Coffee Morning: Future/Dreamz/Fantasy

Hosted by Jamila Johnson-Small

Tuesday 2 May 
11am – 2pm-ish
Education Room, Ground floor, Chisenhale Studios
Wheelchair accessible
Always free


Sometimes, I forget to dream, squashed by the endless bureaucracy of being a not-rich-at-all freelance artist in London – what does dreaming look like?
What can rolling with a fantasy reveal or release about/in the present?
What is the relationship between dreaming and permission and how can we give ourselves greater permission?
What is the relationship between dreams and shame? When is this systemic? When is this about anticipation of conflict?
When is dreaming dangerous? When does art disrupt preconceptions about the future?
What kinds of futures does your work propose?
How does this affect the aesthetics of your art-making?
What are the politics of your aesthetics?
How do we make space to dream when our art-making involves making our bodies public, surfaces on which to project and enact systemic prejudices, violences and privileges? What are your strategies for projecting your body into the future on your own terms?
Is there a space for imagining a different kind of politic in the gap between our fantasies for the future and our situations in the present?
Can we dream up an alternative? (please)

Bring your strategies, manifestos, practices, inspirational stuff, wildest ideas. Let’s see what we can do to get to any new spaces of thought.

Dream/fantasy-themed/related snacks/aides welcome. (Please no nuts as I have an allergy)

Born and based in London Jamila Johnson-Small spent a few years at dance school, read a couple of books – refused to read a lot more, felt generally alienated, drank vodka, danced in clubs, and held onto a misplaced desire to be in a punk band. She currently makes dances and works to create spaces (on stage, in corners, on screens, in rooms, in bodies) with no single direction and no clear intentions, harbouring no desire to be useful other than to make gestures towards decentralised power and non-hierarchical structures for existing.

Her practice looks to disengage with the ideas of improvement and betterment and progress, with cultural systems of value that direct and inform style and in which she finds no interest or agreement. She is interested in surfaces, structures and the space/tension between things. Looking to reveal and discuss, the politics, perversities and movement of power within and around structures of production and the production of being, the information about histories and environments that bodies carry she sees as content that has the potential for talking about the world and its fuckery, or building temporary ways of being otherwise, whilst dealing in fragmentation, genre-disobedience, hybrid forms and attempts to evade capture. Jamila is one half of duos immigrants and animals and Project O, and works solo as Last Yearz Interesting Negro.

The Coffee Mornings at Chisenhale Dance Space were initiated by Gillie Kleiman, an independent dance artist and proud member of the artistic community around the organisation, as a way in which dance-makers and -doers could talk about the relationships between issues of production, public policy and the politics of the cultural industries and the artwork that they are making and doing. The events are open to all artists and arts practitioners, whether or not they associate themselves with Chisenhale. We sit around the kitchen table and eat and talk. There have always been people there who know each other as well as those who don’t. There is a loosely-held format which includes a writing-up of the facilitators’ thoughts after the meeting Initially Gillie started off each time. Now the Coffee Mornings are led by different dance artists or artists’ groups each time and from 2015 Gille handed over the running to Hamish MacPherson, also a member of Chisenhale Dance Space.

Supported by Chisenhale Dance Space’s Allotment Fund.

Coming Next: 30 May, Do we dance or do we protest, Can we do both? hosted by Chistopher Matthews

Image: Hamish MacPherson based on design by Karen Lambæk