Psychedelics and plant medicine have vast potential to help us access health and healing. They have been utilised by global majority peoples for millennia. For people with experience of mental distress and trauma, they can serve as powerful tools to process our lived realities. Despite this, these technologies have been stigmatised and criminalised by state institutions for decades, resulting in more racial violence, community breakdown and trauma. In recent years, some have hailed a ‘psychedelic renaissance’ in the minority world – but this phenomenon cannot be divorced from its neoliberal capitalist context.
In this exploratory space, we will discuss the transformative possibilities offered by psychedelics and plant medicine. We will approach these technologies not only through the lens of individual and collective healing, but also address their relationship to large-scale structural issues such as the war on drugs and abolition. How might psychedelics and plant medicine help us meaningfully intervene in cycles of violence and trauma? How might they serve as tools to reimagine public health?
This event is part four of six large-scale discussions that are taking place in London and online in the build up to Rehearsing Freedoms – a month-long festival of community health and healing, cultural work and movement building. Taking place between 11th October and 11th November 2023, Rehearsing Freedoms will help build towards a complete reimagining of our health systems.
Ismail Lourido Ali, JD (he/him or they/them) has been personally utilizing psychedelics and other substances in celebratory and spiritual contexts for over fifteen years, and has been actively participating in the drug policy reform movement for a decade. Ismail is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and serves on the Board of Directors for Alchemy Community Therapy in the California Bay Area. Ismail advises, is formally affiliated with, or has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations in the drug policy reform ecosystem, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Chacruna Institute, and the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. Ismail is also a co-founder and founding Board Member of the Psychedelic Bar Association.
Akua Ofosuhene (she/her) speaks publicly about the healing modalities, psychedelic medicines and African spiritual practises she used to successfully treat her son who was groomed at school into multiple county lines drug dealing rings. Akua advices on intentions and integration when working with psychedelics. She is a member of INSCAPE a psychotherapy led psychedelic retreat organisation and works full time as dressmaker and importer of natural products from Ghana.
Camille Sapara Barton (they/she) is a Social Imagineer who operates as a catalyst for social change, dedicated to creating networks of care and liveable futures. They work as a facilitator, consultant and curator across the realms of embodied social justice, grief, pleasure and drug policy.
Rooted in Black feminism, ecology and harm reduction, Camille uses creativity, alongside embodied practices, to create culture change in fields ranging from psychedelic assisted therapy to arts education.
In recent years, Camille has taught within various programmes for psychedelic therapists in training, including Psychedelic Coalition for Health, Synthesis and CIIS to name a few. Since 2017, they have worked closely with MAPS, ensuring that MDMA Psychotherapy will be accessible to BIPOC and other communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
They are currently based in Amsterdam, working as the Director of Ecologies of Transformation, a temporary masters programme at Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam), that researches how art making and embodiment can create social change.
Darren Springer (he/his) is an educator, researcher and event organizer based in the UK. Known around the world for his Shroomshop Master classes, he is a keen mushroom cultivator and teacher and has been growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms for the last ten years. By day he is an Organic Horticulturist and Food Enterprise tutor and has translated his home growing experience into a social enterprise.
Although not often recognised by researchers and scientists, fungi and plants have been used by indigenous Africans, and those in the diaspora for spiritual and community development for millennia. Several groups use these sacred plants in their rites of passage initiation ceremonies and daily ritual. Darren is a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker who is passionate about sharing his research and findings on ancient African plant medicines, the history, mythology and various applications.
Collectively his work aims to inform and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to cope with social challenges and contribute to community development as well as self-improvement in an innovative, creative, culturally-aware style.
Farzana Khan (she/they) is Healing Justice Ldn’s Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director. Her practice works on building community health, repair and self-transformation rooted in disability justice, survivor work and trauma-informed practice working with communities of colour and other marginalised and underrepresented groups. Farzana has over 10 years of background in Youth and Community work particularly focused on arts-based education projects both in the UK and internationally. Farzana is the former creative and strategic director at Voices that Shake,bringing together young people, artists and campaigners to develop creative responses to social injustice. She ran this working at Platform London, a climate and social justice organisation working across arts, education, research and activism.
Farzana is a Fellow at the International Curatorial Forum. Farzana’s recent curatorial practice/art includes launching the Black Cultural Black Activism Map with the Stuart Hall Foundation andAll Water Has Perfect Memory, writing on climate and gender justice and generational trauma & memory.
This event is online with closed captioning (live transcriptions) and BSL (British Sign Language) available. If there are any access needs you’d like us to consider, please email email@example.com.