30 episodes

Wysing Arts Centre hosts residencies, commissions and events from our site in Bourn, Cambridgeshire. Arts Council England supported.

Wysing Arts Centre Wysing Arts Centre

    • Arts

Wysing Arts Centre hosts residencies, commissions and events from our site in Bourn, Cambridgeshire. Arts Council England supported.

    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 4: caste-oppressed queers 👽

    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 4: caste-oppressed queers 👽

    Guest speaker: Manu Kaur (they/them)

    Caste-oppressed diasporic queers discuss tragic love through Seema’s 2022 Role-Playing Game (RPG), love x lore, and the influence of caste on power dynamics & social hierarchies within South Asian queer circles - plus a comparison of lived experiences between India, the US and the UK.

    This podCASTE episode contains strong language throughout.

    Resources for the episode (as mentioned in the episode):

    Caste, Queerness, Migration and the Erotics of Activism - Link: journals.openedition.org/samaj/7173

    love x lore (2022) -RPG by Seema Mattu – Link: tinyurl.com/lovexlore(Contains one use of strong language)By retelling stories at the core of Punjabi mentality and society, love x lore (2022) is an online RPG (role playing game) which sparks perpetual discourse around caste hierarchies, queer sorcery and expectations of sex and gender.

    About Manu:

    Manu is a queer, Dalit, non-binary femme who is committed to caste annihilation, queer liberation, and mental health activism. Their work is centered around advocating for caste oppressed communities, defending queer and trans lives, and dismantling the anti-Blackness that exists within the diasporic South Asian community. Manu dreams of a world that amplifies, uplifts, and protects Black, Indigenous, Dalit, queer, and trans lives.

    • 51 min
    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 3: colourism, casteism and its intersections 🇳🇬

    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 3: colourism, casteism and its intersections 🇳🇬

    Guest speaker: Tobi Adebajo (they/them)

    Tobi’s interest in the topic of caste and casteism stems from a curiosity about what can be unearthed at the intersections of casteism and colourism - especially from a Nigerian context - to focus on seeking / creating worlds and spaces where we arrive to find healing and repair from this violence.

    This podCASTE episode contains strong language throughout

    Resources for the episode (as mentioned in the episode):

    Tedx Talk led by Ogechukwu Stella Maduagwu (President of the IFETACSIOS or Initiative for the Eradication of Traditional and Cultural Stigmatization in Our Society Organisation) - Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U74ph7T3aoc

    Discrimination based on descent in Africa, via The International Dalit Solidarity Network - Link: idsn.org/wp-content/uploads/u…a/pdf/Africafull.pdf

    About Tobi

    Tobi Adebajo is an Anti-Disciplinary artist and Doula who navigates various creative / communal spheres. Tobi works as a full spectrum Birth and death Doula - Primarily supporting the QTIBIPoC community.

    Tobi’s creative pieces primarily focus on communing with ‘the Other’ via Film, Movement, Sound, Visual & Written formats. Their works centre the depths & nuances of a variety of themes such as: Dis/Ability, Black Sexuality, Desire, Healing, Queer Love, & Yoruba traditions.

    • 45 min
    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 2: troublemakers in trinidad 🇹🇹

    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 2: troublemakers in trinidad 🇹🇹

    Guest speaker: Helen Starr (she/her)  

    With an undercurrent of friendship captured throughout the episode’s joy and laughter, Helen and Seema sit in community with one another and discuss: how caste in Trindidad came not to be, attitudes toward bodily fluids in municipal work, touch and hapticality, how we can hold each other through caste and by a Global South lens - and the ties between all of this and SEEMAWORLD. Can we get to the beat?

    Content Warning: This podCASTE episode contains strong language around the 38-minute mark

        Resources for the episode (as mentioned in the episode): 

     - Fantasy in the Hold, by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney: HAPTICALITY, OR LOVE 

     - The metamorphosis of caste among Trinidad Hindus by N. Jayaram 

     - Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur 

    About Helen Starr 

    Helen Starr is an Afro-Carib Trinidadian world-building curator, commissioner, cultural activist and founder of The Mechatronic Library (2010). Her innovative practice establishes a Carib epistemology for digital art focusing on immersive media and AI technologies that express Indigenous concepts such as gender fluidity, skin-thinking, simultaneous multiple realities and nature godded worlds.  

    Working mainly with artists who have protected characteristics, Helen Starr has commissioned artworks from artists including Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Seema Mattu, Aliyah Hussain, Rebecca Allen, Phoebe Collings James, Kinnari Saraiya and Anna Bunting-Branch, who have gone on to exhibit in museums across the globe. 

    Helen Starr has curated and produced artworks shown at many exhibitions both nationally (FACT, Liverpool, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge, QUAD in Derby and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead) and internationally. As board member she was part of the launch of Format Festival’s Mass Isolation Project (2020-23) where image makers from around the world were invited to document the Coronavirus pandemic via Instagram. With over 40,000 submissions from 90 countries it became the largest visual archive of the pandemic.

    She has published several essays on the duality of Afro-indigeneity, was digital consultant on the Ab Rogers Design team (Wolfson Economic Prize 2021) and has served on the Jury for Ars Electronica Animation Festival in Linz Austria. Starr lives in London with her family and is devoted to the writings of the Jamaican philosopher Sylver Wynter.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 1: girmit histories with izland kuli 🇫🇯

    Seema Mattu - podCASTE Episode 1: girmit histories with izland kuli 🇫🇯

    Guest speaker: Esha Pillay (she/her)  

    Taking inspiration from her feature in Tamil Futures 2020, Esha Pillay presents her vision for a Tamil future as a low-caste coolie from Fiji - encouraging viewers to further their understanding of gendered and caste-based violence(s) of indentured labour, and their intersections with intergenerational traumas.

    Resources for the episode (as mentioned in the episode):

    - Dr. Gabrielle Jamela Hosein & Dr. Lisa Outar, Indo-Caribbean Feminist Thought: Genealogies, Theories, Enactments

    - Lainy Malkani, Sugar, Sugar: Bitter-Sweet Tales of Indian Migrant Workers

    - Dr. Margaret Mishra, Between Women: Indenture, Morality and Health


    Seema Mattu is a Valmiki world-building trickster, whose multi-channel practice is framed as a theme park—known as SEEMAWORLD. Through the playfulness of intersecting amenities and services, visitors are prompted to portal around a unifying setting weaved by Seema’s own multi-minority personhood.

    With an interest in lo-fi high fantasy storytelling, SEEMAWORLD fuses both CGI and IRL environment-building, character creation, mixed-media animation, sound design and visual spectacle to explore: systems of caste, South Asian GL (girl(s) love), queer sorcery, fan labour and classifications of gender via digital technologies.

    Recent projects include work with: Berwick Film and Media Festival, IKON gallery, Eastside Projects, New Art City, Blindspot Gallery and QUAD. In April 2022, she completed both Film London’s FLAMIN Fellowship and a year-long residency with Wysing Arts Centre in March 2023. In December 2021, Seema became a QUAD International Digital Fellow, leading to her first major solo show in Autumn 2023. 

    Esha Pillay is an Indo-Fijian writer based in the U.S. whose research looks into intergenerational traumas among Indo-Fijian communities who are descendants of indentured labour and Girmit. She has a focus on caste violence throughout Girmit and in the present and challenges the "post-caste" narrative among descendants of indenture. Her own family stories and lived experiences guide her activism and story-telling across various digital platforms. Esha used to host a dedicated Instagram account, coolie_returns, to share further marginalized histories within larger indentured labour histories across different countries, islands, and diasporas. Her educational posts are now accessible on her website (izlandkuli.wixsite.com/cooliereturns), and you can find her other writing and projects at linktr.ee/izland_kuli.

    • 54 min
    From the Ground Up: Jo Capper & Akil Scafe-Smith

    From the Ground Up: Jo Capper & Akil Scafe-Smith

    What role can cultural spaces that are custodians of land, like Wysing, play in fostering a sense of ownership in public space? How can the resources that the culture sector currently holds contribute better to grassroots justice work? What are the imaginative possibilities of divestment?

    Catch up with the final archived part of our event 'From the Ground Up: The Gathering', July 2022, an event which takes Wysing’s rural context, abundant land and neighbouring Fenland (at risk due to climate change, and rich in histories of land-based struggle) as a rich context for thought and action about topics including land rights, ownership and access, sustainability, environmental time and crip time, growing, wildness and racial justice.

    For a PDF transcript of the podcast, please click here.

    Jo Capper is Grand Union (Birmingham)’s Collaborative Programme Curator. Capper is an artist educator with a strong desire to heal, restore and do good in the world, creating alternative cultural and living practices that start with simple acts of growing or sharing food - embodying the cultural specifics of human conviviality.

    Akil Scafe-Smith is part of RESOLVE Collective, an interdisciplinary design collective that combines architecture, engineering, technology and art to address social challenges. Much of their work aims to provide platforms for celebrating local knowledge as well as organising and collaborating in communities.

    Lucy Shipp was Wysing's Education Manager. 

    • 51 min
    From the Ground Up: Khairani Barokka, Bella Milroy & Hannah Wallis

    From the Ground Up: Khairani Barokka, Bella Milroy & Hannah Wallis

    Khairani Barokka and Bella Milroy in-conversation, chaired by Hannah Wallis

    In this second archived event from our event 'From the Ground Up: The Gathering', join Khairani Barokka and Bella Milroy with Hannah Wallis for readings, an in-conversation and an audience Q and A. You can find out more about 'From the Ground Up' by clicking here.

    A full transcript is available to read by clicking here.


    If ‘normative time’ can be understood as artificial and possible to change, what can we learn from ‘crip time’ as a new way of understanding time that acknowledges different lived realities? Join Bella Milroy and Khairani Barokka in thinking through and with crip time in relation to rural contexts and anti-colonial praxis.

    Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer and artist in London, whose work centres disability justice as anticolonial praxis, and has presented widely internationally. Okka is the new Editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. Her latest book is Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches), shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize.

    Bella Milroy is an artist and writer who lives in her hometown of Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She works responsively through mediums of sculpture, drawings, photography, writing and text. She makes work about making work (and being disabled) and not being able to make work (and being disabled).

    • 1 hr 7 min

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