The concept of emotional literacy gained traction internationally from the mid-1990s onwards reflecting the impact of such ground-breaking works as best seller Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (1995, Bantam Books) and Towards Emotional Literacy by psychoanalyst Susie Orbach (1999, Virago), both of which brought seminal ideas from psychotherapy to a general readership. In tandem, The National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education was established in 1998 by the Department for Education and Employment and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport. Its inaugural report, All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (1999), recommended greater balance in and out of formal education between acquiring knowledge and skills and having the freedom to innovate and experiment. It also made the case for deepening children and young people’s emotional and relational understanding as well as placing stronger emphasis on creative and cultural education.
Hackney is one of London’s most diverse boroughs, bringing together a rich mix of communities and cultures. When it first opened in 1994, Iniva’s remit was to ‘seek out and champion artists from around the world whose work and ideas would provide new perspectives for Britain’s then predominantly western-centric view of the visual arts’. Iniva played an important role in the early careers of now internationally respected artists such as Yinka Shonibare MBE, Idris Khan, and Sonia Boyce, all represented in our emotional learning cards alongside other well established and emerging artists. Pairing Iniva artists with A Space therapists to co-deliver workshops and contribute to developing resources presented a unique opportunity to creatively critique and challenge self/other perceptions and current as well as historical narratives.
Our journey together
Over the years, other influences have continued to shape the A Space and Iniva partnership, including:
- recent research either published or promoted by Creativity, Culture and Education (the award-winning UK-based international foundation which was set up in response to All Our Futures)
- wellbeing, relational and emotional learning, and self-care being introduced into gallery and museum education
- the resurgence of Black Lives Matter and other significant social movements relating to identity, sexuality, and gender.
The subjects featured in the sets of Emotional Learning Cards co-published by A Space and Iniva have links with those listed above making these resources as relevant today as when they were first published.
Founded in 1994, under the leadership of renowned academic Professor Stuart Hall, Iniva is a non-profit organisation. Iniva is considered to be a pioneering arts organisation having worked with notable and now influential academics, artists, curators and writers including Professor Stuart Hall (Iniva’s founding Chair), Professor Kobena Mercer, Okwui Enwezor, Professor Sonia Boyce, Judith Butler, Keith Piper, Sarat Maharaj, Chris Dercon, Isaac Julien and Baroness Lola Young to name but a few. At the same time Iniva has brought to the public’s attention established international artists who are little known in the UK, such as Henri Dono (Indonesia), Meshac Gaba (Benin) and Sheela Gowda (India) and re-examined previously unknown or half-forgotten art histories such as the Harlem Renaissance in post-war America and a published critique on the work of artists from Latin America.
As an evolving, radical visual arts organisation, Iniva is dedicated to developing an artistic programme that reflects on the social and political impact of globalisation. With the Stuart Hall Library acting as a critical and creative hub for their work, Iniva collaborates with predominantly with British-born and British-based practitioners and academics of African and Asian descent including artists, curators, researchers, and cultural producers to challenge conventional notions of diversity and difference. A central focus remains to engage a wide audience, particularly young people, in discourse and debate on issues surrounding the politics of race, class and gender. Through their various programmes, Iniva works supporting them at different stages in their careers.
By cultivating innovative thinking, Iniva is committed to disseminating research across a wide cultural spectrum and geographical network. A key ambition is to build a greater body of knowledge around each of the artists with whom Iniva works to ensure the legacy of their practices for future generations of researchers and audiences.