An Invitation

This workbook is an invitation to remember, to heal, to envision and to organise.

It is for anyone who may self-identify with one or multiple Asian diasporas, or is working in relation to Asian, diasporic and migrant issues within a Euro-centric and white-dominated environment. It is for artists, educators, community leaders, curators and all others interested in organising in relation to Asian diasporas; and building intra-community solidarity between South, Southeast and East Asians, and inter-community solidarity between Asian, Black and wider communities of colour. 

In this workbook you will find on-the-ground reflections, strategies and practices from ten Asian diasporic organisers and collectives based in Europe. Many of the contributions come with a way of activating and expanding the knowledge they share via reflection prompts, conversation starters or reading lists. Take what resonates with you, engage with it as part of shared learning spaces and reading groups, and/or share it with friends, families or colleagues who you think may benefit from it.

Tools to Transform is a practical offering in recognition of the year we have experienced and continue to experience via its unfolding consequences. It is a year that began with a sudden spike of violent attacks on people racialised as East Asian across the US and Europe; the recognition of healthcare systems being upheld by communities of colour and migration, of which Filipinos are a significant community; and the overrepresentation of Black and South Asian communities amongst those who have died from COVID-19. In the aftermath of George Floyd and the rise of a global Black Lives Matter Movement, we write this as eight people, six of whom were Asian sex workers, were targeted in a racist misogynist shooting in Atlanta USA. The experiences of this year are a reminder of much longer histories and intersections between systemic racism, patriarchy, capitalism and colonisation that have and continue to be challenged by collective efforts.

Organising for transformative change, from a personal, interpersonal and structural level, requires many people and many forms. It requires situating ourselves in a continuum of energy that has come before us and will continue after us.

From building the skills of conflict transformation and abolitionist approaches to Hate Crime, to queering care and healing through food and ancestral knowledge, we hope this workbook provides inspiration to and affirmation of the work you are doing. 

May 2021

Tools to Transform is a project initiated by Joon Lynn Goh & Annie Jael Kwan from Asia Art Activism, in partnership with Sarnt Utamachote & Rosalia Namsai Engchuan from un.thai.tled; Farzana Khan from Healing Justice Ldn; Thao Ho from DAMN* Deutsche Asiat*innen, Make Noise!; Dr Joyce Jiang from The Voice of Domestic workers; Litchi Ly Friedrich from House of Saint Laurent Europe; and Nguyễn Thanh Thủy & Stefan Östersjö from The Six Tones. In this first iteration we are thankful for the European Cultural Foundation’s Culture of Solidarity award, University of York and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), that makes possible the bridging of the contexts of London, Berlin and Malmo and the editorial team’s respective transversalities across Asia.