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Name: Rita Gayle

PhD: Geography

Thesis Title:

The Collective Utopia: Black British Feminists' Creative Escape from the Margins of Society


Thesis Description:

The ‘Collective Utopia’ makes reference to the millennial generation of Black feminist groups presently working to establish themselves in Britain’s creative and cultural industries. These creative collective groups have formed to act as a point of resistance to exclusion and a line of communication to gaining inclusion. The creative and cultural industries are Britain’s most dynamic response to managing the nation’s post-industrial economy and yet its BAME employment figures have remained stubbornly low.The aim of the project will be to evaluate the spatial activities, content and form of Black feminist collectives located in Britain as they navigate their exclusion/inclusion in these industries.

The research will analyze the online and offline activities of the collective case studies and the responses of their audiences as a way to interrogate the impact of co-option into the mainstream has upon the case study members. The potential application and impact of this research lies in the opportunities to recognize the processes in which identities can affect their status using social media and how this value can be transferred into a real-world society. The data is also intended to add to the ongoing dialogue in support of bridging the sector’s diversity gap.


Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Patricia Noxolo and Dr Jessica Pykett, University of Birmingham



Academic Conferences:

Society for Caribbean Studies PG Conference (February 2019)

Presented paper: Black British Culture as 'Modern Blackness'

Public Engagement and Impact:

Urban Roots of Creative Black Culture, MAC Birmingham (February 2019)

Panellist: International researchers assembled to debate gender, the city and creativity in African and Caribbean cultures


Public Engagement and Impact:

London Feminist Film Festival 2018, Genesis Cinema (August 2018)

Panel Chair: 'Constellation of Activism' global shorts series around women mobilising for change


Fugitive Feminism @ The ICA-London (July 2018)

Panellist: On Fugitivity - In conversation with Saidiya Hartman

Collective Member: The Politics of Pleasure Installation and Workshop


Academic Conferences:

History of Women in the Americas Annual Conference - L.S.E. (July 2018)

Presented paper: 'Black British Women's Activism in 'The Now'

On Whose Terms? Ten Years On - Goldsmiths (March 2018) 

Presented paper: 'Black, British, Feminist: Creative Collective Expressions in the Brexit Era'


Awards, Grants and Scholarships

Midland4Cities C.D.F. Award of £3,000 - Anticipating Black Futures Symposium, May 2019


Other Research Interests:

  • Film-maker
  • Writer

University email address:




RGS-IBG Postgraduate Fellow