The Black Student Union (USB) is an organisation aiming to facilitate and support a network of Black students, alumni and partners of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut.
Our effort consists of creating a space of safety and unmasked performativity for Black students. We want our Black students to be able to realise their vocality fully, express freely their similarities and divergences with like-minded bodies.
The institution, as a mirror of a global context, is failing to ensure a representational space for us Black bodies. Its ethnocentric gaze understands differences from its own stand, thus creating limitations for any new cultural insights which hold the possibility to be impactful and long-lasting. Hereby, Blackness remains forced into an institutionalized box, our bodies tirelessly alienated by a dominant outside gaze.
Where before we had to explain our need for space, since our establishment in 2017, we have now created a basis; by the very fact of being here and having exchanges a shift has already begun to happen. The USB chooses to assume the position of the ‘Undercommonsʼ, an idea formulated by philosopher, poet and scholar Fred Moten and author Stefano Harvey.* In this essay Moten and Harvey propose to move within bureaucratic structures in a new way; an underground, hidden, disguised way or, as they call it, in the ‘belowʼ. We, too, locate the place of our action in the below; we believe in the magic of small gestures and self-management. Here the polyphony of our voices resonates louder and we can flourish in our irreducible singularities.
It is a conscious decision for the Black Student Union to stay in the Undercommons, so as not be captured by, and subservient to, the institution. We are generating a community within the Undercommons with enthusiasm. A community that is strong, capable, passionate and able to help one another navigate through institutional spaces. The Black Student Union aims to be the solid (under)ground, the platform upon which Black people can grow, organise forces so that we achieve our goals and dreams of Black students in history to come.
On behalf of the Black Student Union
Negiste Yesside Johnson, Clémence Lollia Hilaire and coordinator Nagaré Willemsen
*Moten, Fred. Harvey, Stefano. The Undercommons, Fugitive Planning and Black Study. Duke University Press, 2013, p26.
Initially promoted as an in person gathering, the form of the event had to change due to visa issues with regards to Lemi's attendance.
Join our conversation with Marc Martha about being black in the fashion industry and breaking down barriers. Hosted by Georbella Fini.
Tune into our livestream for Roxane Mbanga’s NOIRES interviews. 7,8,9,10 July 16:00 CEST
10:00 - 16:45
2 SPOTS LEFT
Email us to JOIN
The USB is working hard on creating an educational black space accessible for all black art students. To close off this perplexing yet illuminating year, we want to end it with a space to connect, share our dreams and needs as Black art students.
Judith Leysner (artist, founder and director of NEVERNEVERLAND) in collaboration with The Black Student Union presents an evening around queer Black cinema at Eye. With a lecture / interview by the South African duo FAKA, moderated by Tracian Meikle.
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Heesterveld 75
Monday, November 25th
Location: FEDLEV Auditorium
Jeanine van Berkel
Siomara van Bochove
Nagaré Willemsen - coordinator
diaspora, student support, decolonisation, eurocentrism