EDUCATION AND LEARNING

 

2020-21 - Syllabus VI, Alternative MA Programme with Wysing Art Centre, Eastside Projects, iniva, Spike Island and Studio Voltaire, UK

2013-15 - Postgraduate Certificate, Participatory and Community Arts, Goldsmiths, University of London

2006-10 - BA First Class (Hons) Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

 

2022 - Othered in a region that has been historically Othered, Focal Point Gallery, Essex 

2019 - Black Girl Essex, Firstsite, Essex

2018 - Forgotten Black Essex, Chalkwell Hall, Metal Culture, Essex

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2023 - Precarious, Curated by Jess Twyman, Art Exchange, University of Essex (Forthcoming)

2022 - Love, Celebration and the Road Ahead, TJ Boulting, London 

2022 - Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2021, South London Gallery, London

2021 - Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2021, Firstsite, Essex 

2020 - Policy Making: The Agency of Visible Women, Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex

2019 - Super Black, Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme exhibition, Firstsite, Essex

2019 - Time Portals, Curated by Ruth Catlow, Furtherfield (Gallery), London

2018 - The Agency of Visible Women, Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex

2012 - Already Here, Curated by Osei Bonsu, Central Saint Martins, London  

SCREENINGS

2023 - Othered in a region that has been historically Othered, Precarious, Art Exchange, University of Essex (Forthcoming)

2022 - Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here, Floor Five Collective, Goldsmiths CCA, London 

2022 - Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here, Big Screen Southend Associated Programme, Focal Point Gallery, Essex

2022 - Forgotten Black Essex, Big Screen Southend Associated Programme, Focal Point Gallery, Essex 

2021 - Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here, Firstsite, Online

2020 - Forgotten Black Essex, part of the Essex Girls exhibition, Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex

2020 - Forgotten Black Essex: Princess Dinubolu, One Southend BHM Event, Online

2020 - Black Girl Essex: Here We Come, Look We Here, IWD event, Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex

2019 - Love in Social Practice, Going Places Festival, Cubitt and All Change, London

2018 - Forgotten Black Essex, Big Screen Southend, Focal Point Gallery, Essex

2018 - Goat Curry & Rap, The Agency of Visible Women, Beecroft Art Gallery, Essex

2011 - Inscriptions, Last Friday Shorts, The Old Waterworks, Essex

 

COLLECTIONS

2022 - The Black Essex Flag (2019), Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend, UK

2021 - The Blackness Series Prints: Work Nos: 4, 5 and 7 (2021), Private Collection (London) UK

2021 - The Blackness Series Prints: Work Nos: 4, 5 and 7 (2021), Government Art Collection, UK

2021 - The Blackness Series Mini Prints: Work No: 4 (2021), Private Collection (Southend) UK

 

 

GRANTS AND AWARDS

2022 - Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award (Nominated) UK

2022 - Othered in a region that has been historically Othered, New body of work, Project Grant, Arts Council England

2021 - Freelands Award (Finalist with Focal Point Gallery) UK

2021 - Bloomberg New Contemporaries, UK

2021 - THIS IS ESSEX, Ten-month period of research and development, Project Grant, Arts Council England

2020 - Emergency Response Award, Arts Council England

2019 - Black Girl Essex, Firstsite residency and new work, Project Grant, Arts Council England

2018 - Forgotten Black Essex, Research and new work, Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England

2013 - The Chatterbox Project, Workshops and sound installation, Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England

 

PRESS, PUBLICATIONS AND FEATURES 

2022 - The Essex Life 50 Most Influential People List, Essex Life magazine, November online

2022 - Beecroft Art Gallery acquisition of The Black Essex Flag (2019), cited on pp. 80, Art Quarterly winter issue, in print

2022 - Settlers: Journeys Through the Food, Faith & Culture of Black African London, Jimi Famurewa pp. 256-7, 258, 260-1, 262, 270

2022 - Othered in a region that has been historically Othered, exhibition review by Matthew Bowman, Art Monthly, issue No. 459

2022 - Words for Essex poem in Southend’s Twilight Worlds, edited by Elliot Gibbons, ISBN: 978-1-9998994-5-5

2022 - Re-imagining Essex July 2022 Diary by Jonathan Evens, Artlyst online

2022 - What it means to be Black Girl Essex by Hettie Judah, The i Paper, in print and online

2022 - Catch Elsa James’ first solo exhibition, The Voice Newspaper, online

2022 - Elsa’s Essex, Essex Life magazine, June issue in print and online

2022 - Southend artist Elsa James’ new exhibition explores “what it means to be black in Essex", The Echo (Southend) newspaper

2021 - Intersections in the Art of Elsa James, by Dr Jon Blackwood, published by Firstsite and Metal, ISBN: 978-0-948252-47-1

2021 - Reclaiming Essex: Michael Landy RA and Elsa James, Feature article, Art Quarterly summer issue, in print and online

2020 - Essex Girls: For Profane and Opinionated Women Everywhere book by Sarah Perry, cited on pp. 8

2020 - Art by the Water feature by Rick Jordan, Condé Nast Traveller magazine in print and online

2020 - How a Black slave brought to Harlow left behind a legacy remembered for centuries by Elliot Hawkins, Essex Live Online

2020 - The Black princess who took on a white Southend community and caused national uproar by Elliot Hawkins, Essex Live Online

2020 - Black Girl Essex editorial featured by Nicky Adams, Essex Life magazine in print and online

2020 - Scarlet Lipstick and Theology, quoted in Sarah Perry’s essay, Guardian Review in print and online 

2020 - Place 2020, contributing writer, Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University online 

2020 - The Great Women Artists Podcast, Chloe Austin talk with Katy Hessel, Episode 29 online

2020 - The Black British Artists Challenging Super White Britain by Chloe Austin, Black Ballad online

2019 - Super Black exhibition review by Matthew Bowman, Art Monthly, issue No. 432 Dec- Jan

2019 - Coming Out as a Black Essex Girl contributing feature article, Trawler X EGLF newspaper publication

2019 - The black princess who ‘took on a white world by Laurence Cawley, BBC News online

2019 - I want to challenge people’s perceptions by Darryl Webber, Essex Chronicle newspaper

2019 - Exhibition on Black identity and experience in Essex, by Darryl Webber, Essex Chronicle newspaper

2019 - Elsa James shows just what an Essex Girl looks like, by Neil D’arcy, Colchester Gazette newspaper

2019 - The black artist taking on the ‘Essex Girl’ stereotype, by Dawn Gerber, BBC News online

2019 - Firstsite presents three film works by Elsa James, Art Daily online

2019 - Black identity exhibition, Essex Enquirer newspaper

2019 - Reflection of different cultures at Firstsite shows, by Neil D’arcy, Colchester Gazette newspaper

2019 - Southend artist Elsa takes exhibition to Firstsite gallery, by Kelly Ann Buckley, The Echo (Southend) newspaper

2019 - Exhibition explores black identity in Essex, Essex Chronicle newspaper

2019 - Exhibition to celebrate park’s 150th anniversary, Enfield Independent newspaper

2019 - The Invention of Essex, Cited by Tim Burrows, Long read Guardian newspaper

2019 - New Ways of Seeing, Making & Telling, Commissioned contribution, a-n The Artist Information Company online

2018 - Essex black history film closes, by Kelly Ann Buckley, The Echo (Southend) newspaper

2018 - Forgotten Black Essex, cited on pp. 27 -28 by Tim Burrows, Radical Essex book publication by Focal Point Gallery

2018 - Artist responds to forgotten black Essex, by Kelly Ann Buckley, The Echo (Southend) newspaper

 

 

COMMISSIONS 

2023 - WE STAND WITH YOU, Black Lives Matter Special Limited-Edition Print, Firstsite X People Dem Collective (Forthcoming)

2023 - A Place With A Heart: A Place To Grow, Vinyl Artwork, Mayesbrook Children's Centre, (Create London) (Forthcoming)

2022 - A Place With A Heart: A Place To Grow, Permanent Artwork, The White House (Create London) 

2021 - A Place With A Heart: A Place To Grow, Procession, The White House (Create London) 

2020 - New Town Culture Programme, Exploring local histories with foster families, The White House (Create London)

2020 - In Other Words, Book publication, Contributing artist, Metal and the Live Art Development Agency

2020 - WE STAND WITH YOU, Black Lives Matter poster download, Firstsite, Essex

2020 - Generation Rebellion R&D, Co-lead Artist with Sue Mayo, Intergenerational workshops and Zine, Magic Me, London

2019 - Circle of Blackness, Exploring a past and future black woman narrative, Furtherfield, London

2019 - Love in Social Practice, Artist film, Cubitt, London

2018 - Decorum, Co-lead Artis with Sue Mayot, Intergenerational workshops and film, Magic Me and Metal Culture, Essex 

2016 - The Garden of Remember, Lead Artist, Development of Digital App, Southend Borough Council, Essex

2015 - Changing Face of the Rise, Producer and Lead Artist, Community Engagement, Thurrock Council, Essex 

2015 - Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Southend, Community Researcher commission, Written Report, CAST, Essex

2014 - Covered, Producer and Lead Artist, Workshops and Public Exhibition, Essex County Council, Essex

 

RESIDENCIES

2022 - Elsa James at Essex, Five-month research residency, Art Exchange, University of Essex 

2020 - Remote Residency, Selected artist for month-long residency focusing on new research, Metal Southend, Essex

2019 - Black Girl Essex: Four-month residency exploring the black British voice in Essex, Firstsite, Essex

2017 - E+E: Five-month Time and Space residency with Everton Wright, Metal Culture, Essex

2013 - Switch Ideas Lab: Five-day residency, Arts Council England Digital Escalator programme, Writers’ Centre, Norwich

 

CURATORIAL

 

2022 - Othered in a region that has been historically Othered, Solo exhibition, Focal Point Gallery, Essex

2021 - Walking in the Wake: Michael McMillian and Dubmorphology, Estuary 2021 Opening Weekend, Online 

2021 - During the Hour of Darkness: James Jordon Johnson and Shamica Ruddock, Estuary 2021 Opening Weekend, Online 

2021 - A Short History of Nearly Everything: Antonio Roberts, Estuary 2021 Opening Weekend, Online

2021 - Jeannette Ehlers, Fiona Compton & Aleema Gray, Panel discussion, Estuary 2021 Opening Weekend, Online 

2019 - Super Black, Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme exhibition, Firstsite, Essex 

 

SELECTED APPOINTMENTS AND WORKSHOPS 

2022 - Visiting Lecturer on Graduate Diploma in Art, Goldsmiths, University of London 

2021 - Lead Artist, Holiday Fun Summer programme, Firstsite, Essex 

2021 - Devised activity, Discover Essex with Elsa James, Holiday Fun Half-term programme, Firstsite, Essex 

2021 - Artist Mentor, George Morl for the Agency of Visible Womxn and The Old Waterworks residency, Online

2020 - Artist Selector, New moving image works for Big Screen Southend programme, Focal Point Gallery, Essex  

2019 - Panel Artist Judge, New Voices Auditions, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - Lead Artist, Change the Conversation, Young women’s 4-day Art and Activism Project, Autograph ABP, London

2019 - Panel Selector, Social Art Network + Kickstarter PBC, Coaching Programme, London

2019 - Lead Artist, Social Art Assembly, Lab sharing and discussion, Tate Exchange, London

2018 - Lead Artist, Social Art Summit, Participatory lab discussion and debate, Site Gallery, Sheffield

2018 - Nominated Artist, No Shortlists experimental Joshua Sofaer workshop, Social Works? Axisweb, London

2018 - Co-lead Artist, Alexandra Leykauf Caprona workshop for Start Children’s programme, Focal Point Gallery, Essex

2017 - Co-lead Artist, Hilary Lloyd Theatre workshop for Start Children’s programme, Focal Point Gallery, Essex

2017 - Lead Artist, 50 Notable Black Britons: Black History Month drawing workshop for Basildon residents, Essex 

2015 - Artist Facilitator, NetPark Education Programme, working with primary pupils, Metal Southend, Essex

PUBLIC TALKS AND INTERVIEWS

 

2022 - Re-entering the Artworld, discussion chaired by Hettie Judah, TJ Boulting, London

2022 - Live Radio Broadcast on Woman’s Hour with Anita Rani: 15/07/22, BBC Radio 4, London

2022 - Guided walk and talk with Syd Moore, Focal Point Gallery and Essex Book Festival, Essex

2022 - Interview with Ekow Eshun, Focal Point Gallery, Exhibition booklet and published online 

2022 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Sadie Nine show: 27/06/22, BBC Essex, Essex

2022 - Emotional Labour of Social Practice Artists, Speaker, Social Art Network, Online

2021 - BEING OTHERED IN A REGION THAT HAS BEEN HISTORICALLY OTHERED, CAMP, Online

2021 - Intersections in the Art of Elsa James, book launch and talk, Estuary Festival, Online

2021 - Working Class British Art Network, Discussion with Sean Edwards and Aidan Moesby, British Art Network, Online

2021 - In Conversation with Sepake Angiama (Artistic Dir, Iniva) and Jon Blackwood (Writer & Curator), Firstsite, Online

2021 - Artist talk with Q&A, part of the British Libraries Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, Suffolk Libraries, Online

2020 - Artist talk, POC in the Industry, Blackground Black History Month event, University of the Arts London, Online 

2020 - In Conversation with actor/writer Anne Odeke, Queens Theatre Hornchurch, YouTube Video

2020 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Ian Wyatt BBC Introducing show: 12/10/20, BBC Essex, Essex

2020 - Panellist with Marc Garrett, Cassie Thornton and Tomislav Medak, RadicalxChange Conference, New York, Online

2020 - In Conversation with artists R.M Sanchez-Camus and Sian Williams, Axisweb, Online

2020 - Artist discussion with Q&A, Quarantine Dialogues curated by Jon Blackwood and Maja Zeco, Online

2020 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Sonia Watson breakfast show: 08/06/20, BBC Essex, Essex

2020 - Artist Talk with Q&A, PEER Ambassadors programme, PEER Gallery, London

2019 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Ben Fryer and Sonia Watson breakfast show: 22/11/19, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - Artist Talk with Q&A, Norwich University of the Arts, Norfolk

2019 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Dave Monk Drive time show: 17/10/19, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - TV News Presentation Feature on BBC Look East: 16/10/19, BBC, Essex

2019 - Live Radio Broadcast, The Essex Girl stereotype panel debate with Emma Bullimore: 30/07/19, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - TV News Feature on BBC London: 24/07/19, BBC, London

2019 - TV News Feature on BBC Look East: 22/07/19, BBC, Essex

2019 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Kath Melandri Saturday Breakfast: 29/06/19, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - Live Radio Broadcast on the Tony Fisher Show: 27/06/19, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - Live Radio Broadcast, Windrush Diversity Panel on the Jodie Halford Show: 19/06/19, BBC Essex, Essex

2019 - No Frills Working Dinner Party, part show, part discussion with Scottee & Friends, The Albany, London

2019 - The Guilty Feminist Live Tour panel chat with Deborah Frances-White, Cliffs Pavilion, Essex

2019 - Artist Talk with Q&A, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

2019 - Artist Talk with Q&A, School of Art and Digital Industries, University of East London, London
2018 - Forgotten Black Essex, Presentation with Q&A for BHM18, The Sixth Form College, Essex 

2018 - Who am I? Identity and Belonging, panel discussion with Q&A, Focal Point Gallery, Essex
2018 - The Archive & Historical Geographies of The Black Presence, Talk, panel discussion with Q&A, Autograph, London
2018 - Radio interview for Peter Holmes Sunday Breakfast: 18/02/18, BBC Essex, Essex
2018 - Babble Arts Chat, Internet Radio interview on Forgotten Black Essex, Essex
2017 - Stories of Resistance and Solidarity, International Women’s Day panel discussion, Metal Culture, Essex

2016 - Three-Minute Wonder, Future Parks, Metal Culture, Essex
2014 - Essex Girls Guide to Life with Syd Moore, Show guest, Independent Radio, Essex

2013 - Three-Minute Wonder, Future Parks, Metal Culture, Essex
2012 - Video interview, Chelsea Alumni, Chelsea College of Arts YouTube Channel, London