We consider the cultural dimensions of transnational solidarity with African liberation movements from the 1960s-80s. Focusing on nexus points of education, festivals, images and print media, we ask how exchange between Africa and the socialist world provided platforms for new futures.
Recent research on the transnational networks of African liberation movements has offered new insight into the intertwined histories of international socialism, revolutionary nationalism in Africa, and local solidarity campaigns. Several studies have focused on the distribution of Soviet, Cuban and Chinese diplomatic and military aid in Africa from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, but what is less well documented is the more informal circulation of people, ideas and images into, and out of the continent, through the socialist and non-aligned networks of the time. Seeking to foreground the cultural dimensions of transnational solidarity with African liberation movements, this panel invites contributions that critically engage with the modes or nexus points of exchange between Africa and the socialist world. The convenors welcome case studies including (but not limited to): education; festivals; conferences; visual arts; touring exhibitions; film; graphic design and print media. Equally welcome are critical reflections on questions including: What were the aesthetics of socialist solidarity? How did individuals experience and respond to these networks? What is the enduring potential of these networks today? Locating our enquiry in the interstitial spaces opened by the politics of solidarity, we consider how cultural platforms offered possibilities for imagining, and confronting, new, internationalist futures.