1st June 2021, 7pm to 8:15pm approx on Zoom. Free to attend.

Photo caption: Femi Nylander exploring a colonial archive, from the film African Apocalypse


Photo Histories: Colonialism and the Archive

“The violence of colonialism is not limited to history; it continues to shape the modern world.” - Rob Lemkin

The powerful new film African Apocalypse, airing on BBC2 on 22 May, tells the story of a young man’s journey across Africa in search of a colonial killer. It is an urgent and timely non-fiction retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

The film’s narrator and protagonist, Femi Nylander, a British-Nigerian poet, begins his journey exploring photographic archives that bear witness to the brutal violence visited on the people of Africa by Europeans. His investigation uncovers the long-lasting impact of colonial violence and reflects on the possibilities of a brighter future for postcolonial Africa.

This discussion event looks in particular at the importance of archives in revealing the workings of empire and imperialism. 

We are delighted to welcome the award-winning director of African Apocalypse Rob Lemkin; the film’s narrator Femi Nylander; and (by special pre-recorded interview) the film’s archive producer Morgane Barrier. The event is introduced by Redeye’s Paul Herrmann. 

We strongly recommend that everyone attending the discussion views the film beforehand. It airs on BBC2 in the UK on 22 May at 9pm, and is available on BBC iPlayer after that date. 


Photo Histories are delivered in partnership with The Photographic Collections Network.



Rob Lemkin has produced and directed over 50 documentaries for BBC, C4 and other broadcasters in UK and US. His last feature film, ‘Enemies of the People’ (2010) was a ground-breaking account of the Killing Fields of Cambodia which he wrote, directed, photographed and produced. One of the most lauded documentary features of recent years it won around 30 international awards including Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Best Documentary BIFA and Emmy for Best Investigative Documentary. The film and its sequel ‘One Day at Po Chrey’ (2012) were at the heart of the United Nations trial of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Femi Nylander is an activist, poet and actor of African descent hailing from Manchester in the UK. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 2016. He wrote and performed two critically-acclaimed TED talk poems, on migration and decolonial public health. He joined the “Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford” movement and appeared on the BBC’s Big Questions, Daily Politics and ‘The One Show’ to discuss decolonial history. He has appeared on Channel Four News (UK) on the subject of racism and featured in a Channel 5 (UK) series on the history of empire. He is a passionate campaigner around the topic of colonialism, both historical and present.

Morgane Barrier is an archive producer, researcher and writer based in France, working primarily on film and television documentaries. She is known for her work on African Apocalypse, Capital in the 21st Century (2019) and November 13: Attack on Paris (2018).


Online! You will need an internet connection and a computer, smartphone or tablet. 

This event takes place as a Zoom meeting. You are welcome to have your camera and mic on or off.


Watch live on Tuesday 1st June, from 7pm (until around 8:15pm).

Booking will close on on the day of the event at 4pm and we will then be in touch with everyone who has registered with the meeting code and password. 


Who is it for?
This event is free and open to all. You will need to make an account with us to register but you don't need to be a member. It should be particularly relevant to anyone interested in history, politics and the place of archives. And take a look at the rest of the events in our Photo Histories series.


Please register for free by 4pm on Tuesday 1st June to receive your invitation to the meeting.


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