Event Information

Since the early 1980s, John Akomfrah’s moving image works have offered some of the most rigorous and expansive reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, both in the UK and around the world. MAC will be presenting The Unfinished Conversation to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of his seminal film installation, a moving portrait of the life and work of distinguished cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, who led the Cultural Studies department at the University of Birmingham from 1964. 

In the footage, Hall discusses his discovery of his personal and ethnic identity. Extracted images from news footage of the 1960s, alongside Hall’s personal home videos and photographs, are presented to merge the past, present and future. Akomfrah’s multichannel video works have evolved into ambitious, multi-screen installations shown in galleries and museums around the world. 

The artwork contains strong and sometimes challenging imagery, including historic depictions of violence and suffering. Visitor discretion is recommended. Please ask a Visitor Assistant if you would like more information. 

Presented as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Loaned courtesy of Lisson Gallery and the artist. An Autograph ABP Commission, Produced by Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, Smoking Dogs Films, in collaboration with Professor Stuart Hall. Executive producer Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph ABP.

Project funded by Grants For Arts, Arts Council England and supported by the Bluecoat, New Art Exchange, Nottingham and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University, Boston, Royal College Inspire Programme and Smoking Dogs Films Production.  With kind support from NAXOS Books, The Open University, BBC, Time/Image and Getty Images.

John Akomfrah The Unfinished Conversation, 2012 Three channel video installation, 7.1 sound 45 minutes 48 seconds (AKOM120001) © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

MAC is grateful to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for support of the related activities of this exhibition through the Windrush Day Grant Scheme.