In Conversation with Jeremiah Brown

By Elizabeth Edwards, BA English 

The Barbican’s ‘Subject to Change: New Horizons’ project launched in July and is focused on creating a platform for young minds to produce pieces in response to our times. One creative response is published each month, and pieces range from poetry to music and visual art. During the month of October, poets Jeremiah Brown and Gabriel Jones began a remarkable collaboration and The Spirit had the opportunity to ask Jeremiah Brown a few questions related to their project.  

How are you? How have you found working and creating in the current climate? As well as pandemic and politics, have you found any other challenges to your work recently? Where have you been finding your inspiration?

I’m calm. From a writing perspective the pandemic kinda is what it is now. Being able to connect up and create with people has changed a lot and that’s probably the biggest challenge. Linking up with people is difficult and things are often changing so you can’t make plans either. I’d say I’ve found my inspiration from books and TV. I’ve rewatched The Wire, I’m bingeing Modern Family at the moment, I’ve read Bloodchild by Octavia Butler recently. All that combined with just existing in this time has inspired me.

You have both taken part in this project before but separately. Could you tell me a little about your previous projects with the Barbican please?
The last time I did this it was ‘I’m Rooting For Everybody Black.’ That’s still the vibes, that’s always the vibes.

This year, you are collaborating. How have you found this process? Is it something that was completely new to you, or do you have any experience of working in collaboration? How is this manner of working different to working on your own?
Me and Gabriel have been working together for a while now. The process was a bit different this time because we’d been commissioned. We had a conversation about what we wanted to explore, went away and separately worked on some things, then brought together what we’d come up with apart. The structure of the track bears the signs of that process I think.

This year’s project is titled Subject to Change: New Horizons. What do you hope this ‘New Horizon’ to be?
I don’t even know, I think to me this one is about saying everything’s a bit mad right now.

Does the fact that it is Black History Month play a part in your piece this year? You touch on your thoughts on this in your most recent podcast episode. Would you like to expand on this for our readers?
Last time I did this I had February which is BHM in America. This time it’s October and BHM in the UK. It’d be hard to talk about the past month, or the lockdown period and not speak about race so in that sense I don’t think BHM has impacted the project that much.
Lol, my thoughts on BHM. I’m not a big fan of the idea of reducing Black History down to a single month as opposed to it being incorporated into education all year round. That said, if it didn’t exist I don’t think it would be incorporated all year round, so if this is what we’ve got, let’s expect organisations to do it properly. On The Sugar and Dread Podcast I was asking for the bare minimum, if you’re doing a BHM event then please book Black artists not white ones. That’s how I feel.

And finally, what work can we look forward to seeing from both of you in the coming months?

We’re working on a project together. Hopefully that’s coming in the next few months. I’ve been writing short stories. I might share some of those on a blog in the next few months.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Jeremiah and Gabriel’s piece which was published on the Barbican website. There have already been three fantastic projects published, including one by The Spirit’s very own Culture Editor, Destiny Adeyemi, so be sure to have a read.
“Being able to connect up and create with people has changed a lot and that’s probably the biggest challenge.”Be sure to keep an eye out for Jeremiah and Gabriel’s piece which was published on the Barbican website. There have already been three fantastic projects published, including one by The Spirit’s very own Culture Editor, Destiny Adeyemi, so be sure to have a read.

Photo Caption: Jeremiah Brown. Credit: Reneé Maria.

Post Author: SOAS Spirit

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