Kofi Fosu Forson

The Conversation 2020 (Nalini, Shona and Jo)

oil pastel, graphite, papermate, 10x14" 

From the series considered in: Art Catharsis at time of Covid-19 

collaboration against whiteness

WhiteSpaces collaborates on a range of projects with organisations, networks, groups and individuals who are working to shift understandings and practices of global colonial power from within a relational ethos that connects process and being. Adopting a relationally informed process means that WhiteSpaces' collaborations work against the massifications and accumulations of global colonial power which are sedimented and institutionalised through the anti-relational practice of whiteness. This commitment to relationality is part of its feminist practice. 


Generating connection and change through the asymmetries and violences of whiteness is challenging work. It is painstaking, careful work which is temporally and geographically expansive at the same time as being anchored in the intimacies of experience. It involves all the pleasures, pains and discomforts of working through difference and against the spatial and temporal compressions produced and reproduced through global colonial whiteness. Trust and care is precious, hard won and easily lost in relationships framed through asymmetry.  


In response to these challenges WhiteSpaces collaborations are generated slowly, over time and with the best attempts at curiosity consistency, generosity and transparency that can be made within the particular context available for joint working. These collaborations are usually interdisciplinary with a common aim: to understand the workings of and to generate methodologies for challenging whiteness in global colonial power within a particular institutional context, set of relationships or social practices. These collaborations push against the binaries of coloniality methodologically and thematically. They establish a common commitment to relational process and a belief in the possibility for change. They see this establishing and maintaining of relationship as a practice of hope. 



refusing the colonial 
Black/White binary


Working across positionalities within the racialised mythological Black/White binary constructed to maintain coloniality is core to WhiteSpaces collaboration. This is because it is this Black/White binary that functions to simplify people's positioning within racism and anti-racism as good/bad, vulnerable/oppressor, resister/dominator.

Working across these binaries is a practical refusal of these simplifications. These refusals enable complex lived interpretations and practices of coalition. 


This disruption of binaries is central to various collaborations with Javeria Khadija Shah via her initiative the Social Performance Network and in her role as Director of Learning and Skills Programme at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. These collaborations include "Black History" Interruptions!, and the two related curations Performing Race conceived by Javeria and Disorienting Race conceived by Shona.  


refusing the colonial
time/space binary


Requires different ways of thinking about time and space as interconnected, intersectional,

past in the present and the over there as in here. Methodologies rooted in different ways of knowing through story, performance and sound.


The concept of intersectionality as a Black Feminist concept. Situating of women's difference at the heart of decolonising. Shared interest in centralising learning from Black and decolonial feminist thinking. A common interest in learning from Black feminist thinking on generative ways of knowing through tracing the relations between differently positioned women. relational ways of knowing. Storytelling as world making bringing the past into the present. Via affect, emotion, intimacy.   



WhiteSpaces collaboration with Yorkshire based female artist collective Speak Woman Speak has been focused on learning about interconnected and intersectional colonialities, power and vulnerabilities through their methodology of storytelling and performance out of women's lives, their interconnected stories of resistance, loss, survival and joy.story's of Soledad and Betto, White Walls . Interrelations between systems of and women's lives Facism and Republicanism, state mental health systems.   

Improvised works Decolonising through love hope and historical memory. Loss, violence etc.  

Disrupting binary ideas of time which frame understanding of what is over and in the past and related binary ideas of space which frame understanding of what is present and happening now, what is in here and what is over there are a core is one aspect. 



Betto copy.jpeg

Image credit: still from Soledad and Betto. Courtesy of Speak Woman Speak 


refusing the colonial mind/body binary 

Requires a different way of thinking about the interrelations between body and mind where racialised categories White/Black can be dislodged from individual bodies. Affect and emotion is central to the production of race. Race is produced through intercorporeal and intersubjective relations which means that it can be undone through the performance of different relationalities. 


WhiteSpaces thinking with the artistic practice to challenge straightforward understanding of white embodiments of anti-racist practices

Katalin Halasz is a multidisciplinary artist curator academic working with the idea of 'White affect' to generate a different way of understanding whiteness in its relations to sexuality and gendered power. destabilisation of heteronormative power relations through performance. Chamber of White Cruizing Working from the point of view of the visual arts to interrogate the experiences of white identifying women resisting Katalin Halász White Affects.

Critique of feminism's whiteness as central to decolonizing anti-racist world changing.  



Image credit: Polly Card, Ryan Irvin and Katalin Halasz

Courtesy of the artist 


refusing the colonial 
individual/institution  binary




Central to the question of WhiteSpaces is the experience of the space of the institution as the space of whiteness as a form of power and domination.





Requires a different way of thinking about the relationship between the systemic politics of whiteness and individual practices of power. 

and a different form of institutional analysis.

which is central to the perspective on whiteness as institutions as white spaces. Bureaucratic space as a space of whiteness. 



How the systemically enacted whiteness gets located in the bodies of individuals and how systemic aspects of whiteness are hidden.


 The complicates relationship between politics of whiteness is separated from individuals 


Instititions and institutionalising whitenss



whiteness as an epistemology of certainty which produces things.


The institutionalisation of whiteness as a process of institutionalising power and vulnerability. 


More about Policy Ontologies Project