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DIY Progression – Unfunky UFO: 2100AD (Seke Chimutengwende & Alexandrina Hemsley)

A retreat for artists of colour to explore how their work journeys in dialogue with futurity.

Developed from the Live Art Development Agency’s DIY programme, and supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Application deadline: 10 Nov 2017

Since September 2016, Seke Chimutengwende and Alexandrina Hemsley have been meeting to talk about/around Afrofuturism – its brilliance and its problems.

For the next phase of their ongoing Unfunky UFO project, Seke and Alexandrina will be guiding participants through a 4-day artists’ retreat titled Unfunky UFO: 2100AD, combining both directed and independent research. This scaled-up DIY will centre around conversation, daily physical and writing practices, and the potential of new, imagined futures to construct alternative realities and bring personal narratives (bodily, symbolic or verbal) to the surface.

As well as the directed sessions, participants will cook together, spend time reading, and enjoy visits to the surrounding Northumberland landscape. They will be in dialogue with:

  • Experiences of people of colour around (under)representation, exotification, isolation, safety…
  • Physical and felt stories and experiences. This will be a space designed to cultivate and share these with one another, as comfort and as important artistic investigations
  • Transformative, time-travel narratives, including both movement and verbal expressions

Retreats can be intense, so Unfunky UFO: 2100AD will encourage plenty of break-out time, solo reflection and relaxed visits to the surrounding areas. Right now, many artists of colour seem to be either burning out or at risk from it; rest, recuperation and self-care will be an important part of this process.


This workshop is open to practicing artists of colour from any discipline (writers, visual artists, sound artists, musicians, dancers, actors).

We are seeking applicants (aged 18+) who are interested in making work that deals with the future and who have a project in mind for development during the retreat. This can be a tiny seed of an idea or something for which significant progress has been made. The accommodation is a domestic setting so there are no designated artist studio spaces; however, rooms are spacious with several areas for private study.

Participants will be required to share rooms (but no more than 2 to a room). All meals will be provided.

The application form requests a short biography and a statement on your interest in the retreat, including information on the project or research question you would like to work on during Unfunky UFO 2100:AD. This DIY opportunity will be for approximately 6 artists.

Some areas of the accommodation and grounds might be inaccessible for wheelchair users or those with mobility issues. The venue’s access statement is available here, but if you have further questions about access, or anything else, please contact Seke.

Successful applicants will be notified by 13 Nov 2017.

Dates, times and location

Dates: 5 – 9 Dec 2017
Times: Arrive by 5pm on 5 Dec, depart after 1pm on 9 Dec.
Location: Alnwick, Northumberland
Nearest station: Alnmouth

Contributions towards travel are available for each participant. We will also cover taxis to and from Alnmouth.

The artists

Alexandrina Hemsley is a dance artist and writer making work that aims to reclaim her identity as a mixed-race woman and tries to engage with the various cultural frameworks that mark her body on her own terms. Her practice is frequently interdisciplinary and Alexandrina is one part of duo Project O with Jamila Johnson-Small and she works with Helena Webb & Rosie Heafford on Dad Dancing. Alexandrina has also collaborated with artist Katarzyna Perlak on photograph series Bounty Bars & Oreo Cookies. Her writing practice finds its home on Feminist Shakedown.

Seke Chimutengwende works in dance as a performer, choreographer and teacher. As a performer he has worked with dance theatre companies such as DV8 Physical Theatre, Lost Dog and Fabulous Beast and in works by Trisha Brown and Tino Sehgal as well as with numerous independent choreographers.  For his own company Seke Chimutengwende & Friends he has choreographed four works including The Time Travel Piece for The Place Prize 2012 and King Arthur, which premiered at The Yard Theatre in London, 2015. Seke is currently researching a new group piece Mass, Material and Disturbance. Seke also performs duet improvisations with Kate Hilder as well as ensemble improvisation with Neat Timothy.

Seke and Alexandrina are currently working on a duet, Black Holes – an Afrofuturist history of the Universe, which will premiere in Spring 2018. Unfunky UFO: 2100AD is the follow up to Unfunky UFO which Seke and Alexandrina led as part of DIY13 and took place at the National Theatre Studio in London in 2016.

About DIY Progression

DIY is LADA’s long-running programme of professional development opportunities run by artists, for artists. DIY Progression is a new initiative to allow artists to develop the work undertaken on their DIYs. This could involve the creation of new performance works, ongoing collaborative research with other artists, or something else entirely. Recipients of the first DIY Progression awards are Curious and Seke Chimutengwende & Alexandrina Hemsley. DIY Progression is supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Other projects in DIY Progression – Unfunky UFO: 2100AD (Seke Chimutengwende & Alexandrina Hemsley)

A retreat for artists of colour to explore how their work journeys in dialogue with futurity

Banner image credit:

image: courtesy of the artists


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