Support Structures for Support Structures is a fellowship programme initiated by Serpentine, that supports up to ten artists and collectives working at the intersection of art, spatial politics and community practice. The fellowship consists of an unrestricted grant of at least £10,000 to develop creative ideas. It will also invite grantees to join an interdisciplinary network for support, development workshops and mentoring.
Support Structures for Support Structures is conceived in collaboration with Sumayya Vally, the architect behind this year’s Serpentine Pavilion designed by Counterspace, and Serpentine’s Civic Projects programme. The initiative is grounded in the history and current work of the Civic and Education programme, which for over a decade, has been supporting artists to work with people and communities across London to respond to the complexities of social change.
Announced on the occasion of the 20th Pavilion designed by Vally’s studio Counterspace, this initiative creates a legacy for this unique commission and builds on Serpentine’s history of working with artists in communities across London as part of its Civic Projects programmes.
The fellowship recognises that many practitioners that work across art, spatial politics and community practice are often not supported by grant programmes or institutions in a sustainable way. Support Structures for Support Structures aims to bridge this gap by nurturing and supporting emerging and existing practitioners, and creating pathways for learning, exchange and contemplation amongst the fellowship cohort.
The fellowship was awarded through a nomination process and a selection panel consisting of: Sepake Angiama, Director, Iniva; Pooja Agrawal, CEO, Public Practice; Leopold Lambert, Editor in Chief, The Funambulist; Rita Keegan, Artist and Sumayya Vally, Counterspace. The panel was chaired by Amal Khalaf, Civic Curator, Serpentine.
Barby Asante is an artist, curator, educator and healer in training. Her practice is concerned with the politics of place, space and the ever-present histories and legacies of slavery and colonialism. Her work explores memory and archival injustice through re-collecting, collating, excavating and mapping stories and narratives, through collective writing, re-enactment and creating spaces for transformation, ritual and healing. With a deep interest in Black feminist and decolonial methodologies, Barby also embeds within her work notions of collective study, countless ways of knowing and dialogical practices that embrace being and breathing together.
From 2014-2018 Barby was co-founder of agency for agency, a collaborative agency concerned with ethics, intersectionality and education in the contemporary arts mentoring to the London based sorryyoufeeluncomfortable collective. Her recent projects include, To Make Love is to Re-Create Ourselves Over and Over Again: A Soliloquy to Heartbreak, Untitled, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, Declaration of Independence, Diaspora Pavillion, Venice, 2017, Library of Performing Rights, BALTIC, Gateshead 2019, Bergen Kusthall 2020: Black Togetherness as Lingua Franca with Amal Alhaag, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, 2018; Baldwin’s Nigger R E L O A D E D, InIVA, London, 2014, Somerset House, London 2019; Cracks in the Curriculum: Countless Ways of Knowing, Serpentine Gallery, London 2018: SERP Revisted with Barbara Steveni, Flat Time House/ Peckham Platform, 2018. She is also on the boards of the Women’s Art Library and 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.
Beverley Bennett is an artist-filmmaker whose work revolves around the possibilities of drawing, performance and collaborative experiments with sound. Her practice is connected to multiple ways of making. The first of these is a concern with the importance of sound in art, the second is an investigation into the idea of The Archive and the third is collaboration. Frequently through socially political work with other creatives, fine artists, community members, young children, and their families, Bennett’s practice provides spaces for participants to become collaborators. She provides a point of focus from where to unpack ideas around what constitutes an art practice and for whom art is generated.
Bennet’s current work, Simon Says/Dadda (2018-), is a collaborative research and development project towards the production of a new film, working with a community of black women across 4 regions in the UK. Previous projects include Yuh Figet Yuhself, Peckham Platform London, and Remote Connections, Cubitt London. Bennett’s work has been shown nationally and internationally; venues include the CinemaAfrica Film Festival, Stockholm, Encounters Short Film Festival, Bristol, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridgeshire, Spike Island, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, and Bluecoat, Liverpool.
Jacob V Joyce is a non-binary artist with a community facing practice that amplifies and nourishes both historical and emerging queer and decolonial narratives. Joyce’s work ranges from afro-futurist world building workshops to mural painting, comic books, performance art and punk music with their band Screaming Toenail.
Joyce has self published a number of books and illustrated international human rights campaigns for Amnesty International and Global Justice Now. Their work has been published by Penguin Books, BBC News as well as in national newspapers. They have completed residencies at Gasworks, Tate Galleries Education department, Nottingham Contemporary and Serpentine Gallery. In 2019 they were awarded TFL Arts Grant to paint a radical Black women’s history mural in Marcus Garvey Park Hammersmith and Fulham which is now a learning resource for two local schools.
Abbas Zahedi is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice blends contemporary philosophy, poetics, and social dynamics with performance, sound, sculpture, and moving-image. With an emphasis on how personal and collective histories interweave, Zahedi makes connections whenever possible with people involved in the particular situations which he focuses upon, inviting these others into the conversation in his work.
Blak Outside is a multidisciplinary creative collective providing culturally diverse and inclusive events. The annual Blak Outside Festival is a grass roots, intergenerational event supportive of working class social housing residents and the QTIBIPOC (queer, trans, intersex, Black, indigenous, people of colour) community.
Carole Wright, founding member of Blak Outside, is a creative urban activist and community gardener. Blak Outside builds on thirty years of Carole’s community work serving underserved communities.
FerArts is an artist-led collective platforming underrepresented and socially- engaged creatives under 30.
A growing community of 48 artists from across inner city London founded in 2014 by West London street photographer and curator Amanda Fernandez.
The multi disciplinary collective based in North Kensington advocates for marginalised voices in the creative sector using visual/audio arts, photography and film to discuss and illustrate diverse perspectives on culture and identity.
Recent collaborative projects include ‘Collecting Ends’ for Curating London with Eddie Otchere 2020, ‘Vent’ for Vice and the Borough of Culture 2020, Shubbak Festival with Aicha Beloui 2019, ‘LBG x Larache’ with Hassan Hajjaj 2018 and ‘Youth After Grenfell’ with ID x Juergen Teller 2018.
FerArts produces community-led projects engaging with social housing residents, immigrants & refugees and young people from low socio-economic backgrounds. Their core projects are centred around ethnography and hidden transcripts in social spaces, previously exhibiting with the Design Museum, New Arts Exchange, Hoxton Gallery, Museum of London, Afronation and Tate Modern.
The collective are also creative mentors for UAL and Goldsmith University fieldwork placements, supporting final year students in community arts, anthropology and youth work.
FerArts operate on a not for profit model to support the collective’s sustainable growth including a non conventional Artist in residence programme cultivating exchange and dialogue between artists and curating public exhibitions in their concept studio on Portobello Road which they manage with a 0% commission policy.
Nawi Collective is a London based Black women, gender queer and non-binary vocal collective, who sing for justice and to reclaim joy. They utilise song as a portal to preserve their traditions, praise their ancestors and to connect and commune with each other. The spaces they create together when they sing offer powerful healing amidst a world that does not care for or foster the innate power, love and radical possibility they each hold. The collective has become a community of artists, activists and creative beings who regularly collaborate to heal, learn and grow. Black liberation, disability justice, trans and/or queer liberation and housing rights are some of the guiding principles that form a key part of their politics and practices. You can find them singing at protests and lending support to local and global struggles for change. Their work also manifests in other ways, such as creating poetry together, communing with Black feminist elders, writing their own songs and fundraising through the Nawi 4 Malawi campaign. They have performed at the Black Cultural Activism Mapping showcase (commissioned by the Stuart Hall Foundation), The Cocoa Butter Club, The Jazz Cafe, UK Black Pride, the London Jazz Festival and World Without Border”
Other Cinemas is a multidisciplinary project focused on the transformational power of film; whether that is sharing Black and non-white films in ways and spaces that aren’t alienating to their communities; creating networks for Black and non-white creatives to work, learn and collaborate; or using film to document the stories of Black and non-white communities locally and internationally. Other Cinemas was founded by Turab Shah and Arwa Aburawa, two filmmakers committed to the collective work of imagining and supporting collaborative and radical ways of making and sharing films. They are based in Brent, and host free film events in the community (and online) as well as organising discussions and debates. Other Cinemas also runs a film school for Black and non-white aspiring filmmakers which focuses as much on teaching as creating a space for mutual support.
Turab Shah has been a filmmaker for over a decade. Hehas directed several documentaries on a wide range of issues and also holds an MA in cinematography from Met Film School. He is interested in creative collaborations which centre the stories of Black and non-white communities.
Arwa Aburawa’s work focuses on the intersection of race and environmental issues. She has produced documentaries on a range of issues including the legacies of colonialism in Guatemala and the work of data journalist Mona Chalabi. Turab and Arwa are currently working on two film projects; an upcoming project exploring the Pakistani migrant experience in Burnley and a project documenting the creation of Black-led community spaces in the context of gentrification, loss and austerity.
Skin Deep makes space for Black creatives and creatives of colour to work towards justice through cultural production. Through their live events, online platform and print magazine, they build capacity for artists and activists in London and globally to think beyond crisis and survival, and dream of just futures.
Predominantly Black and POC-led, Skin Deep has occupied a unique space in the media and arts landscape since 2015. They produce and curate work that centres hope, joy and lasting meaningful change. They always take the long view, tapping into deep currents that flow from generations past to worlds yet to come – both in the stories they facilitate and tell, and in the long-term relationships they build with contributors, partners and their wider community.
Their small team of producers, writers, filmmakers and editors deliver high-impact creative projects, with the help of their network of Black and POC artists, writers, musicians, dancers, poets, filmmakers, designers, architects, organisers and activists.
They’ve been commissioned to create work, run workshops and facilitate creative spaces by Bush Theatre, ICA, Southbank Centre, Autograph ABP, Counterpoints Arts / OKRE, Barbican, Tate Modern, Free Word Centre, Doc Martens, Toynbee Hall and Channel 4.
They want the work we do to contribute to a different kind of scaffolding and support for their communities (both local and global), that will build capacity, redistribute resources, and contribute to a legacy of hope, justice and creativity. The Skin Deep team is Anu Henriques, Sylvia Hong, Nkenna Akunna, Georgie Johnson and Hannah Azuonye.