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Palestine Futures: Danah Abdulla, Zena Agha, Mahdi Sabbagh + Larissa Sansour

Thursday 23rd May 2024, 18:30 - 20:00
Culture Lab, Newcastle University

Four Palestinian Creatives join Preti Taneja in a panel discussion.

‘What does looking ahead, look like?’ Sarona Abuaker

Designer, Poet, Architect, Filmmaker: four leading Palestinian creatives join us to discuss realities and representations of Palestine’s past and present, and to concentrate on the futures we might imagine into being through their radical and important work. Sharing readings, short films, landscape plans, blueprints, and design briefs, we explore how these fields play a vital role in shaping a Palestine under occupation, but also how they have the potential to liberate our imaginations beyond circular arguments of conflict, security, and terror, towards a free, inclusive and just society for Palestinians going forward.

Danah Abdulla is a designer, educator and researcher interested in boundary-pushing narratives and practices in design. She is a Reader in Anti/Post/Decolonial Histories, Theories, Praxesat the Decolonising the Arts Institute at University of the Arts, London. Her first book is Designerly Ways of Knowing: A Working Inventory of Things a Designer Should Know (Onomatopee, 2022). Her second, Design Otherwise: Transforming Design Education in the Arab Region will be published by Bloomsbury in 2024.

Zena Agha is a Palestinian-Iraqi writer, researcher, poet and multi-disciplinary artist from London. Her debut poetry collection Objects from April and May (Hajar Press, 2022), was a finalist for the James Book Award, the Omnidawn First/Second Book Prize and the Philip Levine Poetry Prize. She is a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. and undertaking an ESRC-funded PhD at Newcastle University exploring colonial cartography in Palestine.

Mahdi Sabbagh is a writer, architect, and urbanist. He is co-curator of PalFest, the Palestine Festival of Literature and is published in the Journal of Public Culture, Jerusalem Quarterly, Architecture of the Territory (2022), Open Gaza (2021), the Funambulist
and PLATFORM. He is the editor of New Solidarities, (PalFest/ Haymarket Press, 2024) and is the Matakyev Research Fellow at the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands, Arizona State University.

Larissa Sansour was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Bethlehem in Palestine. She works with film, installation, photography and sculpture. She often uses science fiction to explore myth, memory, trauma, power structures and nation states. Sansour was the shared recipient of the Jarman Award (2020) and her work has screened in Tate Modern, MoMA and Centre Pompidou. She represented Denmark at the 58th Venice Biennale. Her 2023 solo shows include 'Tomorrow’s Ghosts' at Kunsten, Denmark and 'Familiar Phantoms' at The Whitworth Gallery, UK.

Preti Taneja is Director of NCLA and Professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Culture Lab is building number 7 on Newcastle University's map of the campus

Photograph: Danah Abdulla © Kasia Wozniak