Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics

Collaborative Future Fictions

The Collaborative Future Fictions symposium celebrated the culmination of a series of workshops that ran from November 2017 to May 2018. It was an afternoon and evening of workshops, presentations and performance that continued to explore sym-fictions and speculative and visionary storytelling. It took place on Thursday 5th July 2018 from 3-9:30pm at O N C A Gallery, 14 St George’s Place Brighton BN1 4GB
Approximately 55 people attended the event.

The symposium was inspired by the Camille Stories of Donna Haraway and friends, and the Visionary Fictions of Walidah Imarisha, it was a central part of a series of artist-led events on the positive power of science fiction with Jacob V Joyce, Karla Sweet, Beverly Naidus, Irene Fubara-Manuel and others, offering alternatives to dystopia, and celebrating new creative approaches to addressing difficult issues.

Programme and outputs
View the event poster for full information about the programme.

ONCA commissioned a film maker to document the event and consequently now has a series of short films online with highlights of the day, follow the links below to check them out:
Jacob V Joyce
Fen Rose
HOAX
Karla Marie Sweet
Kin’d and Kin’d

The event brought together a diverse group of people from academia, the arts and activism. We were delighted to have Walidah Imarisha join us from the U.S. via video-conference. Cardiff University Research Fellow and ‘imaginactivist’ Joan Haran took part as an attendee.
The event was free, making it as accessible as possible, and attendees included wheelchair users and participants from demographic groups who face barriers to inclusion in arts events. Participants came from Sussex, London and Wales.

photo: Melina Campos, ONCA

Feedback
We asked people giving feedback on the event to answer the question, What are your visionary dreams and ideas? Responses from participants included:

• I wish more people dressed up
• Feel the world with real emotions
• Pre-industrial levels of biodiversity restored
• This moment
• Communities eradicating trauma from human & more-than human lives
• Like a utopia but a lot more messy
• I want friends to play football and make art on weekdays
• A world where everybody is a genderless space monkey
• Dream your impossible dream… What is the world we want?
• Bike Lanes instead of motorways. Circular housing pods.
• Unstoppable tidal waves of empathy. Kindness Olympics!
• A world where crying and screaming are encouraged
• A vegan world of equality and peace
• A re-balancing of our eco-systems
• Creative, fun, equality, love, doing well, satisfied, safe, learning always

Impact
Mycelia threads from the event continue to grow in various directions. The support from SECP was an important component of a successful funding proposal by ONCA for support from the Arts Council for a summer programme of Visionary Fictions activities. The programme challenged mainstream climate change narratives, generating empowering visions of the future and supporting audiences and participants to differently imagine futures and create visions for just and habitable worlds. Scratch night artist Fen Rose returned as a panellist on a subsequent Visionary Fictions event, Beyond Ableism. Joan returned for a talk event in collaboration with US-based socially-engaged artist Beverly Naidus in September. ONCA have now produced a video from the symposium and the Visionary Fictions summer programme.

Elona Hoover delivered a workshop on collaborative future fictions at El Tras Patio Cafebreria, an independent bookshop in Morelia, Mexico in September 2018, developing into ongoing collaborations with artists, academics and activists in Mexico.

Elona Hoover and Kate Monson co-produced a zine with input from participants at the symposium and kin events – printed with support from the SECP Research Centre. You can also view it online: see the web-version of the zine.

CFF zine photo folded CFF printed zine poster side

Sources/links:
Joan Haran
Walidah Imarisha
Jacob V Joyce
Karla Marie Sweet
ONCA Gallery and ONCA Arts You Tube channel

Julie Doyle • October 15, 2018


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