Report from the New York Launch of The Funambulist Magazine 5: Design & Racism


Yesterday evening, we formally launched the fifth issue of The Funambulist Magazine (May-June 2016): Design & Racism in Brooklyn, NY. After a presentation of the magazine itself (that I conveniently forgot to record), contributor Alicia Olushola Ajayi presented her work featured in the student section of the issue, followed by three successive interventions by Minh-Ha T. Pham, Hadeel Khalil Assali, and Christina Heatherton about their respective interpretation of the relationship between design (in a broad understanding of the term) and structural racism. If you could not be with us last night, you can listen to each of these fantastic presentation through the recording below. I would like to warmly thank my four wonderful guests, as well as the numerous friendly members of the audience, among whom were present three contributors to the first issue of The Funambulist Magazine: Sadia Shirazi, Nora Akawi, and Javier Arbona.

01. Alicia Olushola Ajayi / The Freedom Villages of Brooklyn, IL

Alicia Olushola Ajayi’s  work engages political, economic, and social contexts and the nuances that correlate between the built environment, historical narratives and present day social issues. Alicia graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual masters in architecture and social work. Alicia is currently an Associate Designer at MASS Design Group in Boston.

02. Minh-Ha T. Pham / The Invisible Racist Design of Fashion Copyrights

Minh-Ha T. Pham is Assistant Professor in the Graduate Media Studies Program at the Pratt Institute. She is a contributor to the third issue of The Funambulist Magazine (Clothing Politics), co-editor (along with Mimi Thi Nguyen) of Threadbared, and author of the book Asian Wear Clothes on the Internet (Duke University Press, 2015).

03. Hadeel Khalil Assali / Between Predatory Banks and Oil Companies: The Colonias of South Texas

Hadeel Assali is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Columbia University, and she completed an MA in anthropology at The New School in New York City. She is also a fellow at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia. Her research interests include the transfer of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Paraguay in the late 1960s and early 1970, and the world they found themselves in, where Arabs of mostly Syrian and Lebanese descent were (and still are) deeply integrated into the socio-economic and political worlds of Paraguay.

04. Christina Heatherton / Policing as Urban Planning: From Broken Windows to Counter-Insurrection 

Christina Heatherton is an Associate Professor at Trinity College. She is the co-editor (along with Jordan T. Camp) of  Policing the Planet (Verso, 2016) and Freedom Now! Struggles for the Human Right to Housing in LA and Beyond (Freedom Now Books, 2012), the editor of Downtown Blues: A Skid Row Reader (Freedom Now Books, 2011), and the author of The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century (University of California Press, forthcoming).

05. Questions and Rountable with Alicia Olushola Ajayi, Minh-Ha T. Pham, Hadeel Khalil Assali, and Christina Heatherton

Additional Photographs

All photographs by Martin Byrne (thank you!):