Before Them, We

Before Them, We is a multidisciplinary project by artist and cultural producer, Ruth Sutoyé. It explores the lives primarily of grandparents & inter-generational relationships of African descent in the UK, and how we archive and preserve oral histories. 

The project includes a photography exhibition and a series of events including, long table panels, a documentary photography workshop, an oral history workshop, and a poetry film screening. There is also an accompanying anthology, launching in 2022 and published by Flipped Eye Publishing, which pays homage to grandparents and the narratives of their lives that are lesser-known.

Before Them, We: Exhibition 

Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton SW2 1EF

12 August 2021 – 18 September 2021

Open Thursdays - Saturdays, 11:30am-5:00pm 


Before Them, We: Events Programme

21st AUG 2021, 12:00pm-2:00pm: Documentary Photography Workshop at Black Cultural Archives

2nd SEPT 2021, 7:00pm-8:30pm: Film Screening at Richmix

4th SEP 2021, 12:00pm-2:00pm: Oral History Workshop at Black Cultural Archives

9th SEPT 2021, 7:00pm-9:00pm: Preservation Long Table 1 at Roundhouse 

15th SEPT 2021, 7:00pm-9:00pm: Preservation Long Table 2 at Roundhouse 


For any queries, please contact Shanice Bryce at 

Supported by Arts Council England.

Submission Call: Before Them, We - The Anthology

Submissions are open - Call out for UK based Black poets of African descent

Deadline: Monday 7th June 2021

Edited by: Jacob Sam-La Rose | Curated by: Ruth Sutoyé

Before Them, We is a poetry anthology that will be published by Flipped Eye Publishing in 2022. This explores the lives of our grandparents and elders before the families they went on to establish, and the themes those lives encompass. We're asking for poems that pay homage to grandparents and the narratives of their lives that are lesser known. The preservation of histories is vital in documentation and this publication aims to highlight its importance.

Selected poets will receive a fee of £250 for their two poems. You must be available on Saturday 26th June at 12pm, to attend a collaboration session led by Jacob Sam-La Rose. You may also have the opportunity to perform at the physical anthology launch in London in 2022, which you will also be compensated for. 

Submission guidelines:

- Submissions are welcomed from UK based Black poets of African descent 

- We are looking for work that has not been previously published (in a book, magazine, online or social media)

- Whilst there is no line limit, please use at least font size 12 in Garamond, Times New Roman or Calibri

- Please send 2 poems (in a single PDF or Word Doc) to

- Please use Before Them, We Anthology as your email subject heading

Key dates:

The deadline is 11:59pm, Monday 7th June 2021 - poems sent after this period will not be read

- Decisions are to be made and by responses expected to be given by Monday 21st June 2021

- The collaboration session by Jacob Sam-La Rose will take place on Saturday 26th June at 12pm

After sending your work, you will receive a response within 3 working days to confirm that we have received your submission. 

If you have a question about the submission, please contact 

NB: We do not subscribe to the definition of political blackness.

Supported by Arts Council England.

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