In 2016 the pioneering writer Claudia Rankine pronounced that ‘the invisibility of black women was astonishing.’ This cluster of short pieces take us on sharp and thought-provoking journeys via, biography, historical memory, cultural archives and sound, to yield familiar, yet unsettling stories.

The Philomela Programme 2017

The four artists originate from literature, animation and fine art, together the work offers a range of styles and approaches – from the polyphonic to the deeply personal.

Something Said

Jay Bernard
In 1981 the New Cross Fire tragically claimed the lives of 13 young black people and was met with state, media and police indifference. Haunted by that history, and in the context of the recent rise of the far right, Something Said resurrects the spirit of Yvonne Ruddock, whose 16th birthday was being celebrated the night of the fire.


Beverley Bennett
A tapestry of voices reveals the multifaceted complexities and experiences of what it is to be a black woman in the UK today. Linking the realities of the every day with the historical legacy of the African Diaspora, the personal becomes political.

Mel’s Lament

Nicola Thomas
Drawing on the ancient Greek story of Philomela and Tereus, Mel’s Lament imagines a present-day version of the couple and the complexity of their relationship.

The Words I Do Not Have Yet

Phoebe Boswell
A salute to women in history who have used their bodies in protest when they haven’t been permitted to use their voices, this film reflects upon the collective strength and subversive potential of women standing together and using their voices in collaboration.

“A powerful collection that unveils the underexplored perspectives of black British women – as deliciously diverse in form as they are in story.” GAYLENE GOULD, BFI

“Urgent and timely – a new generation of directors step forward.” ADAM RUTHERFORD, AFTER NYNE MAGAZINE

These works were made possible by the enormous help of Karen Alexander, the generous financial support of Eric D Collins and Michael Prokopow and were produced by Jacqui Davies.