M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Rita Gayle

University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

The Collective Utopia: Black British Feminists Creative Escape from the Margins of Society

The ‘Collective Utopia’ makes reference to the millennial generation of Black feminist, womxn and non-binary collectives presently working to establish themselves in Britain’s creative and cultural industries. These creative collective groups have formed to act as a point of resistance to exclusion and a line of communication to gaining inclusion. The creative and cultural industries are Britain’s most dynamic response to managing the nation’s post-industrial economy and yet its Black employee figures have remained stubbornly low. The aim of the project will be to evaluate the spatial activities, content and forms of Black feminist, womxn and non-binary collectives located in Britain as they navigate their exclusion/inclusion in these industries.

Research Area


Gayle, R. (2020), Creative Futures of Black (British) Feminism in Austerity and Brexit Times. Trans Inst Br Geogr. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/tran.12381


2020 - Academic Conferences:

Black Geographies Workshop - UC Berkeley (March 2020)

Presented paper: ‘Creative Futures of Black (British) Feminism in Austerity and Brexit TImes'

MeCCSA 2020 - Brighton (January 2020)

Panel Chair - Young Women's Interactivisms                                                                                        

Panellist - Diversity in the Media Roundtable

Panellist - Black Feminism and Media Practices in Britain

Presented paper: ‘Dangerous Liaisons within and beyond Corporate Media’

2019 - Academic Conferences:

The Art of Not Doing Conference - Birkbeck (October 2019)

Panel Chair: 'Publicness'

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference - London (August 2019)

Presented paper: 'Collective Methodologies as an Anti-Racist Praxis'

Intersectionality and the City - De Montfort University (June 2019)        

Presented paper: 'Apocalypse Now: Urban Renaissance and the War on Intersectionality'

Society for Caribbean Studies PG Conference - Birmingham (February 2019)

Presented paper: 'Black British Culture as 'Modern Blackness'

2018 - Academic Conferences:

History of Women in the Americas Annual Conference - L.S.E. (July 2018)

Presented paper: 'Black British Women's Activism in 'The Now'

On Whose Terms? Ten Years On - Goldsmiths (March 2018) 

Presented paper: 'Black, British, Feminist: Creative Collective Expressions in the Brexit Era'

Public Engagement & Impact

2020 - Public Engagement and Impact:

'Millennial Black Feminists Creative Collectives 2020' (October 2020)

Funded by the 'Support the People who Support their Communities' CrowdFund.

Three beautiful, creative micro shorts made in celebration of Black womxn's lives across Britain.


Surviving Society Podcast E010 The Guest Reflections (May 2020)

‘Telling It Like It Is: Placing Black scholarship during COVID-19’

A topical and critical conversation between three emerging UK based scholars.


2019 - Public Engagement and Impact:

Narration Group: Curriculum 003 - South London Gallery (September 2019)

Workshop Lead: 'Black Feminist Collectives'


Politics of Pleasure, ICA-London (July and September 2019)         

Co-Curator of two one-day festivals celebrating Black feminist identity, community and creativity.


Urban Roots of Creative Black Culture, MAC Birmingham (February 2019)

Panellist: International researchers assembled to debate gender, the city and creativity in African and Caribbean cultures


2018 - Public Engagement and Impact:

London Feminist Film Festival 2018, Genesis Cinema (August 2018)

Panel Chair: 'Constellation of Activism' global shorts series around women mobilising for change 

Fugitive Feminism, ICA-London (July 2018)

Panellist: On Fugitivity - In conversation with Saidiya Hartman

Collective Member: The Politics of Pleasure Installation and Workshop



Awards, Grants and Scholarships

Support the People who Support their Communities CrowdFund (June 2020)

1 of 25 Black Feminist-led groups/individuals who shared this grassroots funded award.

Anticipating Black Futures Symposium - Birmingham, UK (May 2019)

Co-organiser of the highly regarded event supported by a £2,700 M4C CDF Award