How can we use portraiture to unearth erased or invisible histories or challenge colonial narratives? And what role does the radical imagination play in decolonial and intersectional curatorial practices and interpretations of portraiture? This event will engage with the practices of four practitioners who have worked extensively with art museum collections to foreground intersectional identities across race, gender, class and sexuality. We will understand how their practices situate care within their curatorial and learning approaches to foreground invisible and or erased identities, to decentre dominant modes of curation and democratise storytelling.


Curator and educator Bolanle Tajudeen is the founder and current director of Black Blossoms – an expanded curatorial platform dedicated to supporting artists from marginalised groups since 2015. In 2020 Bolanle launched the Black Blossoms School of Art and Culture, an online learning platform decolonising art education. She has partnered with Tate and Art on the Underground to bring wider knowledge and critical contexts to the creative practices of contemporary artists from marginalised backgrounds. Bolanle is also trustee of Block 336, an artist-run gallery and studio space in Brixton, London.

Carine Harmand (she/her) is an art curator focusing on transnational and transhistorical approaches to modern and contemporary art. She currently works as the John Ellerman Foundation Curator at Tate Liverpool, and is a trustee of Mimosa House, London, a space dedicated to platforming women and queer artists and focusing on the fluidity of identity. For the past four years, Carine Harmand was Assistant Curator of International Art at Tate Modern, London, where she worked on acquisitions from Africa and West Asia as well as curating the exhibitions Surrealism Beyond Borders and Zanele Muholi. Harmand has worked previously in a curatorial capacity in Cameroon, Mozambique and South Africa, and was co-curator of the exhibition I am Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria at the British Museum in 2018. She holds an MA in Archaeology and Curatorial Studies from the School of the Louvre, Paris and an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory from the University of Essex.

Serena Lee is an Associate Lecturer of Contextual Studies at the London College of Contemporary Arts. With a deep passion for art, fashion and cultural history, she utilises her expertise to uncover hidden stories from the past. She earned a BA (Hons) in Fashion Business and Promotion from Birmingham City University, where she developed a deep understanding of the fashion industry and its inner workings. Serena then went on to pursue an MA in Fashion Critical Studies from Central Saint Martins UAL, where she refined her analytical skills and developed a critical eye for the cultural and historical context of fashion. Alongside her academic pursuits, Serena is the founder of Georgian Diaspora, an innovative Instagram platform that showcases multicultural individuals in art history. Through her work, Serena is committed to exploring and highlighting the diverse and often underrepresented facets of visual culture that shape our understanding of the world. Serena’s research and expertise have been recognised by institutions including the Royal Maritime Museum, where she contributed to the Migration and Belonging project. She has also worked with BBC Radio 4 on a documentary exploring black beauty and hair. As a sought-after expert in her field, Serena has been invited to deliver guest lectures at prestigious institutions, such as the Courtauld Institute and Central Saint Martins UAL.

E-J Scott is the Stage 2 & 3 Leader of the BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism & Curation at Central Saint Martins (UAL). E-J’s curatorial practice segues queer and museum theory with community engagement. E-J is deeply committed to enabling marginalised groups to protest for social justice via the production of arts and heritage programming and in 2021, was the recipient of the UK Activist Museum Award for this work. In February 2023, E-J launched Trans Pride UK with the ambition of build a national network of trans collections housed in museums across the nation. This is a strategic move designed to archive trans joy as an antidote to the hysteria surrounding gender non-conforming minorities in the UK, whilst shifting the trajectory of the ethics of Pride organising from hedonism to heritage. Other creative social justice projects include curating the Museum of Transology, Queer & Now (Tate), West Yorkshire Queer Stories and DUCKIE. E-J is also increasingly interested in the queer potentiality of digital art to disrupt how society constructs gender. In 2022, they founded the British Digital Art Network (Tate/Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art) to establish a national curatorial collective focussed on answering the virtually impossible question– what is British digital art?

This conference is part of a series of events by the Understanding British Portraits network, programmed by writer, Black-Feminist Cultural Producer and Curator and agitator, Janine Francois.

Janine Francois is a Black British Feminist-Killjoy, Educator, Writer, Academic in Exile and Professional Heckler. Janine is known for their insightful, humorous as well as critical perspectives on race, whiteness, gender, and emotionality; their practices explore racial equity, intersectionality, care, and climate justice by way of writing, producing/programming, research, and teaching. Janine is a strong advocate of complaint activism and believes in abolishing the bio-industrial-complex; you either know who I am, or you do not, and both are okay. If you feel compelled to know more, you can follow me via Twitter/ Instagram at: @itsjaninebtw or visit my blog:

Museum, gallery and heritage professional, and academics engaged with portrait research, interpretation and display are invited to attend this free event.

Click here to book your place

For details on the second event in this series, Failure as Social Justice Praxis, click here.