Staging Eastman: symposium

Drawing on the Otolith Group's film The Third Part of the Third Measure, this symposium focuses on the legacy of composer and musician Julius Eastman.

We are excited to stage a symposium on the work of the extraordinary African American composer and performer Julius Eastman (1940–90).

This is by no means the first event of this nature, but it provides a new context and an opportunity to progress, to penetrate further and assess the direction of travel. As in astronautics this journey necessitates stages of separation, of jettison, to sustain momentum and exploration. The institutional scaffolding of the University may not be the most appropriate platform for such an inquiry, but this itself is a fundamental question that the work imposes as a point of departure. 
By ‘Staging Eastman’ at the University of Leeds, we hope to engage his legacies by pressing the question of what a university in the north of the UK – with all of its diverse communities and legacies of colonialism – might offer.

How can we respond in kind to the latest outbursts echoed in the work of contemporary artists and performers?

And what work does the canonisation of Eastman perform on his work and legacy? 

This symposium is a highlight of our two-day programme exploring Eastman’s legacy, also featuring multiple screenings of the film The Third Part of the Third Measure by The Otolith Group – all part of the Tunings of the World, an activity of the Sadler Seminar Series.

Programme and speakers 

Biographies can be found on the Leeds Arts and Humanites Research Institute website.

Panel 1, 14:00–16:00

Led by Sam Belinfante (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies)
Panelists: Elaine MitchenerIsaac Jean-François, and Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Group.

Panel 2, 16:30–18.30

Led by Professor John Mowitt (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies)
Panelists: Dhanveer Singh Brar (University of Leeds), Nicola Singh (Manchester Metropolitan University), and Kodwo Eshun & Anjalika Sagar of The Otolith Group.

How to book

This event is free but booking is essential via Eventbrite.

Other events in this Sadler Seminar Series

Staging Eastman: performances
Howard Assembly Room, Leeds
Saturday 19 February, 17:00–18:15

The Third Part of the Third Measure: film screenings
Project Space, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
17 – 26 February

Further information

The project this seminar contributes to and develops is one whose constitutive inter-disciplinarity is designed to open this conversation to many.

At the same time, it reminds us all that attuning to a discipline often involves listening to what it only struggles to give voice to.

Find out more about Tunings of the World.


The Third Part of the Third Measure, 2017. The Otolith Group Installation at Van Abbemuseum, 2019. Photo: Peter Cox.