CURATORIAL ACTIVISM

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Counterspace's cultural strategy by Cristina Morales
Counterspace cultural strategy by Cristina Morales – London, 2021.

Counterspace | 2019 – Present, International. Counterspace is an independent curatorial platform functioning as the first decolonial thinktank mapping cultural activism worldwide. It shapes collectively decolonial toolkits with common tools and resources, and a global directory browsable by continent, praxis, and social construct, as a Beuys-inspired ‘social sculpture’ revisited, and an alternative map of the universe. The first global network and social movement linking the countercultural experiences and radical culture shakers (artists, curators or both) creatively decolonising culture, while inspiring others to join the collective machinery towards change. Departing from creativity as the source that any human being has, and via these common toolkits, Counterspace aims to create new collective knowledge production pools in circulation addressed to individuals, collectives, and institutions while self-organising, exploring horizontal relationships, unlearning and relearning personal and community development, with a decolonial and hence intersectional, decentralised, and holistic approach.

Founding Curator / Producer | Researcher. Curator. Editor. Decolonial Labs Facilitator. Communication. Fundraising. Key achievements: Founding curator of the first decolonial thinktank mapping cultural activism worldwide. Founding facilitator of the first Decolonial Lab. Community organising via the first decolonial global network. Fostering unity bridging neocolonial and hierarchical gaps as a key collective liberation factor in a – still dividing – identity politics activism scene. Being awarded an artist fellowship at Design Science Studio to develop Counterspace as part of their decade-long Regenaissance Movement (cohort 2021-2022).

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Onyx Collective debut publication ‘Practising Unapologetics’ designed by Design Kind – UK, 2022.

Disability Arts Online | 2021- 2022, UK / International. Disability Arts Online is a UK-based non-profit organisation occupying a unique global position championing the development of ‘disability art’, deriving from the ‘disability arts movement’, from a differently-abled-led position. The Onyx pilot project established a UK-wide interseccional artist-led collective formed by Priya Mistry, Alexandrina Hemsley, Kuli Kohli, Ngozi Ugochukwu, Jacqui Adeniji-Williams, Ashokkumar Mistry, and Omikemi. Articulating their own leadership, they were commissioned to create a debut publication culminating in a launch event at Autograph ABP in London, supported by media such as Primary and Gal-dem. The publication is stocked in art galleries, radical bookshops and cultural organisations across London and the UK. Onyx Collective members were also employed as freelance publication editors, as well as freelance artists mentors to deliver artist development webinars and one-on-one sessions. And the Onyx Collective also delivered, and commissioned other artists to deliver, accessible artist presentations for a global audience.

Project Manager | Onyx project co-planning with artists and CEO. Coordination, co-facilitation and minuting of online and live artist collective meetings. Communication and coordination of artist collective, core team, finance, marketing, and partners. Project managing the completion, edition, design and delivery of the collective debut publication sticking to timeline and budget. Production of the collective launch event sticking to timeline and budget in collaboration with the artists and DAO. Research of mentors and partnerships. Recruitment of external facilitators, editors, and mentors for artist development sessions in liaison with the CEO. Artists support in collaboration with DAO. Administration, financial monitoring, and evaluation reports in collaboration with the CEO. Key achievement: Fostering intersectional diversity in the ‘disability arts’ sector and society by facilitating the foundation and launching of probably the first UK-wide intersectional artist-led collective in the niche.

In-House Film Festival by Haringey Arts – London, 2015.

Haringey Arts | 2016 – London, UK. Haringey Arts was a community interest company developing the converted (living/working) warehouse districts of Haringey in North London, connecting the creative talent in the area through events, workshops and collaborations creating profile. From 2008 to 2018, it connected over 70,000 people, raised over £100,000 to commission collaborations between local artists, and created 35 new projects that helped artists reach a bigger audience playing a role in the recognition of the area as a creative asset. They established partnerships with many local organisations such as Bernie Grant Arts Centre, West Creative, Clear Village, and Manor House Development Trust to name a few. A ‘Village Fund’ is still available to anyone living at Cara House, Catwalk Place, Overbury Road and Arena, who can prove that their project will benefit their fellow residents, the neighbourhood, and develop the identity of the community.

Co-curator | Co-curation of commissioned artwork for warehouse-related projects. Social media manager of Tottenham Creative Warehouse District, website updates & newsletters. Art programme co-curation for Haringey primary schools with HA artists. Key achievements: Democratising art creating alternative art circuits. Developing a creative neighbourhood-based platform by displaced-by-gentrification artists. Creating contexts of care / dissent / liberation as well as intentional intersection spaces for community development.

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Black Cultural Archives | 2015 – London, UK. Black Cultural Archives is the first public institution collecting, preserving, and celebrating the history and culture of people of both African and Afro-Caribbean descent in the UK. Still a nationally unique archive and heritage centre in Brixton, South London, founded in 1981 by historian and educator Len Garrison. Apart from the archive, BCA provides dedicated learning spaces as well as a programme of remarkable exhibitions and events.

Relationship & Development Assistant | Assisting the relationship & development department related to communication and digital marketing. Key achievement: Revealing hidden history working on social and political topics through art.

Peckham Platform | 2015 – London, UK. Peckham Platform is one of the few public art galleries in London devoted to social art practice, connecting people, art, and place. They believe that communities can inform and shape their engagement with their locality by collaborating with contemporary visual artists, bringing meaningful contemporary social practice alive, influencing policy making in the area and beyond.

Social Art Gallery & Learning 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 participatory art in the disenfranchised and gentrified neighbourhood of Peckham in South London.

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Interarts | 2014 – Barcelona, Spain / International. Interarts is a private agency functioning as a non-profit civil society organisation specialising in human development through culture since 1995. From its headquarters in Barcelona, they carry out their international activity through and with an extensive network of partner organisations and professionals, having offices in Lima (Peru), and Pristina (Kosovo). Their areas of work are: cultural cooperation, consultancy, knowledge transfer, applied research, networking & advocacy.

Curator / Community Organiser | Curator of Fomecc – Creative Industries Networking Platform in Spain, South America and West Africa. Research, content curation, community building and follow-up. Key achievement: Community organising building tricontinental creative industries networks.

Ribermúsica Festival- Barcelona, 2009.

Ribermusica Festival |  2007-2009 – Barcelona, Spain. Ribermusica is a private foundation with a long trajectory working on social art using music as a tool for cohesion. They work in Barcelona’s neighbourhood La Ribera, through several community-based projects. Among them, Ribermusica Festival which brings music performances into unusual places.

Cultural Producer | Booking and liaison of unusual concert venues (shops, libraries, barbershops, parks, restaurants, hotels …) for Ribermusica Festival’s editions 2007, 2008 and 2009. Key achievements: Democratising art creating alternative art circuits and horizontal performances. Creating contexts of care / dissent / liberation as well as intentional intersection spaces for community development.

HostelArt | 2005-2013 – Barcelona, Spain / International. HostelArt was a groundbreaking platform creating an alternative room for arts & culture within the independent backpackers’ hostels niche, specifically the growing Equity Point international chain with hostels in Barcelona, Madrid, London, New York, Marrakech, Girona, and Prague, up until then. It developed a non-profit project where Barcelona artists,  Barcelona audience, and Barcelona Equity Point hostels/travellers, benefited from a free monthly cultural programme, including international art residencies. Among its partners: Associació de Sales de Concerts de Catalunya, Tendencias TV, Urbe TV, Scanner FM, Lamono Magazine, El Periódico, Mondo Sonoro, Relevant Urban Music and Art Magazine, Backpackers Meeting Point, Two Market, Cruz Roja, Vida Urbana, Arte en Barcelona, Barcelona Turisme Creatiu, Hace Color, Kasba Music, Festival de Jazz i Música Creativa de Ciutat Vella, Hipnotik Festival, Brasilnoar Festival, Buskers Festival, Ribermusica Festival, Agenda Cultural Butxaca, For Free, Difusor, Djs Contra La Fam, Un Techo Por Chile, La Casa Amarilla, Fusic, Imagomundi Artes Plásticas, and Tap Barcelona to mention a few.

Founding Curator-Producer / Project Manager |  Programming, organisation, administration and communication of ninety-six art exhibitions, four hundred concerts, four hundred Dj sessions, four hundred film screenings, two fundraising festivals, a fashion catwalk, one hundred design markets, five outdoor live graffiti paintings, five big hostel decoration projects, and three international art residencies in other European independent backpackers’ hostels. Key achievements: Democratising art creating alternative art circuits, providing space for Barcelona’s multidisciplinary underground arts scene. Creating contexts of care / dissent / liberation as well as intentional intersection spaces for community development. Inspiring other independent backpackers’ hostels to bring arts & culture to their spaces worldwide.


Featured image: Fluxus Manifesto by George Maciunas, 1963.