production of a national education resource, which uses contemporary art and culture to explore the history and legacies of the transatlantic slave trade, for Understanding Slavery, National Maritime Museum, London; Necessary Journeys, an Arts Council England initiative in collaboration with BFI Black World. 

Cleo Lake is a Bristolian artist and activist. Socially conscious from a very young age and educated at Colston’s Girls’ School, Cleo has been involved in a number of grass roots campaigns and is currently part of an international ‘Friends of Malcolm X Centre’ support group and an informal group of Bristolians who seek to challenge, educate and in some way move the debate forward in terms of the reverence and legacy of Edward Colston in Bristol. Cleo sits as a non executive Director on the Boards of The Bristol Cable, Carnival Network South and was the former Chair of the St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival (2012-2014). As an artist Cleo strives to make work that connects to the journey and ongoing struggles experienced by people of the African diaspora as well as exploring universal humanitarian and environmental concerns.

This talk will be BSL interpreted. 

Philip Hoare. Photograph: Andrew Sutton for the Guardian.