Photo: Still from Something Said (Dir. Jay Bernard, UK, 2017)

Jay Bernard

Something Said

The New Cross Fire was a major tragedy in 1981 that claimed the lives of 13 young black people and was initially met with state, media and police indifference. Haunted by that history, and in the context of the recent rise of the far-right and the tragedy of Grenfell, Jay Bernard’s film Something Said, and their award winning poetry both undertake a queer exploration of black British history, starting with this particular moment in time and examining its ramifications at two scales: the larger social and political rupture that followed the fire, and the smaller, individual attempt to reconcile one's queer present and the black radical past. Drawing from the debris of history, Jay’s writing explodes the homogeneity of our times, interspersing it with ruins to reveal a wider perspective of life in the UK, where past and present are folded within each other on both social and intimate scales.

Jay Bernard is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They won the 2018 Ted Hughes Award for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981. Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row.


Image Description: A still from a film, in which Jay's head, in dark silhouette is shown against a deep blue background. In front of it, hexagonal shapes (maybe lens flare from the camera) dot the image, in various shades of sulphur yellow, red and blue-white.

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