About us

About the project


Further information

Aliyah Hussain
Anna Bunting-Branch

Potential Wor(l)ds is our first collaborative project, drawing on shared interests in feminist science fiction, embodied processes of making, and different ways of worldbuilding.  Inspired by the feminist constructed language Láadan, our project explores the possibility of moving from traditional ways of communicating (including speaking or writing in a dominant language like English) towards more experimental, collaborative modes of expression.

The project has developed over the course of two residences, first at Bergen Kunsthall in August 2018 and then at Lighthouse Brighton in April 2019, as part of Who’s Doing the Washing Up? – a series of live commissions exploring feminist organisational practices and modes of communication.  In Bergen we started with an experimental public workshop, followed by a series of informal follow-up sessions. During this residency we spent time working with the textual, visual and sonic materials produced by the participants to create the online dictionary.  In Brighton we were invited to shape our workshops around more focussed questions concerning space, identity and power that reflected ongoing discussions within Lighthouse ahead of a period of re-development. 

We think of this online dictionary as both an archive of the project and an active working document.  Over the years, the lexicon of this collective language has expanded to include ‘potential words’ from both Bergen and Brighton, as well as subsequent workshops held at The Studio School in Liverpool (2019) and Sonic Acts Academy in Amsterdam (2020).  This dictionary remains open to submissions from other Potential Wor(l)ds workshops that may be hosted in the future.  

This project would not have been possible without Eva Rowson, Curator at Bergen Kunsthall (2018) and Lighthouse (2019).  A very special thanks for introducing us to each other and inviting us to work together as part of her curatorial programme Who’s Doing The Washing Up?  Thanks to all the staff at Bergen Kunsthall and Lighthouse who made our residencies so enjoyable, especially Alli Beddoes, Kizzie Furini, Sofia Marie Hamnes, Jonas Skarmark, Nikolaj Stavnstrup Rasmussen, Thea Haug, Emma Wickham, and Axel Wieder for their help and support.  Thanks to Hannah Gillow-Kloster at The Norweigan Queer Archive for making time to show us the collection in Bergen, and to Jordi Ferreiro, Tarik Elmoutawakil and Claudia Treacher and Violeta Marchenkova (Devil’s Dyke Network) for such interesting conversations about different ways of making space and working collaboratively in Brighton.  Thanks to Randi Heggernes Eilertsen, Thor Brødreskift and Xin Li in Bergen, and to Claudia Treacher and Violeta Marchenkova (Devil’s Dyke Network), and Nats Spada and Olivia Melkonian (Platform B) in Brighton, for their help documenting the project.  And of course, finally, thank you to all those who participated so generously in our workshops and whose input continues to shape Potential Wor(l)ds. 

Potential Wor(l)ds was supported at Bergen Kunsthall and Lighthouse by Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

To hear more about the project, you can listen to our discussion with Eva Rowson about the first iteration of Potential Wor(l)ds in the context of Who’s Doing the Washing Up at Bergen Kunsthall and a subsequent conversation with Claudia Treacher and Violeta Marchenkova of Devil’s Dyke Network about the Brighton workshops.  You can also read an article about our workshop at Sonic Acts Academy, written by Alex Burghoorn.

For more information about the project, email us at potentialworlds@gmail.com or follow us on Instagram @there_ought_to_be_a_word.

Potential Wor(l)ds is a collaboration between Anna Bunting-Branch and Aliyah Hussain, originally commissioned by Bergen Kunsthall.  The project is supported by Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. © Aliyah Hussain, Anna Bunting-Branch and Bergen Kunsthall, 2021.