Artist in residence
Announcing the critical thinkers commissioned by Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage to create Texts of Repair

Announcing the critical thinkers commissioned by Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage to create Texts of Repair

By the Loss and Damage Collaboration
15 / 03 / 2024
The three commissioned critical thinkers, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Dr. Farhana Sultana and T. J. Demos, who will develop Texts of Repair for ‍Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage. Image credit: ‍Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage,

Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage, part of the Loss and Damage Collaboration's Art and Culture program,  is pleased to announce that they have commissioned three critical thinkers from the arts and humanities to develop Texts of Repair exploring different perspectives, aesthetic explorations, knowledges and lived experiences of the climate crisis in relation to Loss and Damage. The commissioned critical thinkers are: Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Dr. Farhana Sultana and T. J. Demos. 

The commissioned Texts of Repair are intended to provide conceptual frameworks and critical links between the Loss and Damage discourse and themes already being widely explored within the arts and humanities in response to the combined climate, human rights, and environmental crisis, and the drive towards decolonization.

With the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and the operationalisation of the Fund at COP 28 in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, the work of integrating knowledge and perspectives of artistic practitioners representing affected communities into conversations and negotiations on Loss and Damage has never been more urgently needed.

Find the full bios of each critical thinker and a summary of their proposed Texts of Repair below

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice. Her poetic work in response to the needs of her cherished communities has held space for multitudes in mourning and movement. Alexis is the author of Survival Is a Promise : The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2024)  Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals (AK Press, 2020), Dub: Finding Ceremony (Duke University Press, 2020), M Archive: After the End of the World (Duke University Press, 2018), and Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity (Duke University Press, 2016). Alexis is also the co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (PM Press, 2016). Unlike most academic texts, Alexis’s work has inspired artists across form to create dance works, installation work, paintings, processionals, divination practices, operas, quilts and more. 

Text of Repair : Guided by the last works of the poet and environmentalist Audre Lorde, Alexis will create a written ceremony that meets us at the shoreline of loss, the swell of grief, the multi-life form convergence of disaster, with questions, offerings and provocations that support us in finding a collective way forward in the details of our survival. The provisional title for the text is Generating Survival: A Ceremony for Transforming Loss. 

(Image credit: Sufia Ikbal-Doucet)

Farhana Sultana

Dr. Farhana Sultana is an interdisciplinary scholar, speaker, and author who is broadly interested in nature-society relationships, political ecology, climate justice, water governance, critical development studies, transnational feminist scholarship, human rights and citizenship, and decolonizing global systems. She is a Professor of Geography and the Environment at Syracuse University (US), where she is also Research Director for Environmental Collaboration and Conflicts in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at Independent University, Bangladesh. Recent publications include “Decolonizing Climate Coloniality" Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, (Haymarket Books, 2023), The Unbearable Heaviness of Climate Coloniality and Resplendent care-full climate revolutions (Political Geography, Volume 99, November 2022), and Water Politics: Governance, Justice, and the Right to Water. (Routledge, 2020).

Text of Repair : Working to document what loss and damage is happening and how it impacts communities in the global South through the lens of climate coloniality, Farhana will explore the loss and damage stories that are being told by impacted communities, and how these are interpreted and translated beyond these communities.  She will also draw attention to the care, repair and mutuality work that exists within and beyond impacted communities to highlight the unequal burdens of climate change.

Image credit: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

T.J. Demos

T. J. Demos is an award-winning writer on contemporary art, global politics, and ecology. He is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and Founder and Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. He writes widely on the intersection of contemporary art, global politics, and ecology, and his essays have appeared in magazines, journals, and catalogues worldwide. His published work centres broadly on the conjunction of art and politics, examining the ability of artistic practice to invent innovative and experimental strategies that challenge dominant social, political, and economic conventions. Recent publications include the books Beyond the World’s End: Ecologies of Catastrophe, Just Futures, and Arts of Living at the Crossing (Duke University Press, 2020), Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (Sternberg Press, 2017), Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press, 2016) and the essay Climate Control: From Emergency to Emergence (eflux, 2019).

Text of Repair : T.J. plans to bring a critical analysis to loss and damage discourse by focusing on the aesthetics and politics of experimental artistic practices that connect harm and reparation to care and transformation, extending the horizon of flourishing ecological futurity beyond green capitalist solutionism.

Image credit: Center for Creative Ecologies

 Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage is an online artistic research residency, a series of public events, and a set of commissioned texts, aimed at facilitating a transdisciplinary exchange around the issue of loss and damage caused by the climate crisis. By building connections across different knowledge-making practices, Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage sets out to create a symbiotic network of trans-local collaborators, recognising that climate research, activism, and advocacy, is an entangled and inter-relational practice involving many actors.

The Ways of Repair : Loss and Damage program is supported by the Open Society Foundations and is a part of the Loss and Damage Collaboration’s Art and Culture program. 

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