Art Film

Royal Academy Festival of Ideas : Amma Asante: hidden stories on the big screen


The RA Festival of Ideas will return in April, bringing together great minds in art, literature, film, theatre and dance for five days of electric discussion, debate and creative thinking in the Royal Academy’s Benjamin West Lecture Theatre. Headline speakers including artist Rachel Whiteread, theatre and film director Nicholas Hytner, author Tracy Chevalier, artist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe, choreographer Wayne McGregor, artist and Royal Academician Tacita Dean, playwrights Abi MorganJames Graham, and Roy Williams and film writer and director Amma Asante will discuss their creative practice and share ideas on current cultural, social and political themes. Building on the RA’s heritage of rigorous debate, the festival will explore culture, creativity and critical thinking through a series of interviews, conversations and panel discussions, as well as an adult life drawing workshop and family workshops in the Royal Academy’s historic Life Room and the Clore Learning Centre.

Amma Asante joins journalist and broadcaster Afua Hirsch for a conversation charting her trajectory to award-winning director.

They discuss her directorial debut A Way of Life, which explores multiculturalism in Britain, and BAFTA winning Belle, which shed light on the journey to the abolition of slavery in the UK.

Discover how Asante has used her recent films to explore the prejudices of the 1940s British establishment, the treatment of people of colour in Nazi Germany, and the stories of relationships formed in the most difficult conditions.

This talk will include an audience Q&A at the end.

The Royal Academy of Arts has always been a place of passionate debate. Many ideas that shaped British art began here. Today, the conversation is moving into ever-more challenging, provocative territories – but we have no intention of shying away.

Returning for a third year this April, the Festival of Ideas brings together practitioners and innovators from the creative world to discuss their artistic practice and share ideas on the cultural, social, environmental and political themes of our time.

Previous speakers range from world-famous artists and musicians to film and theatre makers, museum directors, activists, writers, poets, authors and illustrators. Visit our iTunesSpotify or SoundCloud channels to listen to past speakers including Don McCullin, Es Devlin, Paul Smith, Elif Shafak, Neil Tennant and Tamara Rojo.

The full line up will be announced shortly. The festival runs 29 April – 3 May 2020

Catch Amma on Saturday 2 May 2020 –

12.30 — 1.30pm

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