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Artsformation Cover Image Framework for Resilience

Framework for Resilience

This is a three-part series of online conversations bringing together activists, artists, researchers and educators to think about the world we are creating, the world we are destroying, the systems which will fall, and those which should prevail. The event has now past, but you can listen back to the podcasts by clicking on the Resources tab below.

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Part of the The Living Planet season

Framework for Resilience is a three-part series of online conversations which bring together activists, artists, researchers and educators to think about the world we are creating, the world we are destroying, the systems which will fall, and those which should prevail. This online event is part of The Living Planet, FACT’s year-long season which focuses on the non-human, and deals with themes such as climate change, ecology and communication, as well as the violence of ‘othering’. The invited speakers are from diverse areas of research, corresponding to the intersectionality of the topics and of FACT’s approach to programming.

This wide-ranging series of conversations broadly focuses on how we all experience the natural world. Speakers consider the ways in which we can better align ourselves with the needs and desires of our environment, as well as of every being within it. Their ever-evolving ways of working examine the social structures and control which prevent this, and create methods or technologies to disrupt, alter or dismantle these.

These conversations will inform our programme for the rest of the year which focuses on systems of knowledge and classification in the formation of identity and the exercise of power. They form part of Artsformation, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Artsformation seeks to identify new ways of working, specifically at the intersection between art, society and technology, to overcome current social crises including justice, democracy and climate.

The title for these sessions is taken from an artwork, PESTS, by FACT Together artist, Shonagh Short.

Session One: Ecological Empathy

11 February 2021, 2pm - 4pm, Hosted by Lesley Taker (Exhibitions Manager, FACT)

This session, mediated by artist and researcher Luiza Prado de O Martins, will focus on the dismissive and destructive ways colonial powers have overtaken the natural world, extending the same attitudes to those who call these spaces home. Foregrounding the importance of empathy and practices of care, we will discuss the effects of taking a more mindful and generous approach to the places we live, and our neighbours. Reframing our role as one of caretakers (of culture, the planet, one another), and encouraging positive action and education, we can begin to see the way to a more inclusive form of co-existence.

Mediated by Luiza Prado de O Martins (Artist, Researcher)

Dr. Luiza Prado de O. Martins is an artist and researcher whose work examines themes around fertility, reproduction, coloniality, gender, and race. We invited Luiza to mediate the discussion for her extensive speaking experience, and doctoral research interests. In 2019, she was selected as the recipient of the Vilém Flusser Residency for Artistic Research with her project “The Councils of the Pluriversal: Affective Temporalities of Reproduction and Climate Change.” She was also, in 2019, the recipient of the first Dieter Rückhaberle Förderpreis, awarded by the Künstlerhof Frohnau. She is a founding member of Decolonising Design.


Dr Edna Bonhomme is a writer, historian of science, and cultural worker. She holds a PhD in the History of Science from Princeton University and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University. As a researcher, Edna’s work interrogates the archaeology of (post)colonial science, embodiment, and surveillance. A central question of her work asks: What makes people sick? She answers this by exploring the spaces and modalities of care and toxicity that shape the possibility for repair. Edna's creative work is guided by decoloniality, care, and African diaspora world making. She has collaborated on and exhibited multimedia projects at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Galerie im Turm, Display Gallery, Savvy Contemporary, and other interdisciplinary spaces. Edna has written for publications such as Africa is a Country, Al Jazeera, analyse & kritik, The Baffler, Der Freitag, The Nation, The New Republic and more.

Céline Semaan-Vernon is a Lebanese-Canadian designer, writer, advocate and public speaker. She is the founder of Slow Factory Foundation, a 501c3 public service organization working at the intersection of environmental and social justice, which produces a conference series promoting sustainability literacy called Study Hall, and the first science-driven incubator in fashion called One X One. She is on the Council of Progressive International, became a Director's Fellow of MIT Media Lab in 2016, and served on the Board of Directors of AIGA NY, a nonprofit membership organization that helps cultivate the future of design in New York City from 2016-2017.

Shonagh Short is a socially engaged artist based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. They make participatory, playful work that uses language in its widest sense, including metaphor and everyday visual language, as a lens to explore class, gender and society. Aesthetically they are influenced by their working-class background, utilising everyday items as materials in order to unpick preconceived notions and distinctions between high and low art, cultural value and societal status. They use humour as a site of resistance from which structural inequalities can be made visible. They have been artist-in-residence on the Limehurst estate in Oldham since 2016, they have also completed residencies for Kahoon Projects and the Nasty Women International Art Prize and have exhibited work at galleries across the UK.

Session Two: Climate Justice from De-colonialist Perspectives

18 February 2021, 11am - 1pm, Hosted by Dr. Nicola Triscott, (CEO, FACT)

This session, mediated by curator Helen Starr, starts from a collection of questions of how we engage with time, land and ownership: What happens if we consider that the very earth and trees, as well as non-sentient beings like AI and stones, have rights? How can we understand time and consequence differently: understanding that indigenous deaths caused climate change in 1600, and prevent the repeating of history? How do we peacefully transform a racialised colonial system which values the very commodities which are destroying lives, bodies, and lands?

Gathered speakers, including artists Jack Tan, Himali Singh Soin and Nabil Ahmed, consider how Western principles do not allow for ethical collaboration between beings, focusing rather on exploitation and one-sided gains. They instead explore how indigenous approaches might influence the way we establish ideas of kinship, and open up our sense of community to include other forms of existence, particularly in the future. If we approach the world with a different sense of time, and with empathy for all modes of existence, we might be able to create new forms of collaboration and notions of belonging.

  • Mediated by Helen Starr (Curator)

Helen is an Afro-Carib curator, producer and cultural activist from Trinidad, WI. She began curating exhibitions with artists such as Susan Hillier, Cindy Sherman and Marcel Duchamp in 1995. Helen founded The Mechatronic Library in 2010, to give marginalised artists access to technologies such as Game Engines, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR). Helen has worked with many public institutions such as Wysing Art Centre, FACT, Liverpool and QUAD in Derby.

Being Indigenous-American Helen is interested in how digital artforms transform our understanding of reality by world-building narratives through storytelling and counter-storytelling. How, by “naming one’s own reality” we can experience the Other.

Helen has commissioned projects from artists such as Rebecca Allen, Danielle Braithewaite-Shirley, Anna Bunting-Branch, Megan Broadmeadow, Aliyah Hussain and Salma Noor. Helen believes that speculative artworks can give a glimpse of a future filled with hope. Helen is on the board of QUAD, Derby and in 2020 she co-founded DAAD Futurism with Amrita Dhallu and Salma Noor.

Nabil Ahmed is a transdisciplinary scholar and writer. He leads INTERPRT, an environmental justice project that investigates and advocates for the criminalisation of ecocide under international law. INTERPRT’s long term research has been exhibited most recently at the Warsaw Biennale/The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Beirut Arts Centre and The Museon museum for science and culture in The Hague. He has written for Third Text, Candide: Journal for Architectural Knowledge, MIT Press, Routledge, Documenta, Volume magazine, Sternberg Press, Mousse Publishing, Scientific Reports, Archeological and Environmental Forensic Science, among others. He holds a PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture He has taught and lectured extensively in the UK and internationally.

Himali is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She uses metaphors from outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences, entanglements, deep voids, debris, delays, alienation, distance and intimacy. In doing this, she thinks through ecological loss, and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the radicality of love. Her speculations are performed in audio-visual, immersive environments. Her almanac ‘we are opposite like that’, comprises missing paraphernalia from polar archives, false philosophies, unreliable observations from the ship, love letters, ekphrastic poems, and made-up maps. It marks the culmination of the eponymous interconnected body of work (since 2017) exploring the uninhabited parts of the Arctic and Antarctic circles from the perspective of ice, and its uncanny bearing on the rest of the world.

Jack uses law, social norms and customs as a way of making art. He creates performances, sculpture and participatory projects that highlight the rules that guide human behaviour. Jack trained as a lawyer and worked in civil rights NGOs before becoming an artist. His Ph.D research explored legal aesthetics and performance and he co-edits the Art/Law Journal. Recent projects include Four Legs Good (2018) a revival of the medieval animal trials for Compass Festival Leeds and V&A London; his Singapore Biennale presentation Voices From The Courts examining the vocality of the State Courts of Singapore (2016), Law’s Imagination (2016) a curatorial residency at arebyte exploring legal aesthetics; his solo exhibition How to do things with rules (2015) at the ICA Singapore; and Closure (2012), a year-long residency and exhibition at the UK Department for Health looking at the liquidation of their social work quango. Jack has also taught sculpture at the Royal College of Art and University of Brighton, and politics at Goldsmiths.

Session Three: Migration and Adaptation


25 February 2021, 2pm - 4pm, Hosted by Kayt Hughes (Public Programme Producer, FACT), Mediated by Maitreyi Maheshwari (Head of Programme, FACT (@maitreyimaheshwari))

In 1990, the United Nations anticipated that ‘the greatest single impact of climate change could be on human migration’ with estimates predicting 200 million ‘climate refugees’ by 2050. While the scientific case for human-caused climate change has gained more certainty, the consequences for populations affected both by meteorological and political factors remain unpredictable. The disparity between countries and populations that had been a legacy of colonialism is becoming more pronounced as the effects of climate change are not contained within the borders of any single country.

Whether motivated by need, opportunity or force, human mobility has been an inherent part of the human experience for millennia. As people move and adapt to new environments, how is our sense of self affected by the perspectives offered by distance away from a ‘home’ and across settled generations? Our sense of self is often located in ideas of place and narratives drawn from history and biology, creating a tension between our desire to assimilate and belong somewhere or to preserve our origins. How might digital spaces create alternative definitions of community and identities shaped by more fluid notions of belonging? And how can new technologies allow us to adapt to changing ecological conditions?

Dr Ali Meghji is a Lecturer in Social Inequalities in the department of sociology, Cambridge. He is the director for the MPhil in marginality and exclusion, the course organiser for SOC12 Empire, colonialism, imperialism, and the chair of 'Decolonising sociology'.

Currently, Ali’s predominant research interests lie in bridging the epistemological, methodological, and empirical divergences between critical race theory and decolonial thought. Through this research, Ali intends to balance the study of national racialised social systems with the global process of coloniality.

Jessica El Mal is an English-Moroccan creative dedicated to valuing time, care and human connection in everything she works on. With a particular interest in ecology and migration, her work is both deeply personal and yet draws on the universality of the human experience through a balance of digital techniques, aesthetics and interaction. The work tends to address global structures of power through critical research, multidisciplinary projects, and speculative future imaginaries often centered around collaboration, co-curation and collective knowledge systems. Her current project ‘The Digital Forest’ commissioned by Signal Film and Media, Grizedale Arts and The Forestry Commission, explores how the online space can open up opportunities for sensory experiences of nature for black and brown communities. She also runs an art and nature group for migrant, asylum seeker and refugee artists called ‘This Garden Group’ which consists of workshops in a range of natural spaces, a peer support group and a public facing program to critique the role of botany in colonialism. Jessica's most recent exhibition Grounds for Concern exhibited at MAMA Rotterdam, challenged the authority of man-made borders through a digital installation and workshops, and her FACT Together digital commission has just gone live (see Previous projects have been with Manchester International Festival and Journey’s Festival International, as well as many collaborations with non-arts organisations such as the Collegium for Language in a Changing Society, Let’s Keep Growing Longsite, Furness Refugee Support.

Niloo Sharifi is a multidisciplinary artist from Liverpool, making collaborative works that facilitate polyphony. Her most recent work is, a digital piece that transforms by merging with pictures uploaded by visitors. The idea is to see what emerges when you let everyone speak; the same ethos informed the curation of the Liverpool chapter of the Goethe Institut’s Arrival City.

Podcast: Framework for Resilience

Listen back to Framework for Resilience, our series of online conversations that invite you to think about the world we are creating, destroying and the systems behind this.


Artsformation Cover Image Framework for Resilience

Watch: Framework For Resilience

Rediscover Framework for Resilience, our series of online conversations that invite you to think about the world we are creating, destroying and the systems behind this.


Artsformation Cover Image Framework for Resilience

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