Activism, Critique

BARC is Transforming

BARC is an international collective of women of colour scholar activists. We aim to build anti-racist pedagogic communities of students and university workers through sustained collective organizing, collaboration and radical thinking. Our practice is led by our commitments to critical theory, intersectional feminisms and decolonizing frameworks.

BARC is transforming. In the past two years we have built spaces for communities of colour to learn from our own truths how to resist white supremacy. We have taught each other, as we were teaching others, how to bring about a future we wish to inhabit. At times, we have felt moments of liberation in ways that have affirmed the necessity for changing the way we relate to each other in higher education. We heard this echoed throughout the responses to our work. Because we recognise that this liberatory mode of being is inherently difficult to sustain in white patriarchal capitalist higher education structures, we have made a political decision to morph into the next most elegant (brown, 2017) manifestation of the spirit of the collective. We are and will continue responding to the calls we are currently heeding. We are committed to our own healing, ancestral healing, and personal and political liberation, which for us means actively and creatively shaping the possibilities emergent from the trajectories curtailed by imperialist colonialism and neo-colonialism (Gopal, 2019). In this travel through time, we take forward the skills we have developed and the bonds of kinship we have grown.

To do so, we are taking some key decisions: we are winding down our limited company, and will no longer be taking commissions to train white staff. We believe this form of work needs to be undertaken by those who currently uphold white structures and only in pursuit of change at an institutional level. While we will retain and maintain resources on our website and social media, we refuse the additional emotional labour expended to combat or soothe white ignorance, guilt and fragility. We also refuse the labour of fighting intersectional capitalist structures that devalue, commodify and deny rightful compensation for our work.

At the same time, this experience brought into relief the magic we each bring to the table and what that means for what we make together. We laid out all our cards. We became foils for each other, allowing us to sharpen our vision of what the collective could be and what collective work can do. This vision includes walking directly into the unknown, building a reality that has not before been seen. BARC will continue to be a container for action, a shaper of change, a changer of worlds, recognising throughout that pleasure is a measure of freedom (brown 2017, 2019). We are committing to transformation as a practice of liberation.

A group photo of 24 workshop attendees, mostly women of colour, all skin tones and hair colours with colourful outfits, big smiles and positive energy. An Asian woman has an orange hijab, while a black woman is wearing a dashiki. few of them are holding up their right fists or a peace sign.Inaugural BARC Workshop Attendees, Oct 2018. Photo Credit: AMC Media

References

brown, a.m.b. 2019. Pleasure Activism. Chico: AK Press.

brown, a.m.b. 2017. Emergent Strategy. Chico: AK Press.

Gopal, P. 2019. Keynote Speech at International Critical Management Studies Conference, Milton Keynes, UK. 27 June 2019.

Activism

BARC Bank: Funding available for student-led anti-racist and decolonising projects

As a next step in our journey, BARC would like to fund student-led decolonising activities and anti-racist practice in higher education. Some examples might include: scholarly or creative/artistic events, establishing networks, hosting teach-ins, seminars and webinars. We are also happy to fund practical support for ongoing projects, e.g. costs of materials and supplies (digital or analogue), venue rental, production, publishing and printing.

Download the application form here.

Applications must be submitted by 15:30 on Saturday 26th October by email or in person at the Organising for Liberation event at QMUL. Please come to see us at 17:30 at the close of the day to find out if your proposal has been awarded funding. If you are not able to attend or stay till the end of the event, we will contact you with the contact info you provide.

Proposals will be considered according to the following principles:

  • Does the activity centre the voices and interests of students of colour? 
  • Does the activity help to expand, strengthen, or build upon existing efforts, networks, connections and communities? 
  • Is the activity feasible within the proposed budget?

N.B. Maximum allocation is £300. We have a limited pot of funding to distribute, so cost-effectiveness will allow us to fund more proposals! 

Send your applications to us at barcworkshop at gmail dot com or drop us a line at @CollectiveBARC on Twitter.