Black Art in 1980s Britain

Find out about the “Black Arts Movement” and how it challenged institutional racism and discrimination

course description

This course will introduce you to work of Black and Asian artists active in Britain during the 1980s. What was the “Black Arts Movement”, who were its main protagonists, and what kinds of art were they making? This course will consider how and why the visual arts were used as a forum in which to challenge institutional racism and discrimination.

prior experience

None required.

equipment required

None; weekly readings will be provided.

this course will be of interest to

Anyone who has an interest in art, art history, cultural studies, Black history, Black and Asian communities in Britain.

course date

This course runs for 4 Wednesdays, starting on Wednesday 9 October from 2-4pm.

course price


course overview 

1. What is Black Art?

An introduction to the history and placement of Black and Asian artists within narratives of British Art and the evolution of ‘Black Art’.

2. Conflict and Protest

During the 1980s many British artists reacted strongly against the policies of Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government. Against a backdrop of fascist arson attacks, police brutality and social unrest, how were artists using their work to protest against inequalities and racism? We will particularly consider the work of Donald Rodney, Keith Piper and Eddie Chambers.

3. Black Feminisms

During the 1980s a number of artists and critics emerged working from a feminist perspective, intent on addressing the lack of visibility of Black women within British society. This week we will consider feminist art practice: what was being made, in what materials, what subjects were being addressed? How were Black female artists and critics challenging a male-dominated narrative of art and history? We will consider the work of Sonia Boyce, Claudette Johnson, and Chila Kumari Burman. 

4. History and Memory

This session will consider how artists were engaging with personal memories of migration and displacement within the context of wider cultural and national histories. How did the legacies of British colonialism inform not only the content of artwork, but its reception? We will consider the work of Maud Sulter, Zarina Bhimji, Keith Piper and Lubaina Himid.


Dr Alice Correia 

Dr Alice Correia is a Research Fellow in Art History at the University of Salford. She has previously worked at the Government Art Collection and Tate Britain and has published widely on the subject of contemporary British art. In 2017, she was a Mid-Career Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, undertaking a project titled, Articulating British Asian Art Histories.

If you are interested in this course, but are unable to attend at this time. Please email us at


University of Salford Maxwell Building
43 Crescent
Salford M5 4WT