Lessons for Liberation – writing workshop with Alexis Pauline Gumbs

  • Dartington Hall
  • October 29
  • 10:00 - 12:00
  • 20
Event Website

Join us for a reflective writing intensive with queer black troublemaker, Alexis Pauline Gumbs.

Participants will experience a set of writing activities based on Alexis’s research into the survival techniques of underwater mammals, documented in her recent book, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals.

Undrowned is a book-length meditation for the entire human species, based on the subversive and transformative lessons of marine mammals. Pauline Gumbs has spent hundreds of hours watching our aquatic cousins. She has found them to be queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions humans have imposed on the ocean. Employing a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility, naturalist observation, and Black feminist insights, she translates their submerged wisdom to reveal what they might teach us.

In this workshop Alexis leads reflective writing activities inspired by the sections of the book which are divided into eighty short meditations, each grouped into “movements” with names like “Listen,” “Breath,” “Stay Black,” and “Go Deep.” The meditations explore themes that range from the ways that echolocation might inform our understandings of visionary action to the similar ways that humans and marine mammals do—or might—adapt within our increasingly dire circumstances.

Gumbs’ narrative moves seamlessly between dolphins born in captivity and Black political prisoners giving birth behind bars, between the migratory patterns of dolphins and the Atlantic slave trade. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their accountability to their communities and the planet and their own emotional depth.

This event is part of Black Atlantic, a new decolonial cultural project at the intersections of race, art, ecology and climate justice. Alexis can also be seen at Sensing the Planet, a unique gathering of leading decolonial thinkers, artists and activists that will launch the project on 29-31 October.