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Nuclear colonialism

Panel Discussion

4/06/24 7pm

Free – £5.00

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Join us for a panel with David Burns, Samia Henni, Alisher Khassenaliyev and Maïa Tellit Hawad to discuss historic and ongoing impacts of nuclear colonialism, toxicity, and extraction. Departing from our current exhibition Performing Colonial Toxicity the conversation will draw attention to histories and impact of nuclear weapons testing, producing and disposing across multiple geographies, in particular the Sahara, Kazakhstan and Maralinga (South Australia). The panelists will discuss the continuing struggle for justice against nuclear colonialism and its disproportionate impacts on Indigenous peoples.

David Burns works in media and space. His current research examines the role of media in the histories of sites of nuclear and military colonialism. He has written and lectured extensively on the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia, specifically the British nuclear tests from 1956-63 at Maralinga, tracing the histories of Maralinga via its evolving and highly mediated landscape, the trauma of repeated acts of colonisation, and the devastating effects on Indigenous peoples and their communities. For two decades David has written and led transdisciplinary curricula in architecture, art, and design and currently leads Media Studies at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture in London.

Samia Henni is an architectural historian, exhibition maker and educator. Working through textual and visual strategies, her practice interrogates histories of the built, destroyed and imagined environment – those produced by processes and mechanisms of colonisation, forced displacement, nuclear weapons, resource extraction and warfare.

Alisher Khassengaliyev is a Kazakh decolonial anti-nuclear activist and emerging political scientist currently pursuing an international relations degree at the Kazakh-German University. His focus lies in applying a decolonial lens to Kazakhstan’s foreign and nuclear policy. Alisher is one of the founding members of the Steppe Organization for Peace (STOP): Qazaq Youth Initiative for Nuclear Justice.

Maïa Tellit Hawad is a French-Tuareg researcher based in Marseille. Trained as a philosopher, her research revolves around the imaginaries of the Sahara in french africanist sciences and the intersection of colonial, racial, and geographical logics within the current administration of central Sahara. Her recent work focuses on nomadic becomings in contemporary Tuareg societies.


Photos by Bruno Barrillot of France’s nuclear sites in Reggane and In Ekker in the Algerian Sahara, taken during a trip with filmmaker Larbi Benchiha and his team in November 2007. Courtesy Observatoire des armements, Lyon, France.


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