Amira Hanafi

Chicago, US

I am a poet, cultural worker, and artist working with language as a material.

My creative practice brings together communities of real and fictional characters who speak, interact, and sometimes exchange identities. I use systems and games to prompt and organize different kinds of language. I often use publishing (online and in print).  I'm working with polyvocality as a theme and a strategy. I like to see what happens when different voices come together in shared space, when identities intersect. I'm interested in how the polyvocal can be an expression of collectivity, its rewards and its challenges.

As a cultural worker, I work with artists, entrepreneurs, cultural organizations, and educational institutions. I write, edit, research, teach, advise, strategize, and organize. I build and develop cultural projects with a commitment to justice. In 2013, I co-founded Bashkatib, a nonprofit that trains and supports teenagers to run media outlets in their communities in Egypt and Tunisia. In 2020, I supported the start up of City of Asylum Detroit, which provides safe haven residencies for threatened artists. I've run an online platform to connect artists with funded opportunities, and was a fellow of the UK's Clore Leadership Programme.