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Jennifer Farmer & Zoë Palmer

The Dream(ing) Field Lab

Crucible, carnival, sanctuary, imaginarium. The dream(ing) field lab weaves together acts of rest, ritual, care, creation and celebration offering a space for women and femmes of the African diaspora to re-vision their relationship with land in the context of climate breakdown.

Women and femmes of African heritage, those who culturally and historically have been held, regarded and marginalised for their intuitive knowledge, have always self-authorised our relationship with the earth, we hold visions for our lives that need time and space to grow. Acts of resting and radical collective-care are intimately bound up with how we relate to our communities and our planet in the grip of a climate crisis.

Combining work with native plants, intersectional storytelling, theatricality and ancestral wisdom, the dream(ing) field lab will design and produce a field kit that supports self-reliance and well-being in the face of climate breakdown. We take a somatic approach to cultivating joy, incorporating movement and breathwork which honour the role our bodies have to play in our liberation. We nourish our bodies in order to dream our visions for the earth from a deeply-grounded place.

The series of online workshops will focus on cultivating a safe, sensory and experiential meeting place that supports rest, collective-care and joy for women and femmes of African heritage. We will gather in June for a 3 day retreat which participants will take an active role in co-creating. Drawing inspiration from the radical Black imagination and afro-futurist movements, participants will also be invited to explore what they would like to gift others from their communities in the form of a tangible field kit, be it recipes, affirmations, directives, or wellness strategies.

During our final gathering, at the end of July, we will share our co-created work.

the dream(ing) field lab is a Common Ground commission for Season for Change.

About the artists

Zoë Palmer is a writer, maker and human ecologist and was research assistant for Alastair McIntosh’s book Hell & High Water: Climate change, Hope and the Human Condition (Berlinn, 2008) having completed her MSc Human Ecology thesis on Climate Change Narratives. In 2008 she founded The Golden Company – an award-winning social enterprise that addressed structural inequalities around access to nature for POC. Zoë was shortlisted for the Observer Ethical Award and awarded RSA fellowship. As a writer/director her award-winning immersive theatre productions have toured internationally with Hjertelyd (Den Jyske Opera) currently scheduled for performance in Iceland (2020) and Camille’s Rainbow (Carnegie Hall, Minnesota Opera) the US (2021). She’s visiting professor of writing at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

An African-American resident in the UK since 1998, Jennifer Farmer is a participatory theatre-maker and facilitator who collaborates extensively with marginalised communities such as young people at risk of social exclusion (Belgrade Theatre), womxn in prison (Clean Break), refugees (Theatre Royal Stratford East), OAPs (London Bubble) and users of the mental healthcare system (V&A Museum). Jennifer’s current projects include a new play supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which explores the impact medical racism has on Black women’s experience of childbirth, as well as a new opera experimenting with grime and drill to to examine what it is to be a young person in today’s Britain, with the continued growth of neo-fascism, racism and xenophobia. As a Central School of Speech and Drama Associate Lecturer, Jennifer teaches on the ethics of working with vulnerable communities, centring under-represented narratives, and the dangers of art-washing and white saviourism.

In 2018 Jennifer and Zoë won an International Opera Awards Foundation bursary for their work supporting BAME opera creators, and were semi-finalists in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s global commissioning competition for Between Constellations.

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