Queer of Colour Critique reading circle: A conversation about Queer Diaspora and Archiving

With Dr.Chandra Frank, Gayatri Gopinath, Rena Onat and Saida-Mahalia Saad
moderated by Kathy-Ann Tan

Monday, Ocotber 25th, 6pm CET, online and in English spoken language

What do (queer) diasporic body archives mean for our communities? How do we (re)produce knowledge when we think of diasporic body archives? How can kinship and relationality be understood from a queer and diasporic perspective? Which role do narratives of cultural/collective memory play in our everyday (professional) practice?

Our final event of the reading circle Queer of Colour Critique will be a panel discussion moderated by Kathy-Ann Tan with our guest panellists Dr. Chandra Frank and Gayatri Gopinath. The facilitators of the Queer of Colour Critique reading circle Rena Onat and Saida-Mahalia Saad will join with their thoughts and observations that have emerged from and within the reading group.

Buntes Foto von Büchern, die im Lesekreis besprochen werden, von Stiften, Bilder und anderen Materialen
© Rena Onat und Saida-Mahalia Saad

Since May 2021 Rena Onat and Saida-Mahalia Saad have facilitated a monthly reading group focusing on writings by José Esteban Muñoz, Sara Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, Riley Snorton and Jin Haritaworn. Central questions in the discussions were: How can we bring science and knowledge that is produced by QTIBIPoCs back to the Communities? Which meaning does our empirical knowledge and our political practice have for these theories and concepts?  How can we understand these theories in the sense of bell hooks “Liberatory Practice” and “Healing Theory”? How can we deal with the fact that most of these theories have their origin in the USA and are in English?

Please register for the event via contact@xartsplitta.net until Friday, October 22nd, 2021.

Kathy-Ann Tan is a Berlin-based curator, writer and independent scholar of the visual arts and performance, postcolonial and decolonial theory, critical diversity studies and gender/queer studies. She is interested in alternative models of art dissemination, exhibition-making and institution-building that are attuned to issues of social- and transformative justice. Her ongoing project www.decolonialartarchives.com aims to collaboratively build an online and offline forum for artists and curators to develop ways of interrogating colonial narratives and countering neo-colonial forms of domination and control. As a former full-time academic, she has extensive experience in teaching, research, publishing and public speaking. Kathy-Ann also teaches courses at the Node Center for Curatorial Studies, and recently completed an MA Curatorial Practice at University of Bergen, Norway.  

Dr. Chandra Frank is a feminist researcher who works on the intersections of archives, waterways, gender, sexuality and race. Her curatorial practice explores the politics of care, experimental forms of narration, and the colonial grammar embedded within display and exhibition arrangements. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, exhibition catalogues and art publications, including Feminist Review, the Small Axe VLOSA catalogue, The Place is Here, Tongues, Foam Magazine and Stedelijk Studies. Chandra recently co-edited a special issue on Archives for Feminist Review. She is working on her monograph, Glimmers of Place: Queer Feminist Archives, Diaspora and Tidal Politics (working title), and is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Charles Phelps Taft Research Centre at the University of Cincinnati. 

Gayatri Gopinath is Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. She works at the intersection of transnational feminist and queer studies, postcolonial studies, and diaspora studies, and is the author of two monographs: Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press, 2005), and Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2018). She has published numerous essays on gender, sexuality, and queer diasporic visual art and culture in anthologies and journals such as Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, GLQ, and Social Text, as well as in art publications such as PIX: A Journal of Contemporary Indian Photography, Tribe: Photography and New Media from the Arab World, and ArtReview Asia. 

Rena Onat is an art and media scientist interested in queer of colour critique in art and visual culture. She wrote her doctoral thesis on “Orientations. Queer artists of colour and negotiations of disidentification, survival and (un)archiving in the German context” at the University of Oldenburg. An important focus of her work is anti-discrimination in the art and university context. She currently works as a women’s representative at weißensee kunsthochschule berlin. Rena positions herself as a German-Turkish femme of colour and likes horses.

Saida-Mahalia Saad studies Sociocultural Studies at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt Oder. Saida holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies and is a trained experiential educator. Saida works as a consultant for political education with a focus on discrimination-sensitive language, racism, empowerment, gender and sexual diversity. Target groups include pupils, students, teachers and school educators. At xart splitta, Saida works in the team of the reading group Queer of Colour Critique.


This event takes place within the LADS-funded project #CommunitiesSolidarischDenken.