illustration of a space alien

Visionary Fictions

Summer 2018

Supported by a project grant from the Arts Council, and as part of the national Season for Change, in summer and autumn 2018 ONCA will be hosting a series of sci fi inspired workshops, talks and installations.

Visionary Fictions is a term coined by American writer Walidah Imarisha to describe speculative fictions that envision and fight for social justice. It’s consistent with multi-species theorist Donna Haraway’s notion of ‘staying with the trouble’: inspired by these two approaches, ONCA’s programme will challenge mainstream climate change narratives, generate empowering visions of the future, and support audiences and participants to differently imagine futures and create visions for just and habitable worlds. Artist-led events on the positive power of science fiction with  Jacob Joyce, Walidah Imarisha, Karla Sweet, Beverly Naidus, Irene Fubara-Manuel and others will offer alternatives to dystopia, and celebrate new creative approaches to addressing difficult issues. 

Exploratory collaborative writing workshops co-hosted by University of Brighton researchers have been formative in the creation of the programme and will culminate in a Collaborative Fictions symposium in July.


11 June, 6-9pm: Jacob V Joyce: Collaborative sci fi workshop

illustration by Jacob V Joyce

3-15 July, HOAX: stuck

Theatre company HOAX take over ONCA for an immersive installation and residency packed with workshops and performances aiming to help audiences and participants get un-stuck in the context of climate change. Part art installation, part absurdist theatre, ‘stuck’ uses clowning, rhetoric and a soft sculpture landscape to examine cultural entrenchment around climate change.

 HOAX will be facilitating a series of ‘Prontos’ – pieces of theatre, immersive live-art performance or public intervention created and performed quickly in response to a place, situation or idea. These Pronto workshops are designed for artists and people who want to make great art quickly. 

two performers onstage inside sleeping bags

5 July: Collaborative Future Fictions symposium & Scratch Night co-curated by ONCA, Elona Hoover & Kate Monson. Featuring Walidah Imarisha, Jacob V Joyce, Karla Sweet, Clare Whistler, Kay Syrad & others

16-19 July, Through the Bush Backwards

This graphic novel-inspired project journeys through time to explore how Britain’s nature has changed and how it could be restored. Visit the Last Interglacial (125,000 years ago) when elephants and hippos were living in Southern England, and stop off in the Last Glacial (40,000 years ago) when humans were just arriving in Britain encountering woolly mammoth and rhino, before travelling on to meet hunter gatherers and then farmers. Through games and conversations, meet Britain’s past, present, and (maybe) future big mammals, and create visions of Britain’s future by exploring how nature would change if different species were reintroduced.

illustration by Daniel Locke

1 August, 6pm: Beyond Ableism – panel discussion hosted by Naomi McAdam (co-organiser, Disability Pride)

29 August – 9 September, Beverly Naidus: We Almost Didn’t Make It

This interactive installation, made with support from the Seattle-based ARTifACTs collective, addresses the uncertainties faced by humanity as climate change and ongoing ecocide and environmental injustice affect many populations around the world.  It explores ways to negotiate the barrage of daily assaults on our psyches by imagining the lives of our descendants and what we might do to improve their lives. Visitors are offered an opportunity to transform painful emotions into fuel for creative activism. They are invited to imagine themselves as ancestors as they walk through a series of curtains to a ‘portal of possibilities’, and to create an ‘artifact’ containing a commitment to an action that might help our descendants or future generations not only exist, but thrive. 


30 August, 6.30pm: What makes a socially engaged art practice resilient in this time? Launch event and artist talk with Beverly Naidus

Beverly Naidus installation

17-23 September, Irene Fubara-Manuel: Dreams of Disguise

Irene’s installation ‘Dreams of Disguise’ is a traversal of the virtual border and the racialized biometric technologies in which this space exists. It blurs documentary truth and science fiction, to reveal the ubiquitous surveillance of migrants, the violence inherent in this practice and the desire for opacity.

Dreams of Disguise


19 September, 6-8pm: ‘Melanin So High..Opacity’: On Blackness, Surveillance and Resistance – exhibition launch event including artist talk with Sorry You Feel Uncomfortable (Imani Robinson), and poetry performance by Akila Richards.

22 September, 1-4pm: Dreams of Disguise Critical Play 3D workshop. Engaging with user-friendly 3D softwares, the aim of this free workshop is a radical imagination of virtual spaces that symbolise the participant’s dreams and memories of disguise. Following the theme of the exhibition, people of colour, QTIPOC and migrant participants are invited for this playful workshop. Ten spaces only.