Book Launch and talk: Isaac Julien and The Black Archives

A conversation between Isaac Julien and The Black Archives
Official book launch of Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass

Saturday, 9 October 2021
3:00 – 5:00 PM

3:00 PM: Doors Open
3:30 PM: Welcome words by Ron Mandos
3:45 PM:Talk Isaac Julien and The Black Archives
4:45 PM: Official Book Launch
5:00 PM: End of event


We are delighted to invite you for our upcoming Talk and Book Launch on Saturday 9th of October. Between 3:00 and 5:00 PM we host an inspiring talk between Isaac Julien and The Black Archives. Founder Mitchell Esajas and Researcher Isabelle Britto will speak with Isaac Julien about archiving black history. They focus on important historic figures such as the American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, while discussing American and Dutch histories of slavery. How do we deal with these histories in our present time and what understanding did Black Lives Matter protests bring forth?

After the talk we have the honor to host the official book launch of Isaac Julien’s new catalogue Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass. Isaac Julien will present the very first special edition of the catalogue to Stijn Huijts, director of the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht.

Read more about the event and the speakers below

RSVP for Book Launch and Talk

If you would like to attend the talk, please RSVP by clicking here or on the button above. There’s a limited number of seats available. Make sure to reserve your ticket on time as there’s a limited number of seats available in the gallery. If you’re unable to attend the talk, we will share it on our Instagram TV on Sunday 10th of October. Follow us on Instagram here.

Catalogue: Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass 

Isaac Julien’s new catalogue gives an insight in the life of Frederick Douglass: the great orator, abolitionist, freedom fighter, and art collector, who was at the forefront of human rights in the 19th century. The book contains essays by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Deborah Willis, and Paul Gilroy amongst others and includes pictures of the photographic series by Isaac Julien, the film and its various installations all over the world. An interview with the artist and Douglass’ Lectures on Pictures are also published in this comprehensive catalogue.

Pre-order the book now by clicking here or on the button below.

Pre-Order Catalogue

The Black Archives

The Black Archives is a historical archive and cultural centre that consists of multiple book collections, archives and artefacts that are inheritances from black writers and scientists. The Black Archives offer literature written from subalternate perspectives that have been underexposed. Their collections hold over 10.000 books which handle themes of racism, slavery, colonialism, gender, feminism, social studies or give information about Surinam, The Dutch Antilles, South America, Africa. The intention of the collection is to make Black Literature, knowledge and information accessible.

The Speakers

Mitchell Esajas (the Netherlands, 1988) is co-founder of New Urban Collective, a network for students and young professionals from diverse backgrounds with a focus on the Surinamese, Caribbean and African diaspora. Esajas studied Business Studies and Anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2016 he co-founded The Black Archives in Amsterdam, a cultural center based on a unique collection of books, documents and artefacts documenting the histories of Surinamese and Black people in the Dutch context. The Black Archives develops exhibitions and public programs based on the collections and urgent societal issues.

Isabelle Britto is a historian and assistant researcher at The Black Archives. After she obtained her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Amsterdam, she completed a master’s program in North American Studies at Leiden University, where she focused her research on African American history and stories of Black American intellectuals such as W.E.B Du Bois. As a freelance researcher she is also currently working on a documentary about Black resistance in the Dutch context, and has recently guest-curated an exhibition about anansi stories for the CBK Zuidoost. Within The Black Archives she is part of a research team with which she conducts research into a variety of topics, from current anti-black racism in the Municipality of Amsterdam to (racist) portrayals of black people from the 19th century to the present.



ABOUT Isaac Julien

Sir Isaac Julien, CBE RA is a critically acclaimed British artist and filmmaker. In 2018, Julien joined the faculty at the University of California Santa Cruz where he is a distinguished professor of the arts and leads the Isaac Julien Lab together with Arts Professor Mark Nash. Current and recent international solo exhibitions include: Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi — A Marvellous Entanglement, CentroCentro (Panorama Madrid), Madrid, Spain, on view until 29 August 2021; Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour, McAvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco (2020–2021); Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi — A Marvellous Entanglement, MAXXI, Rome (2020–2021); Isaac Julien: Western Union: Small Boats, Neuberger Museum, New York (2020); Isaac Julien: Frederick Douglass: Lessons of the Hour, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah (2019); Looking for Langston at Tate Britain (2019); and Playtime at LACMA (2019). Julien has previously exhibited at venues including Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), Art Institute of Chicago (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2012), and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005). Julien is the recipient of The Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award 2017 and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2017.

Isaac Julien was born in 1960, London, UK
He lives and works in London, UK and Santa Cruz, CA