Research on Black freedom has the potential to re-orient the field of Black studies toward how Black artists and intellectuals use the idea, experience and expression of freedom to respond to oppression and assert their agency to combat it. As Canada Research Chair in Race, Gender and Performance, Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae aims to create a body of artistic work that contributes to Black expressive culture and Black studies by examining what Blackness and freedom mean in the 21st century.
She and her research team are studying how Blackness and freedom are imagined in Black expressive culture. They are also creating new artistic works in fiction, video, music and theatre about Blackness and freedom and sharing these works to advance public and academic discourse. By creating these artworks, they aim to demonstrate how Black people exercise agency and assert freedom in the face of various forms of oppression.