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Artist Bios
Institute of Contemporary Arts
we shape ourselves with the force of each other

Reni Eddo-Lodge
 is a journalist, author, and podcaster. Her debut nonfiction book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race was published in June 2017 and spent more than 52 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller list. Her podcast About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge premiered in March 2018.

Ghada Karmi was born in Jerusalem and trained as a doctor of medicine at Bristol University. She established the first British-Palestinian medical charity in 1972 and was an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Most recently she was a search fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. Her previous books include Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?The Palestinian Exodus 1948-1998 (with Eugene Cotran), Married to Another Man: Israel's Dilemma in PalestineReturn: A Palestinian Memoir and the best-selling In Search of Fatima.

Ru Kaur organises against state violence, including policing and border violence. She occasionally writes on topics including migration, race and gender.

Laleh Khalili is a Professor of Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter. She is the author of Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian PeninsulaHeroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration and Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies.

Akram Salhab is a Palestinian organiser, researcher and PhD student at Queen Mary University of London focusing on Palestinian anticolonial history.

dj pls is a DJ and publisher based in London. She is a cofounder of DJs for Palestine and host of the No One’s Watching show on Threads.

Christina Hazboun is a sonic agent, surfing soundwaves in search of eargasms, exploring music, words and sound in space, time and society. Her multifarious adventuring through music and sound manifest through an intersectional web of activities aimed at amplifying the voices of the underheard from the SWANA and the global majority via texts, poetry, radio/sound collages, talks and curation with a special interest in music industries, gender diversity and digital connectivity.

Knut Jonas Sellevold is a Bergen-based artist, producer, DJ, and researcher. Knut's work is anchored in his academic background in sound studies and ethnomusicology, with a particular focus on music education, sound pedagogy, ecology, and decolonisation. He explores these themes through his monthly radio show Vibrant Matter on Radio AlHara in Palestine and Vers Libre Community Radio in Bergen.

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is the author of What If Latin America Ruled the World? (Bloomsbury, 2010) winner of the Frantz Fanon Award, and Story of a Death Foretold (Bloomsbury, 2013) shortlisted for the 2014 Bread & Roses Award. More recently, In Defence of Armed / Art Struggle (Bogota: UTadeo, 2019), ‘A Future for the Philosophy of Liberation’ in Decolonising Ethics (Pennsylvania University Press, 2020), and the poem/novel Night of the World (the87press, 2021). Professor at the University of London. Fellow of the RSA. His Peace & War Reformation and the docu-video Art & Fire: A Journey in Five Films, with Hay Festivals. Night of the World book 2 Under the World, will be released by the87press in 2024.

Aurelia Guo is a writer and researcher based in London. She is the author of World of Interiors (Divided, 2022), NYT (Gauss PDF, 2018) and 2016 (After Hours Ltd, 2016). She is a lecturer in law at London South Bank University.

So Mayer is a writer, bookseller, organiser and film curator. Their first collection of short stories Truth and Dare* is out now from Cipher Press. Their recent books include A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing, a book-length essay on queer films, bodies and fascism for Peninsula Press, and their most recent collaborative projects Space Crone by Ursula K. Le Guin (Silver Press), The Film We Can’t See (BBC Sounds), Unreal Sex (Cipher Press) and Mothers of Invention: Film, Media and Caregiving Labour. So works with Burley Fisher Books and queer feminist film curation collective Club Des Femmes.

Yamen Mekdad is a music researcher, collector, DJ and radio host based in London. His interests in field recording, archiving, radio and grassroots organising have led him to found Sawt of the Earth and Makkam, two London-based collectives. He is a frequent contributor to a number of radio stations, including Root Radio and Balamii Radio, and was a producer of DanDana podcasts on SOAS Radio. Yamen is currently co-producer/curator of the Syrian Cassette Archives, a web based platform that preserves the Syrian cassette era as well as curating and producing Syrian Arts and Culture Festival’s music programme. Yamen has performed and collaborated with various artists and art institutions both in the UK and internationally.

Lucy Mercer is a writer based in London. Her first poetry collection Emblem (Prototype, 2022) was a Poetry Book Society Choice. She has written essays and criticism for Art Review, Granta, Poetry Review and The White Review. She is co-editor, with Livia Franchini, of the RS-funded publication and podcast Too Little / Too Hard: Writers on the Intersections of Work, Time and Value. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.

Elaine Mitchener is a British Afro-Caribbean vocalist, movement artist and composer working between contemporary/experimental new music, free improvisation and visual art. She is currently a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist, was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow (2022), and was an exhibiting artist in the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). Elaine is founder of the collective electroacoustic unit The Rolling Calf (with Jason Yarde and Neil Charles). Her regular collaborators include: composers George E Lewis, Jennifer Walshe, Hannah Kendall and Tansy Davies; visual artists Sonia Boyce, Christian Marclay and The Otolith Group; chamber ensembles Apartment House, London Sinfonietta, Jay Bernard, Ensemble MAM, Ensemble Klang, and Klangforum Wien; choreographer Dam van Huynh’s company; and experimental musicians such as Moor Mother, Loré Lixenberg, Saul Williams, Pat Thomas, Reece Ewing and David Toop.

Zarina Muhammad is a writer, art critic, and artist (sometimes). She is a co-founder of the white pube, an online art criticism platform that publishes reviews, essays and other little bits in between.

Rose Nordin is currently artist-in-residence at Somerset House Studios London UK and Jan Van Eyck Academie Maastricht NL, developing work on the divine qualities of printed letterforms and alphabets under the project The talisman of the written word and the talking leaves. Rose is interested in the publication as a site of exchange and collaboration, print technologies as tools for union, and letterforms as modes of magic. As a designer, Rose primarily makes artist books and printed matter. This extends to exhibition and custom type design. Her project STUART papers is a highly visual, free newspaper-style publication that reflects thematically on selected texts and archived ephemera from the Stuart Hall Library and connects to contemporary collectives through responsive content.

M. NourbeSe Philip was born on the island of Tobago in the ‘huddled hunch-backed hills’ of Woodlands, Moriah, where the blue of sky and ocean often appear as one. Shortly after her birth her paternal grandmother took her outdoors, held her up to the sky and offered prayers to the Ancestors. She studied at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica and took graduate degrees in political science and law at the University of Western Ontario. For seven years she practiced law in the space-time of Toronto, where she still lives. Her first collection of poetry, Thorns, was published in 1980. A further four books of poetry have followed including She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks and Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence, a quest narrative in prose and poetry in which a woman travelling through time, Africa and unnamed lands searches for Dr. Livingstone as the text elegantly unravels Western assumptions about the ‘silence’ of indigenous peoples. Philip’s young adult novel Harriet’s Daughter, about two friends, Margaret and Zulma, navigating their adolescence in Toronto and their different relationships to the Caribbean continues her exploration of issues of exile and belonging in the wake of historical trauma.

Philip’s dramatic work includes Coups and Calypsos, produced in both London and Toronto in 1996. The play explores the impact of the legacy of colonial racism on intimate relations as a separated, mixed-race Trinidadian couple of South Asian and African backgrounds, unexpectedly caught up in the 1990 coup, are forced to face their previously unexamined mutual prejudices.

Philip’s many essay collections are in the time-honoured tradition of engaged scholar-poets, novelists and artists of the Caribbean, and they articulate a powerful and decades-long engagement with issues of language, race, colonialism, culture, politics, gender and social justice. They also display her lifelong concern with the possibilities afforded by language to interrogate and remake the destructive legacies of colonial history. In her poetry, Philip turns language inside out. The tensions and opportunities she identifies between and within language are evident in the refrain at the heart of Discourse on the Logic of Language:

and English is
my mother tongue
my father tongue
is a foreign lan lan lang

 Her book-length poem Zong! was first published in Canada and the US in 2008. It takes its title and subject from the Zong massacre of 1781, when the captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that some 150 enslaved Africans be thrown overboard to their deaths so that the ship’s owners could claim insurance monies. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert, the only extant public document related to the massacre, Zong! excavates the legal text. Through the innovative use of fugal and counterpointed repetition, it forms an anti-narrative lament that stretches the boundaries of the poetic form. Fred Wah has described it as “legal poetry. That is, legally, poetry . . . The poetry displays the agonizing tension of an exploration through the minute particulars and silences locked within the legal text, the precise and cautious movement that tries to not tell the story that must be told.” As in all her work, Philip encourages readers of Zong! to be attentive to sound, space and silence. Readings can be found at the University of Pennsylvania’s PennSound website and on the Silver Press website. Philip’s work displays a profound commitment to the beauty, strength, resilience and innovative capacities of Black/African life wherever it exists. Philip has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and MacDowell Colony, as well as numerous awards from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council. Her 1989 book of poetry She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks was awarded the Casa de las Américas Prize for Literature while still in manuscript form. In 2001, she was recognized by the Elizabeth Fry Society with its Rebels for a Cause Award, and the YWCA awarded her its Women of Distinction in the Arts Award. In 2012, she received a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award (Trinidad and Tobago) and in 2020 she was awarded the PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature and made an Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association, USA.

Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow, and is now based in London. She is a poet and Lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London. Her pamphlets include Notes on SanskritCorrespondences, and In Me the Juncture, as well as Threads, co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil. States of the Body Produced by Love is her first full-length book published by Ignota.

Anahí Saravia Herrera (she/her) works at the intersection of community organizing, publishing, and cultural work. She is interested in exploring histories of resistance and how we can use creative means to make critical perspectives public. She organises with feminist migrant -led assemblies in London, as well as caring for the live art platform performingborders. She is currently the Civic Fellow at Cubitt in London. Anahi is physically based in the “west” but as much as possible, creates work situated in the Latinx diaspora, she was born in La Paz, Bolivia.

Rosalie Schweiker is an artist, grower and organiser. With Joon Lynn Goh and Diana Damian Martin, she co-directs Migrants In Culture, a migrant-led design agency. Recent qualifications and awards include: Paul Hamlyn Artist Award (2020), Arts Council England DYCP (2022) and Fruit and Vegetable Gardener Level 2 (2021).

Azad Ashim Sharma is the director of the87press and the author of Against the Frame (originally published by Barque Press in 2017 with a 5th Anniversary edition released by Broken Sleep Books in 2022) and Ergastulum: Vignettes of Lost Time (Broken Sleep Books 2022). He was awarded The Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award 2023 by the Caribbean Philosophical Association. He is currently a PhD Candidate in English and Humanities at Birkbeck College. His poetry and essays have been published widely and internationally, most recently in Wasafiri.

Sarah Shin is a writer, publisher, researcher and curator whose work includes making books, texts, gardens, games, scents, spaces, portals and practices. She is a founder and director of Ignota, a creative publishing and curatorial house; Silver Press, the feminist publisher; New Suns literary festival at the Barbican Centre; and Standard Deviation, a collective exploring the coincidence of psychic, geometric and inhabited spaces.

Olivia Sudjic is a writer living in London. She is the author of Exposure, a personal essay, and Sympathy, her debut novel, which was a finalist for the Salerno European Book Award, the Collyer Bristow Prize and has been translated into five languages. Her most recent novel is Asylum Road. In 2023, she was named one of Granta’s best British novelists under 40.

Isabel Waidner is a writer based in London. They are the author of Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, Sterling Karat GoldWe Are Made of Diamond Stuff and Gaudy Bauble. They are the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2021 and were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019, the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction in 2022 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2018, 2020 and 2022. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the ICA.

Steve Willey lives in Newham, London, and is the author of several poetry collections: Living In: Creative Solidarities in Palestine (The Onslaught Press, 2020); Sea Fever (Knives Forks and Spoons (2017), Elegy (Veer Books, 2012); Wave: Histories of the Kursk (Openned, 2008); and Portmanteaux///Document (Openned, 2008). He has been poet in residence at the University of Arizona Poetry Centre in Tucson and the Palestine Poetry Workshop in Birzeit. His work has been translated into German and Arabic. He ran Openned, a press, website and reading series with Alex Davies between 2006 – 2012, and is currently Academic Co-Director of Environmental Education Projects at Birkbeck, University of London.

Jumana Emil Abboud’s creative practice engages with oral histories and with personal and collective mythologies, drawing on the tradition of Palestinian folklore and its entanglement with land and water, with the human and non-human. Jumana is currently pursuing a practice-led PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.