Skip to main content

DIY 15: Ria Hartley, Barby Asante & Sonya Welch-Moring: The Body is the Place. Memories are the Map

Memory, archives and family histories with Ancestral Constellations

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Mon 18 June
This DIY is supported by ]performance s p a c e[ and Live Art UK's Diverse Actions initiative

Project summary

A two day practice-based workshop for artist of colour exploring  culture, identity, family and ancestral lineage in a safe and supportive environment.

Within the contemporary field of arts practices, many artist of colour have been gathering fragments of their histories from archives, narratives and stories, their families & communities, to better understand where the are coming from and where they have been. The Body is the Place. Memories are the Map is a two-day workshop for artist of colour to come together to explore the actions of memory and remembering, through these workshops that explore artistic practice and the therapeutic practices that can support memory work. This will involve working with artists Barby Asante and Ria Hartley who both have explored memory, archives and family histories within their work and Ancestral Constellations with Systematic Constellations Practitioner Sonya Welch Moring.

Ancestral Constellations is a personal ‘mapping-process’ that looks into a person's family system in a holistic way, through mapping out past and present systems to explore or resolve something for the person proposing the constellation. The group support the constellation through working together as ‘representatives’ within the constellation. During a constellation, a fuller picture of a person’s system emerges. This ‘living-map’ of a situation provides valuable information to the person bringing the constellation. Both Barby and Ria have experienced the power of this work through workshop with Sonya. Sonya is one of the only Black constellation practitioners in the UK and her practice is the only one being developed specifically for Ancestral work from an African perspective. This workshop will be a rare and unique opportunity for artists to work in a practiced based way through their own biographical work in a safe space.

The first day of the process will be a constellation workshop led by Sonya. The workshop will introduce participants to the systemic constellations method and 5 – 6 people will have an opportunity to bring a question to the circle and will be supported by others within the group to explore and perhaps find some resolve in this situation. We hope that through this process, participants will be able to experience constellation work, understand the therapeutic potential of the work and to be able to see how such work could support them to ground or resolve any creative ideas associated to memory, biography or archival work.

How to apply

This DIY is for an intergenerational group of artists/arts workers of colour, at any stage in their practice. Participants will have an interest in memory, archives and biography, exploring areas of ancestry, cultural identity, coloniality, migration and family histories and/or a call to partake in Ancestral Constellations work. We welcome artists & arts workers at any stage of their practice and encourage an intergenerational exchange, meaning we would like to hear from people of all ages and all levels of experience. We further encourage creating space for LGBTQIA+ artists of colour and want to ensure that our workshop can meet the access needs of anyone whom is wanting to take part.

Please note: Ancestral Constellations are a therapeutic healing way of working with personal stories. So the process may bring up strong emotions and feelings. It may not be the right time to attend if participants are in a very vulnerable place in their life, that requires more on-going support. We want to clearly state to potential participants that any emotional and mental health challenges they may be experiencing can be supported within the space, but not outside, and we will work ethically to consider how to best support any access needs.

Please apply using any format in which best suits your individual needs. The online application asks about your interest in taking part in the DIY, and about any access requirements you might have. We accept written answers, or links to video and audio, and you can request a short phone or Skype conversation via this form too.

Dates, times and location

Dates: 5 – 6 Sep 2018
Location: Folkestone

Information about accommodation in Folkestone is coming soon.

The artists

Barby Asante is an artist based in London and Amsterdam.  Her work creates situations and spaces for dialogue, collective thinking, ritual and re-enactment. Using archival material in the broadest sense, she is interested in breaking down the language of archive, not to insert or present alternatives to dominant narratives but to interrupt, interrogate and explore the effects and possibilities of the unheard and the missing.

Ria Jade Hartley is an interdisciplinary artist making process-based biographically driven work. Their practice overall is a contextual life enquiry, which responds to generations of systemic violence & oppression and is concerned with the decolonisation, healing, reclamation and transformation of psyche & soma. Extensive auto-ethnographic research, tacit knowledge and esoteric practices heavily inform their work. Healing and integration is both their praxis & political action.

Sonya Welch- Moring is a Systemic Constellations Practitioner and Group Facilitator with over 30 years of experience working in the social sector as counsellor, consultant, coach, mediator, facilitator and tutor.  She provides workshops and coaching with a focus on the needs of individuals and families in modern multicultural society. Her trans-generational approach is flexible. Most recently, Sonya has been working in artistic contexts with Dorothea Smart at 198 Contemporary Arts and developing learning around artistic processes and practices with Barby.

For questions about this DIY, please contact Ria.

We are looking for a better quality image for this page or to replace it if it's missing.

Part of DIY: 2018 - Call for Participants

Professional development projects conceived and run by artists, for artists

DIY: 2018 – Call for Participants


Professional development projects conceived and run by artists, for artists

Read more


DIY 2020 – Charlie Ashwell: Restless Study


Restless Study will be a space for people to study which privileges restlessness and distraction over focus and concentration. We will generate, manipulate and circulate objects of study, including text, conversation, image, action, movement, and beyond. We will throw off the shackles of goal-oriented education to reclaim study as a vital, liberatory mode of being in dialogue with others!

Read more

DIY: 2019 – Oozing Gloop: COMMUCRACY NOW


Creating a revolutionary vanguard that will develop and present a new economy of government; COMMUCRACY.

Read more