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The Case of Mary Seacole

Care-Work, Historical Culture and Attention Economy feat. BERRY BROWN FACES


A Serial Performance by Friederike Felbeck

Haus der Universität, Schadowplatz 14, Düsseldorf

Free of charge, please register as space is limited: 0211 81 10345 or .

Entry: 18:45

The biography of Mary Seacole, who was born in Jamaica in 1805, died in London in 1881 and ran the so-called ‘British Hotel’ near Balaclava, during the Crimean War, is highly unconventional. She was celebrated by the veterans she had cared for. More recently she has been recognised as an iconic Black historical figure, not only in Jamaica but also in the UK. Today she appears to be outshining Florence Nightingale in some contexts. For more than a century, however, Mary Seacole had fallen into oblivion, despite the fact that she had published Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands in 1857, an autobiographical account which details her experiences as well as her attitude to, and understanding of, care. Falling into oblivion is a fate that Seacole shares with countless other women of more or less note. In the multimedial performance BERRY BROWN FACES, the first part of a series of fictive encounters between pioneering historical women, she will meet Julia da Silva, Heinrich and Thomas Mann’s Brasilian mother. Julia Mann is a notable presence in her sons’ literary works. Her own process of ‘becoming’, of finding an identity between two cultures, transpires in her narrative, dedicated to her five children, Aus Dodos Kindheit.


Participating artists:

Mariana Senne was born in Sāo Paulo, Brazil and lives in Berlin. She is a theatremaker and performer who explores intercultural practices, developing new forms of staging from a feminist perspective. She was founding member of Cia. Sāo Jorge de Variedades, one of Brazil’s most innovative theatre groups. She obtained her MA in the programme DAS Theatre at the Amsterdam University of the Arts and been a researcher at the University of Hildesheim. As performer she habitually works with independent collectives and directors.

Azizè Flittner was born in New York and grew up in Bonn, Moskau, Bujumbura/Burundi. She is a theatre actress and is living and working in Cologne.

Francisco Bernardi is a student and lives in Düsseldorf.  

Friederike Felbeck is a director, writer and producer. After her studies with Jürgen Flimm, she worked as personal assistant to Armand Gatti und Roberto Ciulli. Her debut after Pasolini´s Pig´s Stallwas followed by productions of both classical and contemporary authors at municipal theatres and in the independent scene as well as international productions in Kazakhstan, Singapore, Syria and most recently Finland and Ukraine. She has written plays about fine artists Eva Hesse and Alexej von Jawlensky, poet Rose Ausländer and composer Clara Schumann and developed performances concerned with urban development and architecture. Since 2016 her focus has been the creation of new music theatre. Along with Alla Zagaykevych, she is currently writing a chamber opera dedicated to Eastern European nursing staff in Germany.


Podium participants:

Regina Schober is Professor for American Literary and Cultural Studies at HHU Düsseldorf and a member of the Centre for Translation Studies. She is the authored of the recently published book ‘Spiderweb, Labyrinth, Tightrope Walk: Networks in American Literature and Culture’. Her current research is situated at the intersection of literature and digital media, theories of failure and digital ethics of care.  

Yagmur Karakis is a researcher in the field of Global History at HHU Düsseldorf and a lecturer at the University of Cologne. She is working on a a doctoral thesis on “Research Trips to Cameroun 1911-1913 as Colonial Contexts” and is responsible investigator of a project of the same title funded by the German Lost Art Foundation. She is the initiator of the local network Düsseldorf postcolonial and active member of the association RheinlandGlobal.  

Ana Kreter, PhD, is a Brazilian economist who has been based in Germany for the past 12 years. She has turned her passion for agriculture into a professional focus and currently coordinates the project Agroforst Reallabor at the Centre for Research, Innovation and Transfer at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. Integral to her research in the lower Rhine region are the three pillars of sustainability and a range of social actors.  



Eva Ulrike Pirker is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at VUB Brussels and an associated member of the Centre for Translation Studies. In her research she explores the relation between social narratives on the one hand and literary/artistic forms on the other, most recently in the EU-funded project Meritocracy and Literature: Transcultural Approaches to Hegemonic Forms, in which travelogues by ‘self-made’ women are one of the text forms explored.

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