Annie Kwan profile

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Annie Kwan

University of Westminster (2023)


Professor May Adadol Ingawanij


Radical Spiritual Collective: Spiritual Activism as Curatorial Collective Engagements with Diasporic Feminist Artistic Practices


Curatorial research and practice in the UK since the late 1980s, has extended progressive debates, exhibition-making and artwork emergent from Black, Asian/Chinese, Arabic and Irish diasporic artists, exploring migratory links, identity formations and postcolonial struggles. Curating complex intersectional relations between diasporic artists to explore commonality and develop new knowledge has been less evident. Significant is spirituality to diasporic creative practice, and the potential it has for generating a socially transformative curatorial methodology.

This practice-led project Radical Spiritual Collective (RSC) extends existing curatorial practice to focus on spirituality as central to diasporic, feminist artistic practice, to generate new experimental approaches based on collective art making, intersectional diasporic formations, and embed ecological, beyond human relations.

Described as a “global port” (Brown 2009) built on “salt, slaves, raw material and manufactures” during the 18th and 19th centuries (Wilks-Heeg, 2003), Liverpool is a significant site of industrialisation and globalisation, maritime histories of trade and exchange, where migration and trauma are linked to dislocation of marginalised communities. Together with myths and legends, these histories characterise the region as always having been diasporic, liminal and pre/extra-nation (Burman 2006; Mignolo 2018). RSC activities will engage with the ‘portal’ of Liverpool and the nature reserve, Colliers Moss Common, east of the city, that suffered extensive ecological damage by the waste of the Bold Colliery and Power Station and is being regenerated.

I will curate the RSC (consisting of myself, Jesse Jones, Youngsook Choi and Lynn Lu as researchers and artists) to develop collaborative art-making workshops that: reshape practices of agency and accountability; develop distinct intersectional knowledge exchange; explore ancestral belief systems and embed recuperative feminist strategies. The RSC curatorial and art practice toolkit will be developed (published) to engender interventions in Liverpool and symposia presented at Fact Liverpool, as co-liberatory spiritual reimaginings of public space.