Black Womxn Doing Wake Work

Reappraisal processes in Afro-diasporic contexts often remain less visible and less recognized than high-profile interventions such as street renaming campaigns by political and civil society actors. These dynamics call for questions about who has access to these discourses of memory politics and whose perspectives are given space. This event aims to highlight the ways in which a critical reappraisal and engagement with Black, African and Afro-diasporic HER-story is taking place in diverse diasporic contexts. Sharpe's "wake work" is central to this, as she defines it as "a theory and a praxis of being Black in the diaspora" and as an engagement with "the paradoxes of blackness within and after the legacies of slavery's denial of Black humanity". Female figures of Afro-German history who impacted Black German History such as May Ayim can be understood as examples of "wake work" in Germany, in different time periods and circumstances.

April Has Been International Black Womxn’s History Month, and It’s About Time We Celebrate It Right!

On April 24, 2023, 4-7pm (CET) we open our space at HTW Berlin in ROOM WH H 001 and on zoom in order to engage in a public conversation among Black Academic female colleagues in the arts, culture, and academia in Brazil, Ghana, UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Key questions are:  What is "wake work" for us and what is its connection to Hamburg, Berlin and other parts of Germany, Europe, the Americas, and Africa? Where is our haven? What does reappraisal mean to us, and why do we invest our energy in these discourses? We hope to gather impulses to answer these questions and to work out what this has to do with our own work in the field of historical reappraisal.  Please let us listen and let us talk facts!

The event is an intervention in the academic space. It is intended to provide an insight into spaces that are often hardly visible due to dominance and power relations. At the same time, however, it also serves to network people from marginalized groups who are often overlooked.

QR-Code for the event or Link to Zoom:


Concept & Initiative

Andrea-Vicky Amankwaa-Birago


Mimi Hoang, Leipzig

Time Schedule

(All times are given in Central European Time CET)

  • 4:00 | Welcome | Andrea-Vicky Amankwaa-Birago (Hamburg/Germany)
  • 4:10 | Words of thanks and greetings | Dr. Pierette Fofana-Herzberger
  • 4:15 | Musical Intermezzo | Relax & Breathe with me (for audience on Zoom)
  • 4:20 | What "Wake Work" means to us - listen to sibling talk! | Andrea-Vicky Amankwaa-Birago (Hamburg/Germany), Natasha A. Kelly (Berlin/ Düsseldorf/ Germany), Jennifer Tosch (Netherlands), Sylvia Arthur (Great Britain/Ghana), Jess Oliviera (Brazil)
  • 4:30 | Keynote: Black German Womxn in the wake | Dr. Natasha A. Kelly (Presentation time: 20 min; question and answer time: 5 min)
  • 5 min break
  • 4:55 | Lecture: "Keep on driftin'": notes on translation in the Black Atlantic | Jess Oliviera (Talk time: 20 min; Q&A time: 5 min)
  • 5 minutes break
  • 5:25 | Presentation: Making Hidden History Visible in the Netherlands | Jennifer Tosch (Presentation time: 20 minutes; question and answer time: 5 minutes)
  • 5 min. break
  • 6:00 | Presentation: Excavating our stories: Black writers, African women & me | Sylvia Arthur (Presentation time: 20 minutes; Q&A time: 5 minutes).
  • 6:25 | Presentation: Anton Wilhelm Amo and his significance for Wake Work | Andrea-Vicky Amankwaa-Birago (Presentation time: 15 minutes; question and answer time: 5 minutes)
  • 6:55 | Words of thanks
  • 7:00 | End of the event
  • From 7:00 going| Breathe with me! (for listeners on zoom)