This walk follows the Revisiting the Essex Witch Trails walking trail, a commemorative walk which re-frames history to give voices to the often over-looked women accused of witchcraft, created as part of the Snapping the Stiletto: Campaigning for Equality programme.
Image credit: Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here (2019) Film still, Tilbury Docks, Essex, HD video with sound, duration 13:40 mins. Image: Andy Delaney
Meeting Point: Opposite The Mistley Thorn Hotel
Difficulty of walk: Easy
Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea are pleased to be partnering with Essex Book Festival for a series of Radical Walks across Essex, as part of their Radical ESSEX programme, re-examining the county in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture.
Elsa James is a British African-Caribbean conceptual artist and activist living in Essex since 1999. She studied as a mature student at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London (2006–10) and Goldsmiths College, University of London (2013–15). Her work intervenes in the overlapping discourses of race, gender, diaspora and belonging. Her black British identity ignites her interdisciplinary and research-based practice, located within the fields of contemporary performance, text-based art, socio-political and socially engaged art. Her works employ recovery, recollection, and the archives, to examine ideas surrounding regionality of race and black subjectivity. Forgotten Black Essex (2018) and Black Girl Essex (2019) explore the historical, temporal and spatial dimensions of what it means to be black in Essex; England’s most misunderstood, and, homogeneously white county.
She has presented, screened and exhibited projects nationally, and online internationally, including Autograph (ABP), London; Axisweb, Wakefield; Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend; Big Screen Southend at Focal Point Gallery, Southend; The White House, Create London, London; Cubitt, London; Firstsite, Colchester; Furtherfield, London; Magic Me, London; Metal Culture, Southend; RadicalxChange Conference, New York; Site Gallery, Sheffield and Tate Exchange at Tate Modern, London. She was selected as one of four co-curators for the live digital opening weekend for Estuary 2021 and her work recently acquired as part of Art XUK for the Government Art Collection.
Best known for her Essex Witch Museum Mysteries (Strange Magic, Strange Sight, Strange Fascination, Strange Tombs, Strange Tricks) Syd Moore is also the founder of the Essex Girls Liberation Front, who successfully campaigned to have the definition of ‘Essex Girl’ removed from the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary in 2020. In the nineties she presented Channel 4’s book programme, Pulp, and regularly appears on television, radio, at universities, on political panels and at festivals. Her writing has been described as ‘Dennis Wheatley meets Caitlin Moran’.