SOMATIC UTOPIC IMAGINING
Pedagogies that Support Collective Healing
An Exhibition by Laila Islam
Curatorial Studies Major
Fine Arts and Photography Minor
Somatic Utopic-Imagining explores how pedagogies exercised in creative spaces as art practices can create healing environments for communities who experience systemic harm. A pedagogy developed by Laila Islam and Reva Rutherford, Utopic-Imagining is a practice where one imagines, designs, and creates alter-realities that better serve Black and Brown communities. Utopic-Imagining is an Afrofuturist method of speculating the past, present, and future, imagining a utopia, and designing technologies that support one’s envisioned utopia. Generative Somatics or Somatic Pedagogy offers resistance to our violent capitalist environment by encouraging people to assess their bodily relationship with capitalism and how it manifests socially in our interpersonal relationships. Through therapeutic group practices, soma encourages deeper relationships with one's individual body as well as the collective body, ultimately embodying a healing state. Utopic-Imagining and Somatic Pedagogy are used throughout The Future Is Us (TFIU) Group Residency, a pilot project where participants and facilitators engaged in both healing pedagogies. Throughout this project, participants were encouraged to create a conscious relationship with their bodies, their communities, and their environment through speculative and imaginative practices. Exercises include group breathwork and writing, open discussions and presentations, collaging, and group art-making that is body-focused and play-centered. The findings generated by–and the works created from– TFIU Group Residency participants and facilitators resulted in a curated zine. This zine, Somatic Utoptic Imagining Vol. 1, is intended for use as a pedagogical tool, enabling readers to use our works as a reference for how communities can collectively process trauma, share knowledge, and create together through Somatic Pedagogy and Utopic-Imagining.