News and updates from ERIF!

We hope you are well and healthy this summer; safe from the flooding across parts of Europe and able to enjoy the lovely sunshine. Here are the latest updates and activities from ERIF over the past few months. 

Digital postcard featuring an excerpt of Bel Parnell-Berry’s and Noémi Michel’s editorial as a Quote of Resistance, design by Burobraak Social Design @ERIF.

We began 2021 following the long-awaited publication of our fantastic special issue at Darkmatter Journal: (De-)Facing the dark face of Europe; the on-going struggle against blackface and anti-Black racist imagery. Check out all of the amazing contributions (originally presented at our 2014 Returning the Gaze: Blackface in Europe conference) via the new Darkmatter Journal website, here

For her contribution to our special issue, ERIF member Dr. Noémi Michel won the 2021 G.E.R.R.I. Junior Scholar award from RIM at their G.E.R.R.I. symposium, which honoured the life and work of researcher Dr. Geraldine Rosa Henderson. Additionally, Noémi – alongside ERIF chair Dr. Bel Kerkhoff-Parnell – published an essay in a special issue for ISRF Bulletin (edited by RIM) about our Darkmatter Journal publication. Check it out here

Meanwhile, throughout 2021 ERIF has worked with Jenny Oliveira Caldas on our Quotes of Resistance 2 campaign, to promote the contributions of the special issue to a broader audience via social media. This campaign will soon come to a close, but you can still follow the discussion and see the beautifully designed quotes (by Burobraak Social Design) via the campaign’s website, as well as via ERIF’s Twitter and especially Instagram.  

Also in 2021: we are very pleased to announce we have published our sixth Sinterklaas Brand & Product study, following and analysing the use of specific imagery for seasonal merchandise and advertising campaigns. In this year’s report, we especially focused on the impact 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests had on the subsequent Sinterklaas festival in the Netherlands, and its (lack of) usage of the Zwarte Piet character. Bel and fellow ERIF member Martijn Kerkmeijer presented the latest results from this longitudinal research at the first NIAS conference on Studies of Belonging in June 2021. You can download, read and share the full report here

Infographic with data from the 2021 Sinterklaas Brand & Product study. Year-on-year data showing products per grade (%) 2015-2020. The grades between those shown above (1, 5, 7 and 8) show a general movement towards more problematic versions of the Piet character, culminating in use of racial stereotypes and blackface.

We look forward to sharing more, exciting news with you on upcoming activities and campaigns very soon. You can always check out our website and social media for regular updates, or drop us a line at For now though, we wish you all an enjoyable and relaxing summer. Thanks for reading!

Much love, 

The ERIF team 

Want to support ERIF’s activities and campaigns? Either by working with us, volunteering or making a donation? Find out all you need to know via our website (click here). 


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