Lola Olufemi is a black feminist writer and CREAM/Stuart Hall Foundation researcher who works and organises in London. Her work focuses on the uses of the feminist imagination and its relationship to cultural production, political demands and futurity. She is interested in the possibilities of the “anti-map” and manipulating temporal regime in order to critique linear progress narratives. Alongside writing, she facilitates reading groups, workshops and occasionally curates.
In her roster of work is Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power (2020), Experiments in Imagining Otherwise, forthcoming from Hajar Press in 2021, A FLY Girl’s Guide to University: Being a Woman of Colour at Cambridge and Other Institutions of Power and Elitism (Verve Poetry Press, 2019) and Feminism Interrupted (Pluto Press, 2020). She is also a member of ‘bare minimum’, an interdisciplinary anti-work arts collective. Her latest short story, “Red” was shortlisted for the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing prize.
For Archipelagos in Reverse Research Network public programme, she will examine the uses of the imagination in the cultural production of Black and Asian revolutionary movements, art collectives and feminist/anti-racist organising formations in the UK. It is concerned with the affective registers that imagining conjures, specifically its documentation in ‘activist’ formations and the imagination as a site that has enabled individuals and collectives to resist the foreclosure of possibility forced upon them by the world’s governing structures. It posits that the imagination is a teleological pool that political organisers harness and that it shapes the context and deployment of political demands. Her work attempts to diagnose pessimistic affective responses to structural violence, by examining how and in what manner pessimism is repurposed in cultural production to think about the future. Using an experimental approach, her project will rummage through the archive to pull out snapshots, artefacts and ephemera across time periods that are related to each other in form, content or style to map encounters from the past, present and future using mixed media and other modes of examinations. Her project aims to enable young organisers to draw connections between the imaginative-revolutionary potential of cultural production and material in the archive, anchored by methods of intergenerational conversation.