Making Time: A collective timeline of Asian diasporic art and activism

Making Time is a research project initiated by Joon Lynn Goh and Annie Jael Kwan, where the first stage is to create a participatory timeline of Asian diasporic art and activism in the UK. Developed collectively with South/East/Asian artists, academics and organisers, this timeline aims to describe and connect less visible Asian struggles and alliances within British cultural and political history.

Why? Diasporic communities from across South / East / Asia have long circulated the British Empire’s wheels of production. Early settlements in the UK have been followed by modern and contemporary waves of migration, alongside struggles for safety, equal pay and the right to remain. These South / East / Asian struggles are part of wider Black, labour, migrant, decolonial and artistic movements that have shaped this country but are less visible in the popular imagination. The conversation that got us thinking about Asia-Art-Activism started with – where are the Asian artists and activists? And how do these figures enable us to describe more nuanced histories and solidarity tactics for the future?  Would this alternative timeline let us ‘see’ this?

Questions we are interested in asking are: How can time-lining Asian diasporic art and activism in the UK describe less visible Asian histories and relationships to the UK’s artistic and civic movements? How can this exercise gather intergenerational knowledge, and act as a collective tool for observing patterns and actions for the future?  And how can time-lining Asian diasporic art and activism help to re/connect and find new connections with wider political struggles?

On 30 March, invited participants spent an afternoon at Asia-Art-Activism’s studio in Raven Row, brainstorming key events, dates, names, memories and references that were significant for the Asian diaspora in the UK to begin marking the timeline.




Thank you to the following people for sharing their knowledge:

Tamsin Barber, Kathy Cho (Phantom Limb), Carmen Hoang (Voices That Shake), Priya Jay, Joyce Jiang, Mai Kawabata, Cuong Pham (Asia-Art-Activism), Jess Routley & Kay Stephens (Daikon), Hau-Yu Tam, Shzr Ee Tan, Jack Tan, Siyang Wei, Diana Yeh

With the support of:


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