Conversations on Visibility - Gathering

© Sufra NW London Foodbank & Kitchen

Metroland Cultures present a series of monthly facilitated panel conversations on the in/visibility of arts practices rooted in local communities, cultures, and care as part of Making Myself Visible.

The first conversation, on Tuesday 14 September, will focus on the theme of gathering. What does it mean to gather now? How do practices of gathering build connection and solidarity across difference?

Curator, producer and researcher Cecilia Wee will facilitate a conversation with Ismael Dahir, Blueprint member and participant in Seen & Heard, part of the Brent 2020 programme; Nirmean Sawi, Programs and Services Manager at Sufra NW London Foodbank and Kitchen; and Mars Marshall, Director, Allied Media Conference, Detroit, Michigan.

These Brent-based and international artists, arts professionals and community organisers share their experiences of working in the community during a time of rapid change.

Each conversation centres on one of the four Making Myself Visible themes of gathering, moving, speaking and doing. What does it mean to adopt these principles and practices from community work in arts organisations? What do we know and what do we need to learn? Who should be part of the conversation? Who should lead?

Watch the full conversation here:


Cecilia Wee

Dr Cecilia Wee is an independent curator, educator and agitator, addressing equitable infrastructures for art and social action. Her work is concerned with our interconnectedness and relationships within and beyond capitalism, working with practitioners using experimental sound, performance, visual practices. Cecilia has edited books, curated exhibitions, events and led research projects in the UK and Europe. Cecilia is Visiting Tutor in Visual Communication at Royal College of Art and founder of tdwm studio. ceciliawee.com

Ismael Dahir

Ismael Dahir is 21 years old and been part of the Blueprint Collective since June of 2018. Ismael says “The youth between the ages of 16-25 often felt invisible and opportunities from the collective let me give my views and engage the other members of the collective to stand up for what they believed in.” Ismael also works for a community group called Connect Stars, which is set up to bring together groups of youths from different areas that typically don’t see eye to eye by engaging them through football and other activities they enjoy.

Nirmean Sawi

Having the privilege to work at Sufra NW London for the last four years, Nirmean has been able to witness a small, grassroots food bank develop holistically into a multi service Charity and Community Hub that genuinely seeks to understand and respond to both the causes and consequences of poverty. This certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the ability to gather, listen and learn from the community it serves.

Mars Marshall

MARS (They/He) is the Director of the Allied Media Conference where they focus on amplifying the work of artists, organizers, educators, and technologists using media for liberation. Since joining Allied Media Projects in 2017, they have helped facilitate the growth and evolution of the AMC through pivotal moments such as the Year in Chrysalis and the virtual conference in 2020.

Outside of AMP, MARS is a writer who has been named a 2021 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow, a 2019 Lambda Literary Arts Emerging Writer in Poetry Fellow, and more. His work can be read in various publications online.