Lola Olufemi is a black feminist writer, organiser and researcher from London. She holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London. Her work focuses on the uses of the feminist imagination and its relationship with futurity. She is co-author of A FLY Girl’s Guide to University (2019), author of Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power (2020), a member of ‘bare minimum’, an interdisciplinary anti-work arts collective and the recipient of the techne AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership between The Stuart Hall Foundation, CREAM and Westminster School of Arts.
Using the speculative mode, her project will examine the uses of the imagination in the cultural production of Black and Asian revolutionary movements, art collectives and feminist/anti-racist organising formations in the UK. It is concerned with the affective registers that imagining conjures, specifically its documentation in ‘activist’ formations and the imagination as a site that has enabled individuals and collectives to resist the foreclosure of possibility forced upon them by the world’s governing structures. It posits that the imagination is a teleological pool that political organisers harness and that it shapes the context and deployment of political demands. Her work attempts to diagnose pessimistic affective responses to structural violence, not by positing optimism, but by examining how and in what manner pessimism is repurposed in cultural production to think about the future.
Using an experimental approach, her project will rummage through the archive to pull out snapshots, temporal moments, artefacts and ephemera from across time periods that are related to one another in form, content or style in order to map encounters from the past, present and future using mixed media and other interdisciplinary modes of examinations. Her project aims to enable young organisers, thinkers and artists to draw connections between the imaginative-revolutionary potential of their cultural production and material contained in the archive, using a range of methods anchored by intergenerational conversation.