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Pleasure Activism and the Arts

Thursday, 11/05/2020


How to Survive the End of the World is a four-part program series exploring the ways in which artists and art workers express social, cultural and political philosophies through their art practice. Stitching together an assemblage of videos, images, music, and prose, in this lecture Pleasure Activism and the Arts, Ifeanyi Awachie and Nydia A. Swaby will share how ‘pleasure activism’ informs their curatorial practice. The lecture will review programs Awachie and Swaby co-curated to explore pleasure through the work of Black feminist artists and thinkers. Organizing events such as Pleasure Genealogies (with Rita Gayle), Weruzo Presents “Sisi,” and Five Volumes for Toni Morrison, featuring intersectional vegan chef Safiya Robinson, celebrated writers Farah Jasmine Griffin and Bernadine Evaristo, British-Somali jazz DJ Hodan Styrene, and many others, Awachie and Swaby presented pleasure as a politics of refusal and used pleasure as a curatorial ethos. The lecture will culminate in reflections on how these programs have informed their individual and collective, present and future projects. RSVP required. Zoom details will be sent via email confirmation.

Other programs in this series:

Ifeanyi Awachie is an Atlanta-raised Igbo writer and curator based between New York and London. She has a B.A. in English and creative writing from Yale University and an M.A. in Global Creative and Cultural Industries from SOAS University of London. Ifeanyi is Founder, Director, and Chief Curator of AFRICA SALON UK, a global contemporary African arts festival. She is also Co-Creative Director of FUNCTION. Ifeanyi’s curatorial and creative work is shaped by her interest in representing interdisciplinary, contemporary, and celebratory images of Africa and the diaspora; pleasure politics; Black quiet and interiority; notions of luxury as a diasporic space; and everyday Black life. Ifeanyi has worked as Assistant Curator at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and is currently a PhD candidate in Cinema Studies and a Corrigan Fellow at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Nydia A. Swaby is a Black feminist researcher, writer, and curator based in London. Her practice builds on theories of racial, gendered, diasporic, and queer formation, Black feminism, Black studies, and her previous experience working at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Nydia is a member of Feminist Review’s Editorial Collective and co-edited a recent issue on Archives (July 2020). Her writing has been published in Africana Heritage, Symbolism, and Feminist Review and she is writing a research memoir that interweaves personal narrative and family history with research in archives in Jamaica, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Nydia is Curator of Learning at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. She has a PhD in Gender Studies from SOAS University of London.


  • Type: Lectures & Panels
  • Time: 11/05/2020 - 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Venue:Zoom

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