The Stuart Hall Project

The Stuart Hall Project: a Smoking Dogs film about revolution, politics, culture and the New Left experience is in cinemas 6 September

Highly acclaimed at this year’s Sundance and Sheffield Documentary festivals, the new film from Smoking Dogs’ award-winning documentarian John Akomfrah (The Nine Muses) is billed as “a sensitive, emotionally charged portrait of cultural theorist Stuart Hall“.

I discovered Stuart Hall in the early Seventies. He was the guiding light at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham. I was an art student/leftist/communist activist with a basic understanding of Marxist economic theory but struggling with a Marxist approach to art and contemporary culture. The left was not on it when to came to popular culture, sub cultures, the role of media and I needed to be on it. To my rescue came collection of essays from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies called ‘Resistance Through Rituals’,. It dealt with post war youth sub cultures from Teds to the Rastafari and I was blown away by an approach which transcended basic sociology by embracing Marxism, feminism, critical race theory and post-structuralism. Though I always found the latter to be hard going, these studies opened up a whole new way of looking at my immediate world.

For me, Stuart Hall is one of the most inspiring voices of the post-war Left and it’s great that Smoking Dogs have the the vision to explore Hall’s ongoing influence on British intellectual life which commenced soon after he emigrated from Jamaica in 1951.

Having just watched Akomrah’s poetic March On Washington I’m more than keen to see this film which combines extensive archival imagery – television excerpts, home movies, family photos – with specially filmed material and a personally mixed Miles Davis soundtrack.

According to the BFI website, “Akomfrah’s filmmaking approach matches the agility of Hall’s intellect, its intimate play with memory, identity and scholarly impulse traversing the changing historical landscape of the second half of the 20th century.”

Can’t wait!


6-19 September ICA / 6-12 September Curzon Renoir / 13-26 September BFI Southbank (Studio) / 16-22 September Cambridge Arts Picturehouse / 6-12 September Lighthouse Dublin / 16 September Lexi Cinema Kilburn / 13-20 September Hackney Picturehouse / 13-20 September Ritzy Brixton / 20-26 September Greenwich Picturehouse
/ 21-22 September Komedia Brighton / 26 September Barbican / 26 September Duke of Yorks Brighton/ 29-30 September Chapter Cardiff / 4 October Showroom Sheffield / 4-7 October MAC Birmingham / 26-31 October Watershed Bristol


About Paul Brad

Freelance journalist / Publisher / Editor - Straight No Chaser magazine / Editor - L FM : Broadcasting In A Pandemic - Gilles Peterson (Worldwide FM) / Publisher: From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: A History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene by Mark 'Snowboy' Cotgrove / Music Fan: Interplanetary Sounds: Ancient to Future / Cultural Event Consultant & Activist / Nei Jia practitioner
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