Terra Firma: The Politics of Earth

  • 031820_TheasterGates_0378

    Courtesy of Theaster Gates. Photo: Chris Strong.

Past Event

This event was on Thu 18 Nov, 7pm


What is earth? This interdisciplinary panel explores the political, cultural and social meanings of earth from a variety of distinct perspectives: as commodity, as matter, and as sustenance. Chaired by artist and curator Angela YT Chan, with special guest speakers including organic grower and writer Claire Ratinon, Professor of Inhuman Geography at Queen Mary Kathryn Yusoff and artist Phoebe Collings-James, we consider powerful and creative ways of re-imagining earth and land. 

This event is part of our season Ways of Knowing: Earth / Matter.

Please note: This event will be simultaneously live streamed on our website and YouTube channel from 7pm on 18 November. 

About Angela YT Chan

Angela YT Chan is an independent researcher, curator and artist. Her work reconfigures power in relation to the inequity of climate change, through self-archiving, rethinking geographies and speculative fiction. Her current research-art commissions span climate framings, water scarcity and conflict, and has held residencies with Arts Catalyst, FACT/Jerwood Arts’ Digital Fellowship and Sonic Acts’ environmental research residency. Angela produces curatorial projects and workshops as Worm: art + ecology, collaborating with artists, activists and youth groups. She holds an MA in Climate Change (KCL) and is a researcher in international climate and cultural policy. Angela co-founded the London Chinese Science Fiction Group and co-directs the London Science Fiction Research Community 

About Claire Ratinon

Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower and writer based in East Sussex. Claire has grown edible plants in a variety of roles from growing organic vegetables for the Ottolenghi restaurant, Rovi to delivering growing workshops throughout London to audiences including primary schools, community centres and corporate clients. She has been invited to share her growing journey and experiences in talks and workshops for organisations including The Garden Museum, the Royal College of Art and West Dean College as well as having presented features for Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time. Her writing has been featured in The New Statesman, Bloom Magazine and Waitrose Magazine. She co-wrote a pamphlet entitled ‘Horticultural Appropriation’ for Rough Trade with artist, Sam Ayre and her first book, ‘How To Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving The House’ is out now. 

About Kathryn Yusoff

Kathryn Yusoff is Professor of Inhuman Geography in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research examines how inhuman and nonorganic materialities have consequences for how we understand issues of environmental change, race and subjectivity. Most recently, she is author of A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, Minneapolis (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). Her forthcoming book, Geologic Life: Inhuman Intimacies and the Geophysics of Race addresses the histories or geology and the gravities of race. 

About Phoebe Collings-James

Phoebe Collings-James’ work often eludes linear retellings of stories. Instead, her works function as “emotional detritus”: they speak of knowledges of feelings, the debris of violence, language and desire which are inherent to living and surviving within hostile environments. Recent works have been dealing with the object as subject, giving life and tension to ceramic forms. As the 2021 Freelands Ceramic Fellow she has an upcoming exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, London, in autumn 2021. Collings-James’s Mudbelly ceramics studio began as a personal practice and research outlet, but has since grown to encompass a shop and a teaching facility offering free ceramics courses for Black people in London, taught by Black ceramicists.