Tuesday, March 23, 6:30 p.m. EDT
Hassan Mahamdallie, international policymaker and playwright/director, will talk about his unique approach to arts policy, “The Creative Case for Diversity and Equality in the Arts.” This approach recognizes that art placed in the margins through structural barriers and antiquated and exclusive approaches needs to be brought to the center of our culture and valued accordingly. The Creative Case argues that innovation, the development of new forms and genres, and meaningful conversations between art and society have historically arisen from the margins, not the center. As a theatre maker, Hassan will discuss the limits of previous approaches to diversity and equality in the arts. He will argue that the politics of representation has run its course and needs to be replaced with a far more radical and egalitarian movement for change.
Hassan Mahamdallie is an internationally recognized specialist in equality in the arts and the author of Arts Council England’s unique approach, “The Creative Case for Diversity and Equality.” Prior to launching Creative Case, Mahamdallie advised on and launched many equality projects and regularly mentors individuals across all art forms. Mahamdallie was born in London into a large working-class Indo-Trinidadian/English family. He was trained in theatre and is an experienced actor, director, and playwright.
After completing an MA in Theatre Studies at Leeds University, he worked as an actor, devisor, and director in Theatre in Education and Community Theatre with radical companies including M6 Theatre Co and Pit Prop Theatre. Mahamdallie has worked as a campaigning journalist, covering major events including the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, state injustices, and black and working-class deaths in custody. He writes and speaks regularly on issues of race and racism, Black radical history, Islamophobia, and Muslims in British society. Publications include a popular biography of radical Victorian artist William Morris, Crossing the River of Fire; a series of educational monographs, Black British Rebels: Figures from Working Class History; the edited volume Defending Multiculturalism; chapters in Tell It Like It Is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children; and Say It Loud: Marxism and the Fight Against Racism, among others. Mahamdallie has recently returned to playwriting and directing with the critically acclaimed The Crows Plucked Your Sinews about Somalis in Britain and Britain in Somalia. He is currently working on a new play about the 1975 Spaghetti House Siege with support from the Albany and the Royal Court theatres.
Hassan Mahamdallie, Senior Officer, Diversity, Arts Council England, talks about how historically, the most powerful and striking art movements have come directly from the experience of oppression, diversity, and inequality as part of the Heads Up series of films for the Creative Case.