We believe there is a narrative gap around climate-forced displacement. To support deeper storytelling efforts around this unprecedented phenomenon, we are inviting six artists to participate in a series of virtual round-table discussions to help craft this conversation. The initiative draws its inspiration from two sources. First, our research at the Institute which outlines the drivers, impacts and legal pathways for addressing climate forced displacement at a global scale. Second, we are building from a string of historical examples where storytelling has catalyzed social change, including legal change around specific identity classifications and protections. Stay tuned for public presentations by our participating artists and our program report where we share our learnings and reflections.
(she/her) Lizania Cruz is a Dominican participatory artist, designer, and curator interested in how migration affects ways of being & belonging. Through research, oral history, and audience participation, she creates projects that highlight a pluralistic narrative on migration. Cruz has been an artist-in-residence and fellow at the Laundromat Project Create Change (2017-2019), Agora Collective Berlin (2018), Design Trust for Public Space (2018), Recess Session (2019), IdeasCity:New Museum (2019), Stoneleaf Retreat (2019), Robert Blackburn Workshop Studio Immersion Project (SIP) (2019), A.I.R. Gallery (2020-2021), BRIClab: Contemporary Art (2020-2021), Center for Book Arts (2020-2021), and Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, Visual Arts (2021-2022).
Her work has been exhibited at the Arlington Arts Center, BronxArtSpace, Project for Empty Space, ArtCenter South Florida, Jenkins Johnson Project Space, The August Wilson Center, Sharjah’s First Design Biennale, Untitled, Art Miami, among others. Most recently she is part of ESTAMOS BIEN: LA TRIENAL 20/21 at el Museo del Barrio the first national survey of Latinx artists by the institution. Furthermore, her artworks and installations have been featured in Hyperallergic, Fuse News, KQED arts, Dazed Magazine, Garage Magazine and the New York Times.
Jayeesha, pronounced Joyisha- (she/her/ella), who calls Balbancha (aka New Orleans) home - land of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, Atakapa Ishak & Houma. I am chief excellence officer of The Mar Bari, soon-to-be bath/art/tea house, providing space and services for elemental healing and creative expression. I am a co-founding member of Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative and work as a healing justice facilitator with Windcall Institute. I serve on the boards for the Climate Justice Alliance, Alternate ROOTS, South Asian Americans Leading Together & Eyewitness Palestine.
Alia Farid (b.1985) lives and works in Puerto Rico and Kuwait. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from la Escuela de Artes Plásticas (San Juan, Puerto Rico), a Master of Science in Visual Studies from the Visual Arts Program at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Critical Theory from the MACBA Independent Studies Program (Barcelona, Spain). Through a multidisciplinary practice that ranges from writing and drawing to film, sculpture, and installation, her work gives visibility to narratives that are obscured by hegemonic power.
She has had recent solo exhibitions at Portikus, Frankfurt and Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art), Rotterdam. Recent and upcoming group shows include participation in the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, the 12th Gwangju Biennale, Sharjah Biennial 14, the 2nd Lahore Biennale, Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2001 at MoMA PS1, and Yokohama Triennale 2020. She has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAMSTL), St. Louis in 2022 and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in 2023.
(he/him) Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is an internationally recognized and award-winning filmmaker. He is the founder of FistUp.TV, a media platform uplifting and telling stories from communities across the world who refused to be silenced. His work has circulated through National Broadcast: Free Speech TV, Teaching Channel, and PBS. Online he has created content for remezcla, okayafrica, TIDAL, and VIBE. Spike Lee is one of the reasons Eli became a filmmaker, and in 2019, he hired Eli to work on set with him as a photographer for She's Gotta Have It Too. Eli is the co-founder of Defend Puerto Rico, a multimedia project designed to document and celebrate Puerto Rican creativity, resilience, and resistance. He is currently touring the world with his new film Bakosó: Afrobeats of Cuba and curating his 12th Annual Fist Up Film Festival in the Bay Area. His dedication to his craft is deeply connected to his commitment to social justice and the belief in the transformative power of film.
(she/they) Puck Lo makes films and writes about utopian social movements, diaspora and displacement, carceral and liberatory spaces, political memory and embodiment. Puck is a researcher for Community Justice Exchange, a prison-industrial-complex abolitionist group. They live between NYC and Joshua Tree, California.
(he/him) Michael Premo is a journalist and artist whose film, radio, theater, and photo-based work has been exhibited and broadcast in the United States and abroad. In addition to his work with Storyline, he has created original work with numerous companies including Hip-Hop Theater Festival, The Foundry Theater, The Civilians, and the Peabody Award winning StoryCorps. Michael's photography has appeared in publications like The Village Voice, The New York Times, and Het Parool, among others. Recent projects include a new performance commissioned by the Working Theater, with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the multi-platform project 28th Amendment, the participatory documentary Sandy Storyline, award-winning short film and exhibit Water Warriors (POV), and Veterans Coming Home (PBS), a series about the transition from military service to civilian life. He has participated in civic artist residencies with The Laundromat Project and the National Resource Defense Council. He is the recipient of a Creative Capital Award, A Blade of Grass Artist Files Fellowship, and a NYSCA Individual Artist Award. Michael is on the Board of Trustees of A Blade of Grass.
Elsadig Elsheikh (he/him) is the Director of the Global Justice Program at the Othering & Belonging Institute, where he oversees the program’s projects on corporate power, food systems, forced migration, inclusiveness index, Islamophobia, and human rights mechanisms; and manages the Shahidi Project, and the Nile Project. Elsadig's research interests focus on the themes and socio-political dynamics related to state and citizenship; race and corporate power; and measuring social policies of exclusion and inclusion. Elsadig authored and co-authored a number of articles, essays, and reports on corporate power and the food system, Islamophobia, forced migration, inclusiveness index, Trans-Pacific Partnership, UN human rights mechanisms, and Sudanese politics.
(she/her) Yumna Kamel is the Co-founder and Director of Earth Refuge, the first legal think tank dedicated to climate migrants.. She is a Penn LLM Public Interest Fellow and works in human rights in London. Called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2020, she is passionate about and has experience in asylum, immigration, public interest and anti-human trafficking law. Yumna is a qualified mediator, and has a strong interest in empowering those whose rights have been undermined and engaging the help of the wider community by initiating dialogue between the two. Yumna is a devoted yogi, and loves to eat, create and talk about food. If she weren’t pursuing law, she’d be a chef.
(he/him) Hamza Hamouchene is the Program Coordinator - North Africa at the Transnational Institute. He is a London-based Algerian researcher-activist, commentator and a founding member of Algeria Solidarity Campaign (ASC), and Environmental Justice North Africa (EJNA). He previously worked for War on Want, Global Justice Now and Platform London on issues of extractivism, resources, land and food sovereignty as well as climate, environmental, and trade justice. He is the author/editor of two books: “The Struggle for Energy Democracy in the Maghreb” (2017) and "The Coming Revolution to North Africa: The Struggle for Climate Justice" (2015). He also contributed book chapters to “Voices of Liberation: Frantz Fanon” (2014) and “The Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism” (2016). His other writings have appeared in the Guardian, Middle East Eye, Counterpunch, New Internationalist, Jadaliyya, openDemocracy, ROAR magazine, Pambazuka, Nawaat, El Watan and the Huffington Post.
(he/him) Evan Bissell facilitates participatory art and research projects that support equitable systems and liberatory processes. Projects take varied forms: an interactive online history of freedom and confinement in the United States told through 50 miniature paintings with accompanying curriculum (knottedline.com), visual interventions based on community surveys about policing in the Bronx, and collaborative, life-size portrait paintings created with incarcerated fathers and children of incarcerated parents. Evan has exhibited throughout the US and facilitated projects in schools (K-12) and community settings throughout the country. From 2016-2019 he taught a studio art course on social change at UC Berkeley. He is currently the Arts and Culture Strategist at the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley and a cultural strategy advisor at Richmond LAND. He holds a master’s in Public Health and City Planning from UC Berkeley.
(he/him) Mina Girgis is the producer & CEO of the Nile Project, an ethnomusicologist and a serial entrepreneur specialized in building innovative spaces and tools for cross-cultural musical learning. In 2011, he started the Nile Project – an international nonprofit that promotes the sustainability of the Nile River by curating innovative collaborations among musicians, university students, and professionals. In 2009, Mina founded Zambaleta, a community World Music school based in San Francisco, California. Mina has received awards and fellowships from Wired Magazine, National Arts Strategies, Synergos and Seeds of Peace. Mina joins the Othering & Belonging Institute as a senior fellow working towards strengthening and scaling up the collaboration between the Nile Project and the Othering & Belonging Institute. The collaboration aims to set up the foundation for deeper engagement of the Nile Project with UC Berkeley and Bay Area communities, and activate new endeavors in the Nile Basin.