Past Events

Experiments in Art Writing

Podcast – Roger Robinson

  • 5 May 2021
  • The British Art Talks podcast is an audio series from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. It features new research and aims to enhance and expand knowledge of British art and architecture.

This series, Experiments in Art Writing, features a set of highly innovative UK-based art writers, asking them to describe the encounters, materials, voices and texts that have shaped the very form of their writing.

Award winning writer Roger Robinson talks to Anna Reid about the interplay of poetry with painting and portraiture.

A Young Girl with an Enslaved Servant and a Dog

Bartholomew Dandridge, A Young Girl with an Enslaved Servant and a Dog, circa 1725, oil on canvas, 121.9 × 121.9 cm. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1981.25.205). (Public domain)

Works referenced in this episode

  • Roger Robinson, ‘A Meditation on a Portrait of a Trinidadian Woman (The Artists Servant)’, The Butterfly Hotel (Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 2013).
  • Natasha Trethewey, ‘Mestiso’, Thrall (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).
  • Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2019).
  • BiennaleChannel, ‘Biennale Arte 2013 - Lynette Yiadom-Boakye', Youtube Video, 4:13, 11 June, 2013, Stuart Hall, ‘Ofili in Paradise: Dreaming in Afro’, The Long Read, Victoria Miro, accessed 4 May, 2021,
  • Roger Robinson, ‘A Young Girl with a Dog and a Page, Bartholomew Dandridge, 1725’, A Portable Paradise (Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 2019).

About the speaker

  • Black and white head and shoulders portrait.

    Roger Robinson is a writer who has performed worldwide. He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019, RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020 and RSL Fellow. He was chosen by Decibel as one of fifty writers who have influenced the Black-British writing canon. His latest collection A Portable Paradise was a New Statesman book of the year. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works and was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, commended by the Forward Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2020.

    He has received commissions from the National Trust, London Open House, BBC, the National Portrait Gallery, V&A, INIVA, MK Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist.

    He is an experienced workshop leader and has toured extensively with the British Council. His workshops have been part of a shortlist for the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries and were also a part of the Webby Award winning Barbican’s Can I Have A Word. He is co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound and has also recorded solo albums with Jahtari Records.