Professional development

A reading list by Amal Khalaf

An invi­ta­tion to dis­cov­er lines of enquiry into how we relate, and new frame­works for car­ing action at the inter­sec­tion of art and social justice.

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May 2023

What are the ways that collective imagining can create alternative spaces for contesting power; advocating for new forms of relation and also making space for grief? As a practitioner using creative methodologies in collaborative projects, how do you ground your practice in supporting collective desire?

It is a challenge to include the arts and pedagogical practices meaningfully in organising and community, especially in times of increased crisis and struggle. This work navigates spaces that are emotional, social, and political: how can we speak, write, and think of care? Of justice? Of collective work?

To navigate this complex field, many practitioners draw on knowledge, ethics, and approaches developed in other disciplines. Artists, social workers, nurses, therapists, doctors, educators, and activists often learn from one another’s work.

There are many things to say about doing the work of social change in the arts, and this selection of texts from different voices offers reflections and perspectives that contextualise the thinking behind the approach I take as a curator of collaborative, social justice focused projects that centre embodiment and care. This reading/listening list invites you to discover new lines of enquiry into how we relate to one another, and new frameworks for caring action at the intersection of art and social justice.


Lorde, Audre. ‘Echoes’. The marvelous arithmetics of distance : poems 1987-1992. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 1993.

Long Soldier, Layli. Whereas. Minneapolis: Grey Wolf Press, 2017.

Ó Tuama, Pádraig. ‘[the] north[ern] [of] Ireland.’ Sorry for your Troubles. Norfolk: Canterbury Press, 2013.


Lorde, Audre. Your Silence Will Not Protect You. London: Silver Press, 2017.

Bernard, Jay. The Red and Yellow Nothing. Ink Sweat & Tears Press, 2016.

Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non Actors. London: Routledge, 2021.

Boyce, Sonia. Like Love. Berlin: The Green Box, 2010.

brown, adrienne maree. Emergent Strategies: Shaping Change, Shaping Worlds. Chico: AK Press, 2017.

brown, adrienne maree. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. Chico: AK Press, 2019.

Brown Givens, Sonja M. Underserved Women of Color, Voice, and Resistance: Claiming a Seat at the Table. Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017.

Bunting, Madeleine. Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care. London: Granta Books, 2020.

The Care Collective. The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence. London: Verso Books, 2020.

Cherry, Lisa. Conversations that Make a Difference for Children and Young People: Relationship-Focused Practice from the Frontline. London: Routledge, 2021.

Dixon Ejeris and Leah Piepzna Lakshmi-Samarasinha. Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories From the Transformative Justice Movement. Chico: AK Press, 2020.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Classics, 2017.

Fyson, Anthony and Colin Ward. Streetwork: The Exploding School. London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.

Harraway, Donna. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Experimental Futures). Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Hooks, Bell. Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. London: Routledge, 2013.

Jamison, Leslie. The Empathy Exams: Essays. Minneapolis: Grey Wolf Press, 2014.

Johnson, Rae. Embodied Social Justice. London: Routledge, 2017.

Kapil, Bhanu. Ban en Banlieue. New York: Nightboat Books, 2015.

Kaur, Jasleen. Be Like Teflon. Glasgow and London: Glasgow Women’s Library and Dent-De-Leone, 2019.

Levins Morales, Aurora, Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals. Durham: Duke University Press, 2019.

Meenadchi. Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication. Los Angeles: Co—Conspirator Press, 2018.

Oliveros, Pauline. Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice. Bloomington: IUniverse, 2005.

Olufemi, Lola. Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power. London: Pluto Press, 2020.

Piepzna Lakshmi-Samarasinha, Leah. Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018.

Pilgrim, Rory. The Open Sky. London: Flat Time House, 2016.

Rinpoche, Sogyal. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. London: Rider, 1992.

Roisin, Fariha. Who is Wellness For?. New York: Harper Wave, 2022.

Ultra-Red. Ultra-Red: Nine workbooks 2010-2014. Berlin: Koenig, 2014.

Vallee, Mickey. Sounding Bodies Sounding Worlds: An Exploration of Embodiments in Sound. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Van Der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. London: Penguin Books, 2015.

Projects, Workbooks, Podcasts

The Charles Parker Archive: 'A Future For Ordinary Folk'
The Charles Parker Archive is a nationally significant resource for the study of the social, cultural, and political history of Britain in the second half of the 20th Century. The archive contains rare and significant material about the experiences of Black, Asian, Irish, Chinese, and Jewish communities, and of travellers. It is a rich resource for the study of folk music, pop music, drama, vernacular speech and the oral tradition, and of the Folk Revival of the 1950s onwards; with reel-to-reel tapes, working papers, and personal papers created by Charles Parker during his career as a BBC producer, lecturer, musician, actor, writer, and activist. It includes the Radio Ballads,

ACT ESOL: Language Resistance Theatre

Serpentine Podcast: On Practice, hosted by Amal Khalaf and Alex Thorp

Amal Khalaf is a curator and artist, and currently Director of Programmes at Cubitt and Civic Curator at the Serpentine Galleries. Here and in other contexts she has developed residencies, exhibitions and collaborative research projects at the intersection of art and social justice, recently launching Support Structures for Support Structures, a fellowship and grant programme for artists working in the field of community practice and spatial politics. With an interest in radical pedagogy, collectivity and community practice, she has been part of developing a migrant justice programme through Implicated Theatre (2011-2019) using Theatre of the Oppressed methodologies to create interventions, curricula and performances with ESOL teachers, hotel workers, domestic workers and migrant justice organisers. She is a founding member of artist collective GCC and is also a trustee for film cooperative not/nowhere- London, Art Night-UK and Mophradat-Athens. Recent projects include Radio Ballads (2019-22), an exhibition and research project in London and Sensing the Planet (2021) a gathering of musicians, artists and climate activists in Dartington, Devon. In 2019 she curated Bahrain’s pavilion for Venice, in 2018 she co-curated an international arts and social justice conference called Rights to the City in London and in 2016 she co-directed the 10th edition of the Global Art Forum, Art Dubai.

This resource is part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA), a three year programme that includes professional development, commissioning, and support and resources. Find out more here

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