Cristina Morales is a London-based Spanish cultural activist, a transdisciplinary cultural practitioner who works as a researcher, writer, curator, speaker, critical pedagogue and artist at the intersection of art and politics. She holds a Master in Arts & Culture Production from the Open University of Catalonia (2014), and a Bachelor in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Barcelona (2011), Spain. Known for her creative and holistic approach to activism, Cristina is currently freelance project manager for Disability Arts Online. Founding curator of the first decolonial think-tank mapping and exploring Cultural Activism worldwide Counterspace. Founding artist of the Situationist brand of political designs and performances Totem Taboo. And freelance writer in English, French and Spanish on Decoloniality, on Cultural Activism as personal and community development, and on African and African diaspora arts & culture, published by national, international and specialised media such as the London Institute of Contemporary Arts (London); El Mundo (Madrid); Humanities, Arts & Society (Paris); A Beautiful Resistance (Seattle); Inhabit (Global); Ouvrage (Montreal); Wiriko (Barcelona); and Radio Africa (Barcelona). She is at the moment working on her first book chapter on the psychopolitics of liberation linking decoloniality with psychoanalysis.
Counterspace | 2019 – Present, London – UK / International. Counterspace is an independent curatorial platform and the first decolonial think-tank mapping and exploring Cultural Activism worldwide. Shaped by the space-time of the decolonial process, Counterspace’s unlearning zone-phase proposes resources and experiences to unpack and redefine so far consisting of online and printed publications, a decolonial library, decolonial labs, and forum talks. And Counterspace’s relearning zone-phase proposes resources and experiences to reconnect holistically so far consisting of a Radical Imagination library, Mutation School, Mutants podcast, and a Cultural Activism global network browsable by continent, praxis and social construct. A Beuys-inspired ‘Social Sculpture’ directory which by connecting the dots, links the experiences and culture shakers (artists, curators or both) creatively decolonising culture, inspiring others to join the collective machinery towards change.
Founding Curator | Researcher. Curator. Editor. Author. Speaker. Labs Facilitator / Critical Pedagogue. Podcaster. Communication. Funding. Key achievements: Founding curator of the first decolonial thinktank mapping and exploring Cultural Activism worldwide. Founding curator of the first Decolonial Lab. Published by Humanities, Arts and Society + Memory of the Future (Paris); London Institute of Contemporary Arts (London); A Beautiful Resistance (Seattle); Ouvrage (Montreal); and Inhabit (Global). Partnered up with Actipedia + Center for Artistic Activism (New York), Social Art Network (UK), Primary (Nottingham), -Ism (London), Socially Engaged Art Salon (Brighton), Publib (UK), Utopian Studies Society (UK), and Antiuniversity Now (London). Community organising fostering Social Practice Art global networks, and unity bridging neocolonial and hierarchical gaps, as a key collective liberation factor in a – still dividing – identity politics activism scene.
Haringey Arts | 2016-2017, London – UK. Haringey Arts is a community interest company developing the North London living/working converted warehouses district of Haringey connecting the creative talent in the area through events, workshops and collaborations creating profile.
Assistant Curator | Curation of commissioned artwork for warehouse related projects. Social Media Manager of Tottenham Creative Warehouse District. HA website updates & newsletters. Art programme curation for Haringey primary schools with HA artists. Key achievements: Groundbreaking neighbourhood-based platform for gentrification-displaced artists, contexts of care/ dissent/ liberation and intentional intersection spaces for community development.
Black Cultural Archives | 2015, London – UK. BCA is the first national Black Culture heritage public institution in the UK. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and celebrate Black Culture in Britain.
Relationship & Development Assistant | Digital Marketing. Key achievement: Revealing hidden histories of Britain’s Black heritage focusing on social and political issues through art.
Peckham Platform | 2015, London- UK. Peckham Platform is a social art gallery connecting people, art and place in the South London neighbourhood of Peckham believing that communities can inform and shape their engagement with their locality by working with contemporary visual artists bringing meaningful contemporary Social Practice alive influencing policy making in the area and beyond.
Social Art Gallery Assistant | Assisting ‘Twelve’ exhibition by Melanie Manchot, ‘Cuming: a Natural Selection’ exhibition by Janetka Platun and ‘Doing Nothing is Not an Option: in Memory of Nigerian Writer and Activist Ken Saro-Wiwa’ exhibition by Michael McMillan. Key achievement: Fostering Social Practice Art in disenfranchised and gentrificated Peckham neighbourhood.
Interarts | 2014, Barcelona – Spain / International. Interarts is a private agency which specialises in human development through culture via cultural policies and cultural cooperation.
Project Assistant – Content Curator | Curator of Fomecc – Creative Industries Networking Platform in Spain, South America and West Africa, researching and curating content, community building and follow-up. Key achievement: Community organising fostering creative industries international networks.
Ribermusica | 2007-2009, Barcelona – Spain. Ribermusica is a non-profit organisation with a long trajectory working on social art using music as a tool for cohesion in Barcelona’s neighbourhood La Ribera through several community-based projects. Among them, Ribermusica Festival which brings music performances into unusual places.
Freelance Assistant Curator | Liaison and booking of 20 unusual concert venues (shops, libraries, barbershops, bakeries, parks, restaurants, hotels …) for Ribermusica Festival editions 2007, 2008 and 2009. Key achievements: Hosting horizontal music performances, creating contexts of care / dissent / liberation and intentional intersection spaces for community gathering / development.
HostelArt | 2005-2013, Barcelona – Spain / International. HostelArt was a groundbreaking platform in the independent backpackers hostel sector creating an alternative room for arts & culture in Equity Point Hostels chain by developing a non-profit project where artists, travellers + city audience, and hostels, benefited from a free monthly cultural programme including international art residencies.
Founding Curator / Project Manager | Production, organisation, administration and communication of ninety-six art exhibitions, four hundred concerts, four hundred Dj sessions, four hundred screenings, two charity theme Festivals, a fashion catwalk, one hundred design markets, five outdoor live graffiti paintings, five big decoration projects and three international art residencies in other European independent backpackers hostels. Key achievements: Democratising art, creating different art circuits, providing space for Barcelona’s multidisciplinary arts underground scene, facilitating international and local community gathering and intentional intersection contexts of care / dissent / liberation. Inspiring following independent backpackers hostels bringing arts & culture to their spaces worldwide.
ESSAYS / ARTICLES
HOLISTIC DECOLONIALITY AND COUNTER-NARRATIVES : PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIO-CULTURAL, POLITICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, SPIRITUAL AND NATURAL APPROACH
Ouvrage | Ouvrage is a Canadian publication based in Montreal reviewing revolutionary and autonomous theoretical and practical reflections to resist inertia. This essay is with them published in French. Translated by Etienne Simard and proofread by Stephanie Logrado. Publication | ”The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’– June, 2020.
London Institute of Contemporary Arts | ICA is an English institution based in London supporting radical arts & culture. This essay is featured in ICA Daily permanent archive of recommended reading, viewing and listening from the ICA‘s curatorial team. Proofread by Claudia Loughran. Publication | ”The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’– May, 2020.
Inhabit | Inhabit is a publication providing tools for freedom in French and English. This Pandemic Trilogy was selected by Inhabit as one of the best readings of the entire pandemic along with authors such as Naomi Klein, David Abram and Giorgio Agamben among others and featured in English in their permanent archive Territories. Proofread by Claudia Loughran. Publications | ”The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’– May, 2020. ‘On Crisis and Meaning. And the Liminal Revolution in-Between.’– May, 2020. ‘A Power-exposing Microbe Called Crown.’ – March, 2020.
A Beautiful Resistance | A Beautiful Resistance is an American anti-capitalist and pagan organisation based in Seattle running Gods & Radicals Press. Proofread by Claudia Loughran and Mirna Wabi-Sabi. Publications | ‘‘The Great Pause’. A Decolonial Approach for Life Beyond Neoliberalism.’ – May, 2020. ‘On Crisis and Meaning. And the Liminal Revolution in-Between.’ – May, 2020.
SOCIAL PRACTICE ART / CULTURAL ACTIVISM : HUMAN AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ART
Humanities, Arts & Society + Memory of the Future | HAS is a French organisation based in Paris by UNESCO-MOST, International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences, Global Chinese Arts and Culture Society and Memory of the Future, which mission is to create a worldwide movement of artists and thinkers demonstrating what is the role and impact of arts on society and universal issues. This essay is published in English and French in a joint project called Open Windows. Proofread by Claudia Loughran and Jordi Miranda. Publication | ‘The Common Thread: Art as Counterspace.’– April, 2020.
El Mundo | Voces is a Spanish foundation based in Madrid with a blog in the Spanish national press El Mundo advocating for human and social development through disruptive arts & culture. Edited by Cristina Alvarez de Mon. Publication | ‘Intercultural Dialogues through Art.’ – March, 2014.
AFRICAN AND AFRICAN DIASPORA ARTS & CULTURE
Radio Africa Magazine | Radio Africa is a Spanish cultural container based in Barcelona dedicated to contemporary African arts & culture. Edited by Clara Nuñez. Publication | ‘Bronx : Africa. The influence of African Culture in Bronx.’ – February, 2016.
Wiriko | Wiriko is the first Spanish magazine based in Barcelona specialised in contemporary African arts & culture. Edited by Vanessa Anaya. Publications | ‘From Roots Reggae to Dancehall in Jamaica.’ – January, 2016. ‘Staying Power: Afro-British Self-Representation.’– April, 2015. ‘Afro Comb: 6.000 Years of Culture, Politics and Identity.’ – October, 2013. ‘African Echoes: On Cosmopolitan Identities and Trends.’– March, 2013.
A Beautiful Resistance | A Beautiful Resistance is an American anti-capitalist and pagan organisation based in Seattle running Gods & Radicals Press. Edited by Mike Dockins. Publication | ‘Mama’s Blues’-June, 2020.
VISUAL AND PERFORMANCE ART
Totem Taboo | 2012 – Present, International. Totem Taboo is a Situationist brand designing political scenes + scenic artifacts building new collective imaginaries through the visual narrative of the symbol.
Founding Artist | Designer. Maker. Producer. Stylist. Art Director. Communication. Key achievements: First brand of militant ethnic fashion in Spain since 2012. First Spanish brand present in the most outstanding contemporary ethnic art & design shows in Europe such as Labo Ethnik – Paris, 2012; Ethno Tendance – Brussels, 2012 ; Afropunk – Paris, 2016 or Africa Utopia – London, 2017 to mention a few. First contemporary ethnic fashion brand dressing the contemporary free jazz scene with a Sun Ra’s inspired collection. First contemporary ethnic fashion brand creating Debord-inspired performative ‘Situations’. Stocked at the biggest museum of anthropology in Europe –Quai Branly Museum‘s boutique in Paris, and the biggest African fashion hub in London, Soboye . Part of the itinerant scenic fashion collective exhibition Parures organised by Paris-based conscious fashion organisation Universal Love exhibited to date at Klimafestivalen in Oslo – Norway, 2018.
Mischief Makers Carnival Arts | 2016 – 2018, UK. Mischief Makers is led by freelance independent Carnival artist Emma Garofalo specialised in large scale kinetic costumes / puppetry & performance for community development projects all over United Kingdom.
Freelance Costume Assistant & Performer | Costume assistant for Northampton Carnival -London, 2018. Performer for Brighton Pride Parade – Brighton, 2018. ‘Anima Mundi’ Costume assistant for Luton International Carnival (EMCCAN Caribbean Carnival Queen first prize winner) – London, 2017 and Extinction Rebellion – London, 2019. Workshop assistant for Kew Gardens – London, 2017. Costume assistant & performer for ‘Metamorphosis’ at Wandsworth Arts Fringe – London, 2017; Kew Gardens – London, 2017 and Camp Bestival – Dorset, 2016. Key achievements: Fostering /embodying human rights themed participatory arts and politics of public space.
Mahogany Carnival Arts | 2016, London – UK. Mahogany is a group of multi-disciplinary artists led by Clary Salandy and Speedy Ramdeen – trained originally with Trinidadian award-wining Carnival artist Peter Minshall – who design and create Carnival large scale kinetic sculptures using the human body in the art form of ‘Mas Making’, Masquerade or Street Theatre having been instrumental in introducing such art across the UK and also being a seminal force in educating European communities in the development of Carnival as a catalyst for bringing together people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Freelance Costume Assistant & Performer | Costume assistant and performer for Lord Kitchener-inspired ‘London is The Place for Me’ collection for the 50th Anniversary of Notting Hill Carnival, winner of first prize and getting a Mahogany’s costume featured in page 29th of current British passport. Key achievements: Fostering /embodying human rights themed participatory arts and politics of public space.
WORKSHOPS & RELATED TALKS
Decolonial Lab | 2020 – Present, International. The monthly Decolonial Lab online by Counterspace is the only non-hierarchical and international grassroots forum experience rooted in Critical Pedagogy holding space for decolonial theory, and most importantly, a collective exploration of the subject plus co-creation of a new paradigm as decolonial practice. That means that although the theoretical body is always similar, the roundtable conversation is always different, which gives the Lab as much continuity, to deepen or broaden the holistic exploration, as desired. As Decolonial Lab is the first and only of its kind, where health and the expansion of both personal and community development is understood as a necessarily holistic and interdependent exercise on a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and natural level. The experience is then catalysed connecting psychology, socio-cultural anthropology, politics, spirituality and natural sciences, with the aim of healing while building the new instead of focusing on fighting the old, minding the whole picture. And addressed to people from all walks of life and locations ready to build, through relational learning, new pools of alternative collective knowledge in circulation.
Founding Curator – Critical Pedagogue | Hosting curator and critical pedagogue of a monthly and international DECOLONIAL LAB online for individuals. And hosting curator and critical pedagogue of both live and online Decolonial Labs for groups, facilitated by Counterspace.
Ephemera | 2021, International. Ephemera is an independent peer-reviewed open access online journal founded in 2001 about theory, politics and organising. Countering the current hegemonisation of social theory it operates at the borders of organisation studies continuously seeking to question what organisation studies is and what it can become. The journal is supported by individual donors and academic institutions, currently the University Library of Bern, Switzerland and the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
Guest-Speaker | Guest-Speaker in the conference ‘ACTIVIST ORGANISING AND ORGANISING ACTIVISM: A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD IN THE MAKING‘ organised by Yousra Rahmouni Elidrissi, Ozan Nadir Alakavuklar, Ekaterina Chertkovskaya and Christos Giotitsas and facilitated by Ephemera.
Primary | 2020, Nottingham / International. Primary is an artist-led contemporary visual arts organisation prioritising artistic research and participatory arts providing residencies and running a free public programme of learning and community events. Their approach to programme is to invest in artistic research and learning through participation and engagement delivering a platform for conversation and knowledge exchange which by employing a cycle of theory, practice, and reflection, creates collaborative relationships between artists, audiences, and the wider society.
Co-Host – Critical Pedagogue | Host and critical pedagogue of the online ‘DECOLONIAL LAB FOR CULTURAL ACTIVISTS‘ in the frame of Making Place exhibition and the monthly forum Social Practice Social, curated by Rebecca Beinart and facilitated by Primary.
Social Art Network | 2020, UK / International. Social Art Network is a British platform of artists committed to building agency via art and Social Practice. Unapologetically political and unreservedly radical in approach and practice, SAN believes the only creative response to our current climate is radical politics as art. Understanding politics not as governmental parties but as the social collection of people, where true meaningful change is generated. Where in art, this translates into emotional resonance with the state of our society and crises we collectively inhabit. But it also translates into vision imagining new ways of living with one another, where creativity has always led the way in conceiving revolutionary routes. Created in 2017, SAN met early success launching the Social Art Summit 2018, a national review of Social Practice leading to the artist-led national network; and expanding dialogue and a pilot for the world’s first Social Art Biennial.
Co-Host – Guest Speaker | Guest speaker and co-host of the decentralised and practice-led online event on ‘RADICAL IMAGINATION‘ along with Social Practice artists Sophie Hope, Fran Cottell, E-J Scott, R.M Sanchez-Camus and Ignacio Acosta, curated by Sally Labern and facilitated by Social Art Network London.
Guest Speaker | Guest speaker in the online event ‘DECOLONISING ART&CULTURE: UNLEARNING AND RELEARNING THROUGH CREATIVE PRACTICE‘ along with artist Sofia Yala N’Lolo, hosted and curated by Susuana Amoah, and facilitated by Socially Engaged Salon and Social Art Network Brighton.