UCLA Arts welcomes a new faculty member to the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance: Assistant Professor Ayasha Guerin.
Guerin is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, and curator of photography, video, and performance. They join UCLA Arts from the University of British Columbia (UBC), where they were assistant professor of Black diaspora studies in the Department of English. They were also faculty affiliate of the Centre for European Studies and the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies at UBC.
Guerin’s first book project, Making Zone A, Nature, Race and Resilience on New York’s Most Vulnerable Shores, studies the colonial foundations of the city’s waterfront development from the 17th-19th century and traces how conquest, slavery, and racial capitalism have physically altered coastal environments and socio-ecological relations. Selections from this book have been published in Island Studies Journal, a special issue of Shima on coloniality and islands, and is forthcoming as chapters in two books: Bio/Matter/Techno/Synthetics (Actar, 2023) and a Routledge anthology on The Aquapelago and Aquapelagic Thinking.
Guerin is also engaged in art activism and curatorial research in Berlin. They have published a German language chapter in Sisters and Souls 2: Inspirationen durch May Ayim (2021) and their latest article, “Matter and Memory: Black Feminist Performance and Poetics in Berlin” (Meridians), describes their performance and activism as one of the founding members of Black Art Action Berlin. They also serve on the Black Feminist advisory board for Dekoloniale, a public office to “decolonize” Berlin’s memorial spaces and museum collections, and is a member of the Berlin-based curatorial research collective Curating through Conflict with Care.
In January, 2023, Guerin founded the Liberated Planet Studio, for artists and activists interested in ecological and movement research at the intersections of social and environmental justice.
Guerin holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.