Book Launch and Celebration | How We Hold: Rehearsals in Art and Social Change | Serpentine Pavilion 2023 | London

Serpentine Civic & Education are pleased to present a new publication, How We Hold: Rehearsals in Art and Social Change published by Serpentine and Koenig. A celebratory day of discussions, offerings and music by contributors Barby Asante, Camille Barton, Ain Bailey, Adelita Husni Bey, Harold Offeh, Rae Johnson, Farzana Khan, Rehana Zaman, Meenadchi and others will take place at the Serpentine Pavilion 2023 on Saturday 30 September.

Recent projects explored in How We Hold include Radio Ballads presented at Serpentine North (31 March – 29 May 2022) and Barking Town Hall (2-17 April 2022) and featuring Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Rory Pilgrim and Ilona Sagar. Pilgrim’s project RAFTS has been nominated for the 2023 Turner Prize.

Over the past decade, Serpentine Education and Civic Curators Jemma Egan, Layla Gatens, Elizabeth Graham, Amal Khalaf and Alex Thorp have developed over 60 long-term collaborative commissions and collective imaginings generated by artists and groups of people that test the possibilities of art in the complexities of social change.

How We Hold gathers project notes and documentation, conversations, commissioned texts and exercises to ask: Where do we go when things fall apart, when home has been taken away, when the cracks appear? How do we find moments of rest, joy and pleasure within ongoing crisis? How do we organise? 

Bettina Korek, CEO, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of Serpentine said: “How We Hold is a culmination of the Serpentine Civic and Education teams’ ongoing work of facilitating collaborations between artists and local communities via institutions of care, education, labour and other vital social matters. With the book’s release, we look forward to a new chapter of multi-disciplinary projects that continue to expand upon our mission of building new connections between artists and society.”

The projects demonstrate the transformative power of collaborations. Designed to be used both within organisations and as a tool to critique them, How We Hold supports dissenting and oppositional conversations, and offers pragmatic challenges to neoliberal and colonial models of education and administration still found in museums, arts organisations, and other institutions today.  The book uplifts and celebrates the creativity and resistance of artists and organisers, and the many people who have shaped these projects—from children in nursery to labour organisers, educators and carers, young people in academy schools and those navigating the immigration system—who find hope, possibility, and life in the most difficult of circumstances.

Upcoming programme

At this year’s BFI London Film Festival, Serpentine will present Everything Worthwhile is Done with Other People (2023) by artist Rehana Zaman and EWIDWOP Collective on 14 October. Everything Worthwhile is Done with Other People (2023) takes up the conversations, experiences, and freedom dreams of a group of women affected by the carceral state. 

Everything Worthwhile is Done with Other People takes its name from a quote by Mariame Kaba in conversation with Eve L. Ewing, ADI Magazine (Fall 2019). 

Serpentine Pavilion
Everything Worthwhile is Done With Other People, Video Still, 2023, courtesy EWIDWOP Collective

Other projects featured in the book

Everyday Resistance brings together mothers and children from the Portman Early Childhood Centre with artist Jasleen Kaur to ask how cooking and eating together can be a site of resistance. Further details here.

Who Cares?

As care centres across the country are being forced to reduce their services, early years workers, care takers and parents from the Portman Early Childhood Centre, North London, have been working with artist Adelita Husni Bey to ask how we can care for each other. Further details here.


Saturday 30th September, Serpentine Pavilion, from 1:30pm.
2pm – 6pm: panels activations
6-8pm: DJ set by artist Ain Bailey 
BSL interpreted

To buy your ticket please visit the Serpentine Galleries website.

PRICE: £5, £3 CONC.

Lisbeth Thalberg
Lisbeth Thalberg
Journalist and artist (photographer). Editor of the art section at MCM.
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