Freedm in the City

Freedom in the City: Festival of Learning was a series of events coming out of Fairfield House, Bath, the former residence of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw of Ethiopia, in partnership with the University of the West of England.

From April - October 2021, the festival explored the legacy of the Ethiopian Royal Family living in the city of Bath, and was a wider celebration of Ethiopian and Rastafari cultures, and connections with the UK.

All of the events of the festival have been archived, and can be viewed below.

What was the Freedom in the City Festival of Learning? Watch this short video and find out.

Watch the festival events below.


Footsteps of the Emperor film screening + Q&A
Chaired by Rob Mitchell
Q&A with film’s Director Shawn Naphtali Sobers and Benjamin Zephaniah
To watch recording of the event – click here

Representations of Saint George in Ethiopian art and culture
A journey into the fascinating Ethiopian manuscripts in the British Library collection.
Talk by Eyob Derillo
Chaired by Rev. Nigel Rawlinson, Bath Abbey
To watch recording of the event – click here


Exploring Emperor Haile Selassie’s time living and travelling in Britain – 1936 – 1940
Talk by Keith Bowers
Chaired by Marlene Bertrand
To watch recording of the event – click here

Mystical connections between Bath and Ethiopia
Talk by Ras Benji
Chaired by Ras Hugo Makepeace
To watch recording of the event – click here


Contemporary Rastafari Art – symposium

Exploring the inspirations behind some of work of the world’s leading Rastafari artists.

Tafari Gallery curator Kingsley Jahsiah with 

Lois Cordelia, Colin Murray, Abba Yahuda Selassie and Ras Elijah Tafari
To watch recording of the event – click here



History and Theology of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Talks by Rev. Abate Gobena, Dr Cressida Marcus and Anansa Auguste
Chaired by Professor John Strachan
To watch recording of the event – click here

History and Theology of Rastafari Livity
Speaker – Ras Shango
Chaired by Aleema Gray
To watch recording of the event – click here



Emperor birthday symposium

Exploring the Residences of Emperor Haile-Selassie
Guided tours between Addis Ababa and Bath – The HIM international network of residence sites
Dr. Takele Merid, Pauline Swaby, and William Heath with the moderation of Keren Kuenberg
and welcome note by Princess Esther Antohin, are inviting you to join this one-of-a-kind remote live tour.

To watch a recording of the event – click here



King Solomon and Queen of Sheba Opera – online screening event + Q&A
Watch the video of this epic opera and meet composer Juwon Ogungbe, 

Movement Director Gabriella Solano, and actress Alison Crookendale.
Q&A chaired by Dana Saxon

To watch a recording of the event – click here


The story of Sylvia Pankhurst and the Anglo-Ethiopian Society
Talk by Dr Angela Raven-Roberts
Chaired by Dr Penelope Wickson
To watch a recording of the event – click here



Supporting our Elders and Communities
The Emperor’s Gift in Action)
The African-Caribbean and Asian communities in Bath, and
fulfilling the wishes of the Emperor in the care for the elders at Fairfield House

Talk by Pauline Swaby
Chaired by Princess Black
To watch a recording of the event – click here


My Ethiopia in Art
Artist talk by Rediat Abayneh
Chair – Jennifer Sharratt
To watch a recording of the event – click here

The life and work of Empress Menen Asfaw
Speaker – 
Natika Selassie

Q&A joined by Askala Selassie
Chair – 
Oluwatosin Onile-Ere-Rotimi, Imperial Voice presenter
To watch a recording of the event – click here


Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Service at Bath Abbey

To watch this event – click here


The Emperor’s closest friend – The Life and Work of Blattengeta Herouy
Speakers – Prince Dr Asfa-Wossen Asserate and 
Dr Shawn Sobers
Chaired by Jennifer Sharratt

Introduced by Liz Chege
In partnership with Africa in Motion
To watch this event – click here


African Queens symposium
Symposium exploring Black women in leadership, and Bath’s generations of influential Black women.
Speakers tbc
Chair – Christelle Pellecuer

To watch this event – click here


Rastafari and music (talk)
Speakers – 
Dr Lez Henry
To watch this event – click here


Researching Rastafari in academia
Re-interpreting Knowledge is an interdisciplinary symposium bringing together early career
researchers exploring Rastafari heritage, philosophy and culture.

Aleema Gray, Yentyl Williams, Malcolm Richards, Ras Benji, Hilde Capparella and Joseph Powell.

Chaired by Dr Shawn Sobers and Professor Robbie Shilliam

Organiser – Aleema Gray
To watch this event – click here


Fairfield House in Bath’s heritage identity 


The session will seek to locate Fairfield House and HIM’s legacy within Bath’s 

broader heritage identity. Is it accepted as a core part? Or does it sit on the edge 

and need to find its own way independently, with messaging that is outside 

 the mainstream of Bath’s heritage history?

Chaired by Fairfield House CIC Chair William Heath, 

Guests: Barry Gilbertson, Dr Amy Frost and Ras Shango Baku. 

To watch this event – click here


Live Closing Event – Music Performances and Film Screening

Specially commissioned music performance by Chloe Rose Laing and Mohamed Errebbaa,
poetry by commissioned poet Vanessa Melody,
and screening of commissioned film by Yuko Edwards.
To watch this event – click here


 Dreadlocks in Education

Panel discussion on the need to protect children wearing dreadlocks in the school system.

Chaired by Rob Mitchell of Bath Black Families.

Guests: Malcolm Richards, Princess Black, Simbah Pilé and Professor Shawn Sobers.

To watch this event – click here


University of the West of England

Digital Cultures Research Centre

Bath Abbey

Imperial Voice Radio

Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association

Critical Race and Culture Research Network

Bath Black Families Education Support Group

Ethiopian Orthodox Church UK

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Dr Shawn Sobers

Freedom in the City, Festival Director 

Jennifer Sharratt

Freedom in the City, Festival Producer

Funded by and in partnership with

Imperial Voice radio
<< Jul 2024 >>
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
Please note:
All of the events in this proposal have Covid-19 contingency plans to become online events in the event of another strict lockdown. Also please note that even if social life returns to normal all of the events will be recorded or streamed live, attracting audiences who are unable to travel, and reaching international viewers through these means.