What does it mean to be Afro-European?

What does it mean to be Afro-European?

Afroeuropean Network Conference - 22-24 September - VUB

On Thursday 22 September, the ground-breaking Afroeuropeans Network Conference begins at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The biennial conference is the result of a long collaboration between academics, writers, artists and activists from which the International Afroeuropeans Network was also born. The theme of this eighth biennial is Intersectional Challenges in Afroeuropean Communities.

What constitutes Afro-European communities? Where do “race” and ethnicity end, where do gender, class, sexuality, ability, age, citizenship status, language begin? And where is the common denominator? The conference explores how various processes of privilege and discrimination interact, creating complex and dynamic experiences of what it means to be Afro-European. And in what ways do Afro-Europeans take their place as part of European society and identity?

The conference addresses the dynamics arising from the growing decolonisation movements and their calls to rethink the dominant modes of knowledge production and representation. The conference aims to be a place of exchange about such different layers of intersectionality, and about activism and scholarship.

The event has a multi-layered and varied programme. Following topics might be of interest:

  • On Friday 23 September, a guided tour will take place at 12.30 at the WeDecolonizeVUB Library, in Building F. Contact Latifa Abdou, latifah.abdou@ucos.be, 0499 50 17 83
  • On Friday 23 September, you can also visit the exhibition in Building I: Love and Intimacy in a Postcolonial Era, by Iyallda Iffy Tillieu, sponsored by the VUB Center for Art History, Architecture and Visual Culture. Contact Wetsi Mpoma, info@wetsi.gallery).

On the following topics, be sure to contact our VUB experts:

  • The Black Lives Matter movement in Europe – Folashade Ajayi, Folashade.Ajayi@vub.be, (EN, DE)
  • Antiracism pioneers in Belgium - Ilke Adam, BIRMM, Ilke.adam@vub.be, 0475 38 87 27 (NL, EN, FR)
  • On the establishment of a master’s in Decolonialization in Belgium - Iman Lechkar, Iman.Lechkar@vub.be (NL, EN, FR, AR)
  • Decolonialisation in Bioethics - Dirk Lafaut, Dirk.Lafaut@vub.be (NL, EN)
  • Uber and race, the contemporary proletariat - Nada Ladraa (NL, EN)

The keynote speakers are:

  • Olivette Otele, professor at SOAS, University of London. She has received several major research grants on the history of the African diaspora and the Atlantic slave trade. Her most recent publications are the co-edited volume Post-Conflict Memorialization: Missing Memorials and Absent Bodies and African Europeans: An Untold History.
  • Kehinde Andrews, an academic, activist, author and one of Britain’s leading black political voices. His major books are Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century and Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality, and the Black Supplementary School Movement.
  • Mireille-Tsheusi Robert, whose activism, training and writings deal with racial issues. She is currently president of Bamko, a French-speaking Belgian association fighting racism. She actively contributes to the public debate on racial discrimination, postcolonial reparations, the restitution of African cultural goods, decolonisation of public spaces and the visibility of colonial history in education.

The conference is organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, specifically by and with the following research centres: the Research Center for Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality (RHEA), the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Migration and Minorities (BIRMM), the Center for Literary and Intermedial Crossings (CLIC) and the research group Histories of Art, Architecture and Visual Culture (VISU).

It is co-organised by, among others, the Africa Platform of the Association University of Ghent (GAP), the Brussels Center for Urban Studies (BCUS), the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), and a large number of other institutions in Belgium.


Elisabeth Bekers (CLIC, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) (NL, EN)


0477 99 22 91


Annelies Verdoolaege (Africa Platform, Ghent University Association) (NL, EN, FR)


0486 65 40 46

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