BRAKC – Mission Statement


How does art shape our experience of belonging?


BRAKC is a Research Centre based at Birkbeck, University of London, co-founded in 2009 by Dr Andrew Asibong (Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies) and Dr Nathalie Wourm (Department of Cultures and Languages).


BRAKC exists in order to explore the potential of artistic representation to interrogate – and reconfigure – our cultures’ various conceptualizations of relating and belonging. We reclaim radical cultural experience as part of an ongoing project of collective psychic, social and political resurrection and reconstruction.


At BRAKC we organize bi-annual symposia, termly film screenings, termly workshops and a monthly reading group – as well as the occasional major international conference – with a view to collectively analysing (and sometimes transforming) hegemonic models of kinship and community.


What is a family? What is a couple? What is a collective? What place, if any, does our culture make for hordes, packs, nests or covens? How do different modes of togetherness and relationality come to exist both internally (refracted through the structures of the psyche) and externally (refracted through the structures of society) – and what is the place of art in all this?


At the heart of BRAKC’s mission is the belief that in order to answer these questions (and in order to expand our range of possible answers) we need to turn our attention to artistic phenomena (we are particularly interested in the radical potential of the spoken and written word and the moving image). We remain committed to analysing the politics of representation and researching our use of cultural objects.


We know that the structures of belonging which inhabit us and which we inhabit are at once psychic and political. But we believe them also to be subject to modification by the aesthetic. How do we come together to grasp that strand of the aesthetic, whether it be in the form of words or pictures, to make it work for us in our lifelong construction of ourselves as simultaneously cultural and relational beings?