Cancel Culture in the West

Lecture by Manick Govinda

What is cancel culture? What is the mechanism behind it?

The Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art invites you to a meeting accompanying the exhibition Political Art, which will be hosted by the curator and writer Manick Govinda.

We all know about the threat to free expression in undemocratic, authoritarian regimes such as China, Asia and the Middle East where artistic freedom is a high price to pay, with threats of imprisonment or even death.However, in so-called enlightened Western nations such as the UK, USA and in Europe, we are seeing artists and intellectuals facing the pressure to self-censor, or the call for some individuals to be sacked from their positions or have their creative expression called out for being offensive to minority groups. This used to be the preserve of political or religious zealots, but now so-called progressives are shutting down artistic and academic freedom in art, literature, comedy and music.

Manick Govinda will highlight recent incidents of cancel culture in the arts and attempt to explain where this “progressive” censorship has come from, and why it must be opposed.

Manick Govinda is a writer and cultural commentator. He has appeared on Sky News, Russia Today and BBC Radio 4 and writes on diversity, freedom of expression and censorship in the arts.

Manick was formerly Programme Director for SPACE and previously headed Artsadmin’s innovative artists’ development programme for 18 years, which led to producing film & video installations by internationally acclaimed artists such as 2007 Turner shortlisted artist Zarina Bhimji, 2021 Venice Biennale representative for France Zineb Sedira and Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awardee Larry Achiampong, to name a few. He commissioned and co-curated a collection of artworks for the 5-star Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green in 2010-2012.

Manick also curates debates, talks and screenings on contemporary themes of identity, belonging, free speech and Brexit.

The lecture can be viewed here.

  • Lecture in English with simultaneous translation.


  • Meeting in the Auditorium Hall at the Laboratory building next to Ujazdowski Castle.


  • The number of places is limited.

  • Free tickets available at the information desk in the main hall of the Ujazdowski Castle.

  • Reservations: info@u-jazdowski.pl or +48 22 628 12 71 ext. 135 (we answer calls during exhibition opening hours)


  • Live broadcast on Facebook (Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski)