Assembly: Planetary Perspectives

As part of Test Sites: Assembly, join us for a one-day gathering at the University of Westminster. Together with artists, scientists and thinkers interested in re-imagining social, artistic and scientific research as a bottom-up community-led approach, particularly in relation to planetary health, we will explore the complex, interdependent relationship between the health of the planet and the politics of human health.

Drawing on examples from different parts of the world, the day aims to propose tactical actions towards asserting, enabling and promoting translocal commoning practices and methods of collective inquiry. Participants include Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez (curator), Shela Sheikh (lecturer and researcher), Luigi Coppola (artist), Darshana Chauhan (urban designer), Tom Wakeford (public science researcher), Sylvia Nagl (complexity scientist), Paloma Polo (artist), Neal White (artist), Ruth Levene (artist), and Nabil Ahmed (artist), chaired by Nicola Triscott (Arts Catalyst/University of Westminster) and Anna Santomauro (Arts Catalyst).
Tickets are £5, booking essential.
Assembly: Planetary Perspectives is organised by Arts Catalyst in partnership with CREAM, University of Westminster. It is part of Arts Catalyst's Test Sites: Assembly, an 8-week co-inquiry and exhibition asking how we can respond collectively to social and environmental challenges.
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez
Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez is an art critic and independent curator based in Paris, France. Among the projects and exhibitions she curated are Show Me Your Archive and I Will Tell You Who is in Power at Kiosk (2017, with Wim Waelput, Ghent), Let’s Talk about the Weather at the Sursock Museum (2016, with Nora Razian and Ashkan Sepahvand, Beirut), Resilience. Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia (2013, Ljubljana), transmediale.08 at HKW (2008, Berlin). She was co-director of Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (2010–12) and co-founder of the network Cluster. She is chief editor of L’Internationale Online, and was chief editor of the Manifesta Journal (2012–14).
Shela Sheikh
Shela Sheikh teaches in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths (University of London), where she convenes the MA Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy and the PhD Cultural Studies. She lectures and publishes internationally. She is currently working on a multi-platform research project around colonialism, botany and the politics of planting. As part of this, she is co-editing, with Ros Gray, a special issue of Third Text entitled “The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions” (Spring 2018); with Matthew Fuller, an edited collection entitled Cultivation: Vegetal Lives, Global Systems and the Politics of Planting; and, with Uriel Orlow, an anthology entitled Theatrum Botanicum (Sternberg Press, 2018). She is co-chair (with Wood Roberdeau) of the Goldsmiths Critical Ecologies research stream. 
Luigi Coppola
Luigi Coppola is an artist who works in performance, video, and public art. He researches participatory practices and politically-motivated actions, starting by analysing specific social, political, and cultural contexts, as in Parco Comune dei Frutti Minori (2014‒ongoing), Castiglione d’Otranto. Coppola has developed projects, performances, and exhibitions in international contexts, including: Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, 2017; Teatro Continuo, Milan, 2016; Parckdesign, Brussels, 2016; Athens Biennale, Athens, 2015; Teatro Valle Occupato, Rome, 2013; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, 2012; Steirischer Herbst, Graz, 2012; and Democracy Biennale, Turin, 2009. Coppola lives and works in Brussels and Lecce.
Darshana Chauhan
Darshana Chauhan is a qualified architect and urban designer with a specialisation in spatial data analytics. She is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster and was the founder of the Westminster International Design Competition. Darshana has over 10 years of experience in designing of cities, systems, processes, and more recently digital products, that create better citizen-centric places. She has worked with local and central governments, private sector and academia in the UK, India, Bhutan and Nigeria. She enjoys working with communities and has been instrumental in designing and delivering processes to scale-up participatory planning to multiple cities, using technology as an enabling tool. She continues to engage with students in the UK and South Asia through teaching and running international design competitions.
Tom Wakeford 
Dr Tom Wakeford is Lead Practitioner at the Centre’s People’s Knowledge and Transdisciplinary Working Group, which represents the Centre on the international AR+ initiative. He combines knowledge of the biosciences with 20 years’ practice and analysis of participatory and inclusive approaches to action research. He has led, evaluated or been a research collaborator in numerous participatory action research processes within three broad themes: food justice, health, climate change and sustainability; democratisation of new technologies, including genetic modification, nanotechnology and synthetic biology; diversities of knowledge, particularly expertise gained through experience and inclusivity in relation to ethno-cultural diversity, indigenous peoples, gender, age, disabled people and sexuality.
Sylvia Nagl 
Sylvia is a transdisciplinary complexity scientist who works on the interdependence of human and natural systems. She is interested in how the dynamic interactions of people with each other, with wider social, economic, political, and technological systems – and with ecological and earth systems – form ever more complex networks of relationships. Sylvia is currently working with communities facing water crisis. These collaborative projects use digital media for witnessing, reporting and documenting lives in a rapidly changing world by those most affected. She has also been involved in diverse collaborations with artists and architects, and has advised the United Nations (UNITAR-UNOSAT) on community-based disaster reporting using digital media to map environmental destruction and support relief efforts in an acute crisis.
Paloma Polo
Paloma Polo is an independent researcher and visual artist based in Amsterdam and Luxembourg. Her artistic practice explores subjugated knowledges that can inform the history of  knowledge production and the construction of humanely progressive political discourse. She is a member of the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS). Between 2007- 2009 Polo attended De Ateliers art residency program (Amsterdam) and in 2010 Gasworks residency program (London). Polo was invited as a visiting research fellow in 2013 at the Center for International Studies, University of the Philippines-Diliman. Her later research explorations were hosted by Les Laboratoires D’Aubervilliers research and creation institution (Paris).
Neal White
Neal White is an artist whose work critically explores art in relation to new ideas, forms and technologies. His current work explores situated practices and knowledge - drawing together environmental and ecological matters of concern with marine biologists, ecologists, coders, architects and volunteers in Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island, Dorset for Arts Catalyst's Test Sites programme. Neal is a Professor at University of Westminster, where he also directs the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), a UK leader in research in art, design and media.
Ruth Levene 
Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire working in video, performance, events, digital drawings, walks, installations and participatory work. Curious and concerned by the complex systems we live by, she is currently exploring water systems, farming and market driven developments of the countryside. As part of Arts Catalyst's ongoing Test Sites programme, her installation Working Waters is on view now at Arts Catalyst's Centre in King's Cross. 
Nabil Ahmed 
Nabil Ahmed is an artist and researcher working on environmental violence and forensic architecture. His writings have appeared in academic journals, magazines, and various art, science and architecture publications such as Third Text, Scientific Reports, Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, and South Magazine - Documenta 14. He has been part of the Anthropocene Project at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin and the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennial. He is co-founder of Call and Response, a sound art organization in London. He holds a PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture. He lives and works in London.
Supported by Wellcome Trust, University of Westminster, and Arts Council England.
Image: Design by An Endless Supply