Talks and workshops
Somerset House Studios

Abolition: In Defence of Translation

09 - 30 Sep 2021
In person & Online

A series of presentations, organising workshops, conversations and performances reflecting on the many dimensions of abolition, curated and programmed by Lola Olufemi and Imani Robinson.

Across a weekly programme of in person and online events throughout September, Abolition: In Defence of Translation looks to explore how people might, following the critical texts of prison abolitionist and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, live in “antagonistic contradiction” to spaces and practices of incarceration.  

The series aims to utilise radical imagining as a tool to help inform this antagonism whilst grappling with abolition as an urgent materialist demand; creating a space to reflect and to leave attendees with practical skills that might be used to make critical interventions against carcerality (raids, deportation, prisons) in their own contexts.

Programme notes

Abolition, as theory and practice, is not an exported product from the United States. It is not a static phenomena that emanates outwards from centre to periphery, rather it eschews boundaries and borders in order to enable us to make critical and living-saving interventions everywhere. 

Abolition: In Defence of Translation poses a number of questions: How might we conceive of and enact resistance against landscapes of entrapment birthed by racial capitalism in our everyday lives, no matter who we are and where we are situated? Why is Abolition a recurrent concept and how can we understand it as more than just an exported product? How do we escape the trap of ownership of this concept and practice whilst remaining critical of its unspecific application across the world? What would it mean if we refused to assume that carcerality looks and functions the same in every context? What about the prison in our local area and community, if we focused our attention there – what histories, echoes and repetitive cycles of extraction and exploitation might be revealed? What can the local tell us about the global?