Artist Talk: Aliyah Hussain and Anna Bunting-Branch

28 April 2020 / 18:30-20:30

For Castlefield Gallery Associates members only

For our April session, continuing our 2020 theme of Worldbuilding, Aliyah Hussan and Anna Bunting-Branch will join us to talk about their collaborative project Potential Wor(l)ds, part of our current exhibition Soft Bodies, which unfortunately due to Covid-19 we haven’t been able to open to the public; however we will be making the exhibition available online very soon. Potential Wor(l)ds draws on their shared interests in feminist science fiction, embodied processes of making, and different ways of worldbuilding. Inspired by the feminist constructed language Láadan, the project explores the possibility of moving from traditional ways of communicating (including speaking or writing in a dominant language like English) towards more experimental, collaborative modes of expression.

The project has developed over the course of two residences, first at Bergen Kunsthall in August 2018 and then at Lighthouse Brighton in April 2019, as part of Who’s Doing the Washing Up? – a series of live commissions exploring feminist organisational practices and modes of communication.  In Bergen Hussain and Bunting-Branch started with an experimental public workshop, followed by a series of informal follow-up sessions. During this residency they spent time working with the textual, visual and sonic materials produced by the participants to create the online dictionary.  In Brighton they were invited to shape workshops around more focussed questions concerning space, identity and power that reflected ongoing discussions within Lighthouse ahead of a period of re-development.

Hussain and Bunting-Branch think of this online dictionary as both an archive of the project and an active working document.  Over the years, the lexicon of this collective language has expanded to include ‘potential words’ from both Bergen and Brighton, as well as subsequent workshops held at The Studio School in Liverpool (2019) and Sonic Acts Academy in Amsterdam (2020). The dictionary remains open to submissions from other Potential Wor(l)ds workshops that may be hosted in the future.

We are also offering crit sessions for members of Castlefield Gallery Associates on the afternoon of Tuesday 28th April with Aliyah and Anna. Sessions can be with either Aliyah or Anna, or with both artists and another Associate for a wider conversation about themes and ideas that cross over between practices.

Aliyah Hussain’s practice approaches themes found within feminist science fiction literature, in particular the possibilities of co-sharing space in domestic or social settings. She works with abstract forms and uses these to construct narratives in order to explore different modes of communication and miscommunication. With a background in performance and an interest in process and material, her work moves across sound, ceramic sculpture, drawing and collage.

Aliyah is based at Islington Mill studios in Salford. She has released three EPs of experimental electronic music -“Native Tongue” on Bloxham Tapes and ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’ and ‘Sultana’s Dream’ on Sacred Tapes. Recent presentations and commissions include Always mysteries of the tongue, HOME, Manchester (2019); you feel me_ and ~ all the feels ~ at FACT, Liverpool (2019); Warm Worlds and Otherwise by Anna Bunting-Branch, QUAD, Derby (2020) and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2018).

Anna Bunting-Branch is an artist and researcher based in London. Recent solo
presentations include Warm Worlds and Otherwise, QUAD, Derby (2020) and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2018) and The Labours of Barren House, Jerwood Space, London (2017).

Other presentations and publications include you feel me_, FACT, Liverpool (2019); Fandom as Methodology, Goldsmiths Press (2019); Waking the Witch: Old Ways, New Rites, UK venues (2018-2019); Landscapes of the Future, Helsinki Contemporary (2018);
POEKHALI!, Bergen Kunsthall (2018); ‘figure, feels, fantom, Art Licks (2018);
Hauntopia/What If?, The Research Pavilion, Venice (2017); I AM SF, CCA Derry~Londonderry (2017); Witchy Methodologies, ICA, London (2017). Anna is currently undertaking a practice-related PhD at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, supported by the AHRC London Arts & Humanities Partnership.

In 2019 Anna was awarded an Arts Council England Project Grant. Moving between different practices – including painting, writing and animation – her work explores science fiction as a methodology to re-vision feminist practice and its histories.

This session is part of our regular Castlefield Gallery Associates programme; for more information, see

Image: Aliyah Hussan and Anna Bunting-Branch