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Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé
Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
November 22, 2023
4
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Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
November 23, 2023
4
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Completed
Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
November 29, 2023
4
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Completed
The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
November 16, 2023
4
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Completed
Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
4
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Completed
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65bb8d0a05487d6757e83123
Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 1 + Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e0
Postcards from a Progressive Present
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 1 + Postcards from a Progressive Present
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83124
Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 2 + Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e1
Life-affirming Infrastructures
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 2 + Life-affirming Infrastructures
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83125
Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 3 + Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e2
Beyond Whiteness: Designing to Remember Ourselves
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 3 + Beyond Whiteness: Designing to Remember Ourselves
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83126
The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 4 + The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e3
Imagining Otherwise: Countering Carceral Fictions with Abolitionist Realities
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 4 + Imagining Otherwise: Countering Carceral Fictions with Abolitionist Realities
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831a1
Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e4
Approximating Realities: Shifting Power and Territories Through Fiction
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 5 + Approximating Realities: Shifting Power and Territories Through Fiction
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e5
Beyond What is Known: Embracing Uncertainty and Redefining Value in an Ever-changing World
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 6 + Beyond What is Known: Embracing Uncertainty and Redefining Value in an Ever-changing World
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83123
Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 1 + Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e0
Postcards from a Progressive Present
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 1 + Postcards from a Progressive Present
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83124
Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 2 + Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e1
Life-affirming Infrastructures
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 2 + Life-affirming Infrastructures
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83125
Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 3 + Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e2
Beyond Whiteness: Designing to Remember Ourselves
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 3 + Beyond Whiteness: Designing to Remember Ourselves
65bb8d0a05487d6757e83126
The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 4 + The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e3
Imagining Otherwise: Countering Carceral Fictions with Abolitionist Realities
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 4 + Imagining Otherwise: Countering Carceral Fictions with Abolitionist Realities
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831a1
Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e4
Approximating Realities: Shifting Power and Territories Through Fiction
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 5 + Approximating Realities: Shifting Power and Territories Through Fiction
65bb8d0a05487d6757e831e5
Beyond What is Known: Embracing Uncertainty and Redefining Value in an Ever-changing World
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 6 + Beyond What is Known: Embracing Uncertainty and Redefining Value in an Ever-changing World
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 1 + Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
November 22, 2023
In the first part of the course, we will ignite the first flames of our study circle by delving into the notion of 'initiation' in relation to epistemology while pushing the boundaries of what is considered real, true or a valid source of knowledge. A book and an unborn child can be altars of knowledge just like reading and ritual-making can be knowledge activation methods and practices.
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 1 + Postcards from a Progressive Present
Postcards from a Progressive Present
In this interactive session we will travel in time to any given moment in the future we desire for our selves, our land and our people. We will achieve this by first grounding ourselves in our bodies and in space and then reflecting on a number of questions that progress us into the energy of our desired future. Questions like who is the freest version of myself, what is my vision of communal love, what does it feel like to exist in a space that is thriving in abundance. We will paint a picture of the highest versions of our selves living in the highest versions of our communities and invite our selves in to inhabit this space. From here we will write and send postcards with messages of hope, joy, encouragement and support to our selves and our loved ones living in the reality of here and now. In this way we become emissaries of hope, astronauts voyaging into the dream space and returning with the tools needed for us to bring it to fruition.
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 2 + Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
November 23, 2023
Our collective study is grounded and inspired by the teachings of ancestor Sobonfu Somé. In this session, we will learn about her and her people — the Dagara tribe of West Africa. By reflecting on her life and legacy as the “the keeper of rituals”, we will explore our own names and roles in community.
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 2 + Life-affirming Infrastructures
Life-affirming Infrastructures
From the belly of compounding crises, this conversation invites us to reimagine the precedents of what we grow - from institutions that sustain our current condition, to infrastructures rooted in our collective more-than-human accountabilities. We will position our collective imaginings as propositional - not just a critique of what should be dismantled, but as an opening to sit with what we build, the tools we use and how we organise. Drawing from Amahra's work, together, we will reflect on the type of systems demonstrators that affirm life and illustrate possibilities otherwise, beginning with Grandad's house
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 3 + Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
November 29, 2023
The embers of our metaphorical fire crackle and with them, we will share our ideas on intimacy which in turn will be enriched by the Dagara’s conception of intimacy. What is it ? How does it manifest itself ? What purpose does it serve ?
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 3 + Beyond Whiteness: Designing to Remember Ourselves
Beyond Whiteness: Designing to Remember Ourselves
In this session, Jacquelyn will unveil the entanglement of design with the stronghold of whiteness, beckoning us to break free from its grasp and embark on a transformative quest of self-remembering. Through thoughtful inquiry into how design shapes our sense of self and society, we will re-imagine what is possible when we reclaim our right to be seen, heard and centred. Jacquelyn will invite us to reclaim design from the places where our histories, cultures and agency have been obscured. To craft liberating spaces and a world that embraces the vibrant hues of our authentic identities and fuels our wellbeing.
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Lesson 4 + The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
November 16, 2023
We will identify our types of relationship based on Dagara belief systems and learn about rituals that pacify the heart and serve as intention-setting tools for healthy and effective communication and conflict resolution.
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 4 + Imagining Otherwise: Countering Carceral Fictions with Abolitionist Realities
Imagining Otherwise: Countering Carceral Fictions with Abolitionist Realities
In a world deeply entrenched in systems of power and oppression, the relationship between design and power becomes a critical lens through which we can challenge and transform the status quo. This session invites participants to explore the intersections of design, power, and radical re-imagination in the context of a convergence of challenges such as mass incarceration, mass surveillance, municipal disinvestment, and poverty. Drawing from her groundbreaking body of work, "Making Room for Abolition," Lauren will demonstrate the power of design fiction in envisioning artifacts from worlds without police and prisons. By collectively shaping these imagined futures, we will advance our understanding of abolitionist realities and their transformative potential.
Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé + Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
On this journey of ancestral remembering and listening, we filled our medicine bag with stories that restore timeless wisdom on the sacredness of existence and on our infinite interconnectedness with all things alive: with spirit. In this final week, we are invited to bring our own twigs, branches and logs to the fireplace to revive its flames and to spell new myths on African spirituality rooted in care and collective dreaming.
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 5 + Approximating Realities: Shifting Power and Territories Through Fiction
Approximating Realities: Shifting Power and Territories Through Fiction
How can we use storytelling and worldbuilding to seek belonging for The Othered in fractured geographies and an increasingly elusive future? Through a process of mythmaking and digital worldbuilding, we can begin to conceive emancipatory futures and situated technocultures for Africa and her diaspora. Working outside the learned methods of formal architectural practice, Miriam’s process appropriates digital technologies and subverts myths and hegemonies in order to approximate realities that destabilize our dysfunctional present and allow us to consider multiplicities in worldviews and cosmologies.
Designing Africa and the Diaspora + Lesson 6 + Beyond What is Known: Embracing Uncertainty and Redefining Value in an Ever-changing World
Beyond What is Known: Embracing Uncertainty and Redefining Value in an Ever-changing World
In this thought-provoking session, Nu Goteh, invites us to challenge the conventional notions of certainty and stability in traditional roles, careers, and identities. We often encounter societal expectations that prioritize stability as a threshold for security and change. However, Nu urges us to critically examine the limitations imposed by desires which have their roots in histories of colonialism, apartheid, and experiences systems of domination and insecurity. We will collectively question the assigned value and constraints associated with these paths and perceptions, recognizing how they may hinder our potential as world-builders, creators, disruptors, and shapeshifters. Through critical analysis of the tensions between tradition, stability and uncertainty, this session invites us to reflect on prevailing paradigms and uncover the transformative power of embracing uncertainty, our unique roles in the social change ecosystem, and diverse trajectories.
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Carlo Cominguez
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Benedicta Asamoah-Russell
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Michael Kibedi
Design researcher
Ehime Ora
Ehime Ora
African Scholar & Priestess
As a multi-hyphenated African scholar, priestess, and creative, Ehime Ora equips others with necessary tools to promote personal alignment and generational healing. Through African philosophy, artistic curation, and ancestral technology, she facilitates radical community joy and development.
Keren Lasme
Keren Lasme
Literary Curator
Interdisciplinary artist, writer, and literary curator. With a foundation in African Studies from SOAS University of London, Keren merges mythopoetic identity with the transformative power of reading. She envisions learning spaces as portals to freedom, healing, and societal reimagination, intertwining education, care politics, and African literature as praxis..
Veronica Agard
Veronica Agard
Community Educator
(Ifáṣadùn Fásanmí) (she/her) is a writer, abọ̀rìṣà, community educator, and connector at the intersections of Black identity, wellness, representation, and culture. She facilitates the Ancestors in Training educational project.
Uzoma Orji
Uzoma Orji
Creative Technologist
Indigenous futurist, visual and experiential artist and creative technologist. His work is concerned with unpacking post-colonial crises of identity, fuelling imagination in service of progressive African futures
Tshegofatso Senne
Tshegofatso Senne
Writer, Sangoma & Community Builder
Black, queer, feminist writer, speaker and digital content creator. They write and speak on issues concerning feminism, sexual and reproductive health and pleasure, consent, rape culture, race, intersectional social justice and pop culture.
Tobi Ayé
Tobi Ayé
Somatic Practitioner & Educator
Trauma-informed, cultural somatic practitioner, working with individuals and communities to repair connections and integrate collective, intergenerational, individual, and systemic trauma
Panashe Chigumadzi
Panashe Chigumadzi
Award winning writer
Panashe Chigumadzi is a Zimbabwean-born journalist, essayist and novelist, who was raised in South Africa.
Nu Goteh 
Nu Goteh 
Creative Director
Liberian-born refugee, designer, strategist, creative director, social practitioner, and the founder of Deem Journal.
Neema Githere
Neema Githere
Cultural theorist
Neema Githere (b. Nairobi, Kenya) is an artist and guerrilla theorist whose work explores love and indigeneity in a time of algorithmic debris.
Dr Naseemah Mohammed
Dr Naseemah Mohammed
Professor of Education Policy
Research fellow at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, UVA. Her work focuses on the use of the arts as a pedagogical tool to overcome the vestiges of colonial educational methods in contemporary African classrooms.
Mirriam Hillawi Abraham
Mirriam Hillawi Abraham
Multi-disciplinary designer
Multi-disciplinary designer from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With a background in Architecture, she works with digital media and spatial design to interrogate themes of equitable futurism and intersectionality.
Neema Iyer
Neema Iyer
Artist and Technologist
Neema Iyer is an artist and a technologist. She is the founder of Pollicy, an award-winning feminist civic technology collective based in Kampala, Uganda.
Jessica Horn
Jessica Horn
Women's Rights Advocate
Jessica Horn is a Ugandan feminist activist, writer, poet, and technical advisor on women's rights Her work focuses on women's rights, bodily autonomy and freedom from violence, and African feminist movement building
Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah
Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah
Liberatory Designer
Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah (she/her) is a racial wellness visionary and healing-informed designer.
Hakim Adi
Hakim Adi
Historian
Hakim Adi is a British historian and scholar who specializes in African affairs. He is the first historian of African-descent to become a professor of history in the UK.
Fati Abubakar
Fati Abubakar
Photojournalist
Fati Abubakar is a documentary photographer, photojournalist and public health worker in Nigeria who specializes in documenting cities and towns, using photography as a medium to highlight problems at the community level.
Dr Wunpini Mohammed
Dr Wunpini Mohammed
Feminist Scholar-activist
Dr. Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed was born and raised in Tamale. She is an Assistant Professor at the College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
Dr Bayo Akomolafe
Dr Bayo Akomolafe
Philosopher & psychologist
Bayo Akomolafe is a philosopher, writer, activist, professor of psychology, and executive director of the Emergence Network.
Dr Lesley-Ann Noel
Dr Lesley-Ann Noel
Liberatory Designer
Educator, Designer, traveller and author of "Design Social Change
Dr Jaimee Swift
Dr Jaimee Swift
Founder of Black Women Radicals
Executive director and founder of Black Women Radicals, and creator of The School for Black Feminist Politics (SBFP).
Ezekiel Dixon-Román
Ezekiel Dixon-Román
Professor
Professor of Critical Race, Media, and Educational Studies at Columbia University. His work critically examines how quantification technologies influence sociopolitical systems and perpetuate racial and societal disparities.
Dimah Mahmoud
Dimah Mahmoud
Pan-African Humanist & Activist
Dimah co-creates grass-root holistic solutions for the collective liberation of people of indigenous ancestry. She is Chair of the Cultural Heritage Sub-committee of the International Civil Society Working Group for the United Nations.
Crystal Simeoni
Crystal Simeoni
Pan-African feminist economist
As director of Nawi – the Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective, Crystal works with African feminists and organizations on analysing, influencing and reimagining macro level economic policies and narratives.
Christina Harrington
Christina Harrington
Socially responsible tech designer & researcher
Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's HCI Institute, former collaborator for Google's Responsible AI Human Centered Technology UX team, and director of the Equity and Health Innovations Design Research Lab.
Chenai Chair
Chenai Chair
Gender & Digital Tech Specialist
Special Advisor on Africa Mradi Innovation at Mozilla Foundation. She is an expert on the intersection of digital technology and gender. Her work draws on principles of feminism in assessing digital technology.
Chao Tayiana
Chao Tayiana
Digital heritage specialist
Chao works at the intersection of history, digitisation and public education. She uses digital technologies to unearth previously hidden or suppressed historical narratives.
Camille Barton
Camille Barton
Social Imagineer
Social Imagineer who operates as a catalyst for social change, dedicated to creating networks of care and livable futures. They work as an artist, facilitator, consultant and curator across the realms of embodied social justice, grief, pleasure and drug policy.
Berhan Taye
Berhan Taye
Digital Rights Researcher & Analyst
Berhan Taye investigates the relationship between technology, society, and social justice. She is currently a Practitioner Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford University and a Research Manager at One Project.
Ayana Zaire Cotton
Ayana Zaire Cotton
Anti-disciplinary artist, technologist and cultural worker
Through engaging with language, technology, and ecology, Ayana is cultivating a practice of remembering and imagining alternative modes of being and interspecies belonging.
Arielle King
Arielle King
Climate Justice Educator
Environmental educator, facilitator, writer, and content creator passionate about making environmentalism and law inclusive and accessible to all people. Arielle is focused on storytelling and amplifying the voices, work, and legacies of those traditionally excluded from mainstream environmentalism.
Ari Melenciano
Ari Melenciano
Artist & Technologist
Artist, technologist, researcher, and cultural theorist imagining, researching, and building at the nexus of new media art, design, science, and technology through a Black and Afrocentric lens
Annika Hansteen-Izora
Annika Hansteen-Izora
Designer
Multidisciplinary designer whose work is primarily rooted in a desire to explore futures rooted in collectivity, play, design, and care-oriented technology. You can find them reimagining the future of social media and queer community as Lead Product Designer at Lex and Somewhere Good.