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Focus on the Funk: Fanon, Hope and the Day After.

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building, B33

This event has ended.

Please register for a free ticket - tickets are valid for both days. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

You can download a PDF of the programme here

This year’s FOTF, curated in collaboration with the International Frantz Fanon Foundation aims to probe this question -whether it’s best to conceive hope as mere horizon and promise or as the envisioning of a past as future and a different beginning that can be actualised here and now- together with a group of artists, activist and thinkers from around the world.  We refer also to Fanon’s notion of the human that is to come the day after revolution and decolonization, the pitfalls of nationalism and the need for Tricontinental solidarity. Specifically, the “metonymy of colour” and the institutional and aesthetic creativity that today’s protest movements have taken up from the spirit of Bandung and the Tricontinental as part of a decolonial orientation on what is and what must be entailed by a “different beginning”: change, transformation, rupture, a vision or outline of what’s to come and so on. We would like to visit this conception of hope and euchronia not in the sense of parallel or escapist alternatives to what is, but rather, in the sense of what is but not-yet. The vortex, as theorised and experimented with by Amerindian timekeepers and contemporary physics as well as political and art practitioners like Decolonize this Place, Novara Media, South as a State of Mind, Colectiva Feminista en Construccion and La Colonie, among others.


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  • Decolonize This Place -

    Decolonize This Place is an action-oriented movement centring around Indigenous struggle, Black liberation, free Palestine, global wage workers and de-gentrification. It’s facilitated by MTL+ Collective. #decolonizethisplace. As part of their actions, and in collaboration with various grassroots and community organisations DTP produce videos as well as downloadable zines and posters including 4th Anti-Columbus Day Tour: Decolonize this Museum, Decolonize this City (Oct/2019), Indigenous Peoples Day: Decolonize This Museum (08/2018), Decolonize Brooklyn Museum Action (04/2018), Palestine, BLM & Boycott in the Arts, among others. For this event DTP would include Nitasha Dhillon, Amin Husain, and Marz Saffore.

  • Mireille Fanon Mendès-France -

    Mireille Fanon Mendès-France is a French militant and the President of the Frantz Fanon Foundation. She’s the author of numerous articles and reports on human rights, international and humanitarian law. Her focus is on processes of racialisation and discrimination as well as forms of internal and external colonialism. In 2018 she participated in the international conferences “Bandung of the North” and “Global ’68.

  • Marina Fokidis -

    Marina Fokidis is a curator and writer based in Athens, Greece. She is Head of the Artistic Office in Athens of documenta 14, founder and artistic director of Kunsthalle Athena and founder & editorial director of the bi-anual art and culture magazine South As a State of Mind. She was a 2014 Fellow of Akademie Scholl Solitude in collaboration with Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. In 2011 she was one of the curators of the Third Thessaloniki Biennial and has written for Frieze, Art Agenda, Artinfo, Flash Art as well as participated in the Global Art Forum, Arco, Art Basel Conversations, Berlin Biennial, São Paulo Biennial and Vienna Contemporary, among others.

  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied -

    Yassmin Abdel-Magied (born 1991) is an expatriate Sudanese-Australian media presenter, social advocate and writer, after an early career as a mechanical engineer. She advocates for the empowerment of youth, women and those from linguistically diverse background. Aged 16, she founded Youth Withut Borders and was named Young Queenslander of the year in 2010 and Queensland Australian of the Year in 2015 for her engagement in community work. Abdel-Magied has been based in the United Kingdom since 2017, after her comments about Sharia law on TV and a social media post on Anzac Day led to her being widely attacked in Australian media, a petition calling for her sacking from ABC TV and numerous death threats on social media. In April 2019, Abdel-Magied spoke on The Bookshow on ABC Radio National about her debut novel You Must Be Layla. The target audience is young readers, and the plot centres on a Sudanese girl who struggles to fit into her new school.

  • Kader Attia -

    Kader Attia grew up in Paris and in Algeria. Preceding his studies at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and at Escola Massana, Centre d’Art i Disseny in Barcelona, he spent several years in Congo and in South America. The experience with these different cultures has fostered Kader Attia’s intercultural and interdisciplinary approach of research. He has been exploring the perspective that societies have on their history, especially as regards experiences of deprivation and suppression, violence and loss, and how this affects the evolving of nations and individuals — each of them being connected to collective memory. His socio-cultural research has led to the notion of Repair, a concept Attia has been developing philosophically in his writings and symbolically in his work as a visual artist. Repair reaches far beyond the subject and connects the individual to gender, philosophy, science, and architecture, and also involves it in evolutionary processes in nature, culture, myth and history. In 2016, Kader Attia founded La Colonie, a space in Paris to share ideas and to provide an agora for vivid discussion focussing on decolonialisation not only of peoples but also of knowledge, attitudes and practices.

  • Norman Ajari -

    Norman Ajari teaches at Villanova University in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. He holds a Doctorat (PhD equivalent) in philosophy (2014) from Université Toulouse – Jean-Jaurès (France), an M.A. in philosophy (2011), Erasmus Mundus – European Union international program B. A. in philosophy (2009), University of Luxembourg Licence (B. A. equivalent) in communication studies (2009) at the University of Metz (France). He works on Critical Race Theory, Africana philosophy, Decolonial, postcolonial and anticolonial theories as well as 20th century continental philosophy. He’s the author of La dignité ou la mort: Éthique et politique de la race (La Découverte).

  • Azad Asim Sharma -

    Azad Asim Sharma lives and writes in South London.  He studied Literature and Critical Theory at the University of Sussex, and is now a candidate for the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2018 he was part of a selected group of performing writers developing the What Are Words Worth/Sentient Value Systems project, together with the Serpentine Gallery. His work in written and spoken word focuses on politics, philosophy, creative methods and the futurities of anti-racism. His poetry collection Against the Frame was published in 2017. It deals with the on-going conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as Azad's own complex Islamic-Hindu hybrid identity.

  • Colectiva Feminista en Construcción -

    Colectiva Feminista en Construcción have been active in Puerto Rico since at least 2017 and featured prominently in the 2019 protests that led to the resignation of Governor Ricardo Roselló. In November 2018, they camped outside the governor’s mansion for three days, demanding that he declare a state of emergency as domestic violence surged across the island in the wake of Hurricane María. He refused at the time but met with them earlier this year. Colectiva gave him a list of demands, including the introduction of a gender studies curriculum in public schools to help prevent violence against women. This collective of feminists from different walks of life, ages and social groups, converged in the various manifestations of the resistance in Puerto Rico. Manifestations of the resistance include, but are not limited to student, anti-colonialist and LGBTQ struggles that fight racist and patriarchal colonialism. They’re building a grassroots feminist movement that recognizes that the different manifestations of oppression, sexism, ci-sexism machismo, racism, xenophobia and capitalism are interrelated and must be eradicated. Colectiva’s spokespersons for this event include Zoan Dávila, Shariana Ferrer, Patricia Alegría, Vanesa Contreras and Saadi Rosado.

  • Manuel Correa -

    Manuel Correa is a Colombian artist and filmmaker, currently doing work with the Research Architecture program and the Forensic Architecture project at Goldsmiths University of London. Correa doesn’t work with any particular medium, but instead forms part of a new group of art professionals that are interested in the spaces available in the artworld to share ideas and creative explorations. His work deals with digital and post-conflict memory reconstruction in contemporary societies. In 2016 his video #ARTOFFLINE was premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. His videos have been presented in venues such as the Rufino Tamayo Museum, Presentation House Gallery, The University of Copenhagen, Medellín Museum of Modern Art, The 8th Norwegian Sculpture Biennial, Kunsternes Hus in Oslo, Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Kadist Arts foundation, DOK Leipzig international documentary film festival, amongst other spaces.

  • Leticia da Costa Paes -

    Leticia da Costa Paes is a Doctoral candidate at Birkbeck College, University of London. She holds a Masters degree in State Theory and Constitutional Law from PUC, Rio de Janeiro, has taught at the School of Law in PUC-Rio de Janeiro, and is Academic Coordinator of the Human Rights Program in the same institution. She’s the author of “Rethinking Critique: Becoming Clinician” published in Law & Critique and O Legado do Tribunal Russell II para a História dos Direitos Humanos.

  • Dr Oscar Guardiola-Rivera -

    Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is a member of the Funk Collective. He’s one of Latin America's leading intellectuals; a playwright, poet, philosopher and curator of the 2017 Global Art Forum and the 2018 Global ’68 with Françoise Vergés and Marcus Rediker. He’s active in the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and Professor of Political Philosophy and Human Rights at Birkbeck College, University of London, also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Advancement of the Arts. He nominates for the international Photography Prix Pictet and collaborates regularly with The Independent, The Guardian, El Espectador, BBC News, Novara and Monocle, among other media outlets. His What if Latin America Ruled the World?: How the South Will Take the North into the 22nd Century (Bloomsbury, 2010) won the Frantz Fanon Award, Story of a Death Foretold (Bloomsbury, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2014 Bread & Roses award and both were selected among the best non-fictions books of their year; also Cómo construir sociedad: diez cosas que no nos dicen sobre la paz y la guerrra (Javeriana, 2015), and In Defence of Art/Armed Struggle (UTadeo, 2019). His Funk Manifesto is featured in the autumn issue of South as a State of Mind, and his prose poem Night of the World will be published by The 87 Press in 2020.

  • Dr Kojo Koram -

    Kojo Koram is a member of the Funk Collective. Dr Koram is a Lecturer at the Birkbeck School of Law, University of London. His research interests fall include: Critical International law, Colonialism, Race and the Law, and Political/juridical theology. Methodologically, his work draws upon a wide array of scholarly traditions including postcolonial/decolonial theory, critical legal theory, law and literature and postmodernism. Specific research projects have looked at the relationship between international drug prohibition and the (post)colonial structure of international law. In addition, Dr Koram is also embarking on a new research project that explores Brexit and Imperial Amnesia in Britain. He’s editor of The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line (Pluto Press, 2019).

  • Nelson Maldonado-Torres -

    Nelson Maldonado-Torres is a Professor at the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies and the Comparative Literature Program at Rutgers University. He’s internationally recognised as one of the most important thinkers of the decolonial turn. He’s also a member of the Executive Board of the Frantz Fanon Foundation and Director of the Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies. He’s the author of Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity, La descolonización y el giro de(s)colonial published by Universidad de La Tierra in Chiapas, and co-editor of Latin@s in the World System: Decolonization Struggles in the 21st Century, and has been working on the project Fanonian Meditations. 

  • Moin Mir -

    Moin Mir is the author of The Prince Who Beat the Empire, an acclaimed history of empira and resistance which traces the annexation of Surat, India’s greatest port, by the East India Company, and the rise of Meer Jafar Ali Khan, who led the legal counter-attack against the colonising corporation. His previous work is the co-authored Mirza Ghalib and the Mirs of Gujarab. He has published an English translation of Mirza Ghalib's (India's foremost Urdu poet) letters and has extensively researched the history of Sufism and cultural revivalism in the Indian sub-continent.

  • Ash Sarkar -

    Ash Sarkar is a British activist, a writer, broadcaster, journalist, a scholar and a creative force behind some of the most influential alternative and digital media outlets in the United Kingdom, as well as being a participant and collaborator of Focus on the Funk since its inception. She is currently a senior editor at Novara Media, produces and presents #AshWednesday for Novara Media and teaches at the Sandberg Institute. Her work focuses on racism, gender, class and power. In 2017, she taught Global Politics at Anglia Ruskin University. Sarkar is a contributor to The Guardian and The Independent and is a regular commentator on politics and society in UK broadcast and online media.

  • Lara Sheehi -

    Dr Lara Sheehi is a licensed clinical psychologist, scholar, activist, a Behavioral Health Policy Analyst, and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at George Washington University.  Her areas of interest include cross-cultural psychology, forensic psychology, and psychological assessment. Her work focuses on decolonial struggles as well as power, racism, class and gender constructs and dynamics within Psychoanalysis. She was the guest-editor of the Psychoanalyst Activist Special Edition: 70th Anniversary of the Nakba series in 2018. Her most recent chapter, "The Islamophobic Normative Unconscious: Psychoanalytic Considerations" can be found in Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment. She is currently co-authoring a book with Stephen Sheehi, Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Theory and Practice in Palestine (Routledge). Lara is on the board of the USA-Palestine Mental Health Network. Currently, Dr. Lara Sheehi and Prof. Stephen Sheehi are writing Psychoanalysis under Occupation(forthcoming, Routledge)

  • Michael Walker -

    Michael Walker is a London-based producer, broadcaster and new media activist. He produces and hosts the TiskySour video podcast at Novara Media and used to host The Fix. His interests include electoral strategy, the theory and practice of populism and political communication. He is currently completing an MA at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

  • Ramón Grosfoguel -

    Ramón Grosfoguel is Associate Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s internationally recognized for his work on decolonization of knowledge and power as well as his activist research in international migration and the political-economy of the world-system. He has been a research associate of the Maison des Science de l'Homme in Paris for many years. He did Post-Doctoral work at the Fernand Braudel Center/Maison des Sciences de l‘Homme, Paris, France, 1993-4, and holds a PhD, Sociology, Temple University, 1992, an MA, Urban Studies, Temple University, 1986 and a BA, Sociology, University of Puerto Rico, 1979.

  • Stephen Sheehi -

    Stephen Sheehi is the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies at William & Mary College in Washington. He holds a joint appointment as Professor of Arabic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Program of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) as well as a core member of the Asian-Pacific-Islander American Studies Program (APIA). He is also the Faculty Director of the Decolonizing Humanities Project. Prof. Sheehi’s work meets at the intersection of cultural, visual, art, and social history of the modern Arab world, starting with the late Ottoman Empire and the Arab Renaissance (al-nahdah al-‘arabiyah). His scholarly interests include photography theory, psychoanalysis, decoloniality, Palestine, and Race and Islamophobia.He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and commentaries on photography, Arab modernity, decoloniality, race and Islamophobia in the United State, and Palestine, Israel, and settler-colonialism.  He has published The Arab Imago: A Social History of Indigenous Photography, 1860-1910 (Princeton University Press, 2016) among other books.

  • Jorge A. Garcia -

    Jorge A. Garcia was born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He moved to Chicago where he obtained an AS degree in mathematics with an emphasis in philosophy, and thereaftera degree in sociology with an emphasis on theory, history, and power structures.  He’s founder and Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Center for Social Sustainable Systems (CESOSS) a non-profit community-based research and learning centre serving his South Valley local community. Having been involved in the Indigenous Continental Movement for over two decades, his research focuses on the current use of Mesoamerican calendars, Mexican thought, and symbolism. He’s a member of the Red Wolf Society of Dancers, and Senior Program Manager at The University of New Mexico El Centro de la Raza, which seeks to empower underprivileged students and focus on issues related to identity, intercultural studies, and social work. His piece “Timekeepers” was featured recently in the art/activist magazine South As A State of Mind.

  • Lewis R. Gordon -

    Lewis R. Gordon is an Afro-Jewish philosopher, political thinker, educator, and musician who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale university. Gordon’s research in philosophy is in Africana philosophy, philosophy of existence, phenomenology, social and political philosophy, philosophy of culture, aesthetics, philosophy of education, and philosophy of science. His philosophy and social theory have been the subjects of many studies in a variety of disciplines. He’s co-founder of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, of which he was the first president (2003 to 2008). He is a professor of philosophy with affiliations in Judaic studies, Caribbean and Latina/o studies, and Asian and Asian American studies at UCONN-Storrs, and his visiting appointments include the European Union Visiting Chair in Philosophy at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France (since 2013), Honorary Professor in (UHURU) the Unit for the Humanities at the university currently known as Rhodes in South Africa, where he was formerly the Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Chair in Political and International (2014, 2015), Visiting Professor in Philosophy and Government at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica (since 1998), and Writer-in-Residence at the Birkbeck School of Law at the University of London (2016).