Artist Keith Piper discusses his new digital video, A Ship Called Jesus (Redux) (2021) with Professor Robert Beckford, Director, Institute of Climate and Social Justice, University of Winchester and Professor of Black Theology, The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham. Together they consider the complex relationship between people of African descent and Christianity, and the Blk Art Group’s covert, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes antagonistic, relationship with Black Christianity. This event is supported by Paul Mellon Centre.
This event is part of The Migrant Festival 2021.
Keith Piper is a Black British artist, curator, researcher and academic. In the early 1980s, Piper was a founder member of the Blk Art Group an association of young artists of African Caribbean descent, based in the West Midlands. During this period, he established a research driven approach to art practice, prioritising thematic exploration over an attachment to any particular media. His work has ranged from painting, through photography and installation to a use of digital media, video and computer-based interactivity. Piper currently teaches Fine Art at Middlesex University, London.
An educator for most of his life, Robert Beckford first taught adult literacy at Bournville College in Birmingham in the early 1990s. Then, he became the first-ever tutor in Black Theology at Queens College, Birmingham (1992-8), where he taught trainee priests and ministers for the Anglican and Methodist churches. He began teaching at the University of Birmingham in 1999, working first as a Research Fellow with black offenders at Birmingham Prison and then moving to the faculty staff in 2001. He is the author of seven monographs in the field of social criticism and theology.