The Birth of Cool with Carol Tulloch

Thursday 6 December / 6-8pm



£15 / £12 students | Book Online

Join writer and curator Professor Carol Tulloch in discussing individualized Harlem styles of the 1930s, taking inspiration from her book The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora. She will examine how images of the styled body that emerged during that decade came to symbolize what it meant to be black in America in the 1930s.

Carol Tulloch will present an illustrated reading from her book The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora about three examples of this: the 1932 James Van Der Zee photograph Harlem, a Couple Wearing Raccoon Coats, a self-portrait by Malvin Gray Johnson produced in 1934, and Billie Holiday’s performance of the activist song Strange Fruit and her use of a corsage.

The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora, (£21.99, Bloomsbury) examines how self-image has been used to express the diaspora experience over one hundred years. The book explores iconic as well as everyday people, with profiles of Billie Holiday and Malcolm X alongside teachers and bus conductors. The book ranges from the late-nineteenth century to the modern day and visits, among other places, Jamaica at the turn of the last century, Harlem in the 1930s and Doncaster in the 1960s.

Carol Tulloch, writer and curator, is Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism at the University of the Arts London based at Chelsea College of Arts. She is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her recent work includes co-editor of The Persistence of Taste: Art, Museums and Everyday life After Bourdieu (2018), the exhibition Jessica Ogden: Still (2017), the monograph The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora (2016), the book and exhibition Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism (2015).

The event starts at 6pm with a glass of wine in the Museum foyer and opportunity to view the current exhibition. The talk follows at 6.15pm for 6.20pm in the Fashion Studio and lasts for approximately one hour including an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a book signing in the foyer. Ticket includes admission to the exhibition and guests are welcome to view this before or after the talk.

£15 / £12 students. All tickets include a complimentary drink and exhibition entry.

Book Online
Numbers are limited for this event, please book early to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions about this event please complete our enquiry form.

The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the American Diaspora will be available for sale in the shop.

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