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Reading into the Past / Writing into the Future

Ashley Jane Lewis, Carey J. Flack
Ruha Benjamin, Jeffrey Yoo Warren, Ryan C. Clarke
March 27, 2022 to May 29, 2022 (10 classes)
Sundays, 12-3pm ET
Online (Zoom)
$1200 Scholarships available learn more...
Applications closed on February 25, 2022

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“All organizing is science fiction. We are bending the future, together, into something we have never experienced. a world where everyone experiences abundance, access, pleasure, human rights, dignity, freedom, transformative justice, peace. We long for this, we believe it is possible.” —adrienne maree brown “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break and imagine our world anew. This one is no different. It’s a portal. A gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it...or we can walk through lightly...ready to imagine another world, and ready to fight for it.” —Arundhati Roy It cannot be overstated how important the role reading and writing plays in opening up imaginaries from individual self expression to individual, collective and systemic forms of historical documentation. When we read and write stories about ourselves and society, we make worlds. Such stories are visceral technologies which contain instructions for political ideologies that terraform worlds we can learn a lot from. ‘Reading into the Past / Writing into the Future’ is a portal that leads towards reading and immersing ourselves in the written science fiction work of black, indigenous people of colour. Now, with our backs to the opening edge of the portal, shall we imagine this future together? What does it feel like? What does it smell like? Who is it for? Join us in Reading into the Past / Writing into the Future, a tomorrow focused science fiction writing room, based on actual science and technology. This class is an experimental writing workshop and clinic featuring instruction by Ashley Jane Lewis featuring guest lectures from practitioners in the fields of science and technology. Together, we’ll examine, digest and immerse ourselves in the fiction of writers like Octavia Butler, NK Jemison, Nnedi Okorafor as well as compilations like Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, Love Beyond Body, Space and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology and Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. We’ll be joined by guest presenters from the sciences who will share facts and processes from their practice that will work to inspire our writing. There will be opportunities to read aloud, adjust and hone our craft while listening deeply to one another. The class will culminate in a live reading held softly and with great care over Twitch. One piece from each student will be included in a printed publication that will be made available after this class. Please join us in this opportunity to write, read and imagine the future together.


Course of Study

  • Week 1: Intro and orientation
  • Week 2: Guest lecture
  • Week 3: Guest lecture
  • Week 4: Guest lecture
  • Week 5: Guest lecture
  • Week 6: Reading discussion
  • Week 7: Internal crit
  • Week 8: Writing clinic
  • Week 9: Panel with critics
  • Week 10: Internal showcase


No writing experience necessary, all are welcome to apply for this class.

Participants will:

  • Read and discuss texts written by BIPOC artists, practitioners and sci-fi authors
  • Engage in group discussions about the prospective impact of science and technology trends as well as social movements that have and will continue to shape the future
  • Practice presenting their own work and give feedback to others
  • Contribute to a publication featuring original writings by participants
  • Perform a reading of an original work at a final showcase and publication release

Is this class for me?

This class may be for you if:

  • You're generally interested in foresight, futurism, science fiction, visual narratives, writing, reading, science and technology
  • You're new to writing and interested in a critical introduction to science fiction
  • You're curious about the future and passionate about collectively ruminating on the unknown in creative ways
  • You're an artist, creative practitioner, technologist, and/or person who makes creative projects in their spare time who is interested in integrating writing into said practice
  • You're specifically interested in developing a writing practice that engages in science and technology from a critical perspective

Meet the Teachers & Guests


Ashley Jane Lewis

Ashley Jane Lewis is a new media artist with a focus on afrofuturism, bio art, social justice and speculative design. Her artistic practice explores black cultures of the past, present and future through computational and analog mediums including coding and machine learning, data weaving, microorganisms and live performance. Listed in the top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, her award winning work on empowered futures for marginalized groups has exhibited in both Canada and the US, most notably featured on the White House website during the Obama presidency. Her practice is tied to science and actively incorporates living organisms like slime mould and food cultures (kombucha and sourdough starters) to explore ways of decentralizing humans and imagine collective, multi species survival. Ashley is currently an Artist in Residence at Culture Hub NYC as well as part of the Culture Futures Track in the NEW INC year 7 cohort, an art, design and technology incubator run within the New Museum.

she/her · website · twitter · instagram


Carey J. Flack

Carey Flack is a creative technologist, researcher, writer, and archivist living on the Muscogee Nation Reservation [Tulsa, OK]. As a 7th generation Oklahoman and experimental archivist, Carey documents Black Southern and Afro-Native land relationships through her IG blog @pressed.roots. Her work explores land and ancestral memory, time, diasporic experiences, language and culture preservation, and personal narrative. She’s passionate about designing that work that gently helps people intimately witness the interlocking oppressions and dreams within and around them.

she/her · website · twitter · instagram


Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation 2020 Freedom Scholar Award, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

she/her · website · twitter · instagram


Jeffrey Yoo Warren

Jeffrey Yoo Warren (he/him) is a Korean American artist-educator, community scientist, illustrator, and researcher in Providence, RI, who collaboratively creates community science projects which decenter dominant culture in environmental knowledge production. His recent work combines ancestral craft practices and creative work with diasporic memory through virtual collaborative worldbuilding. Jeff is an educator with Movement Education Outdoors and AS220, and part of the New Old art collective with Aisha Jandosova, hosting art-making and storytelling events with older adults; he is also the 2023 Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress. His current artistic practice investigates how people build identity and strength through their interactions with artifacts and histories, and the ways that objects can tell stories that people can be part of in the present.

he/him · website · twitter · instagram


Ryan C. Clarke

A tonal geologist from the Northern Gulf Coast, Ryan Christopher Clarke notices the passage of time as both a trained sedimentologist and artist-researcher as co-editor at ,dweller electronics,, a group dedicated towards providing black counterpoint within an otherwise eurologically dominant music industry. His works have been included in Rhizome, Frieze Art Fair Los Angeles, Arena Annual, Terraforma Journal, Louisiana State University Digital Commons, Boiler Room Festival New York, and YesWeCannibal. He is a member of the American Geosciences Union, a co-recipient of the Allied Media Critical Minded Grant, and is studying ethnomusicology at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Knowing intimately the ways his home is at great risk of physical and cultural erasure, he finds ways to not only document this loss quantitatively in scientific research, but qualitatively with works that try to articulate the shared knowledges his people have with the Mississippi Delta and its tributaries. Through the lenses of Jazz, New Orleans Bounce, Detroit Techno, Chicago House, and the geologies underneath, he views the progression of technology and culture at-large as a depositional process sourced by black innovation under the theory, “Southern Electronics”.

· website · twitter


Our programs are conducted in spoken English with audiovisual materials such as slides, code examples and video. Online programs are held over Zoom.

Please take care and be well. We hope you are comfortable in your housing, living, and working situation in general. Never hesitate to ask us for advice and reach out if you have accessibility requests or need any assistance during your time at SFPC. We will work closely with you towards co-creating the most accommodating learning environment for your needs.

reach out with questions about access...

How do I apply?

Apply Now

What piece of science fiction do you think you're living in today? What piece of science fiction would like to live in today?

Applications open until Applications closed on February 25, 2022.

You can expect to hear back from us about the status of your application on March 7, 2022. Please email us at with any questions you have.

more about what we look for in participants...

How much does it cost to attend?

For 10 classes, it costs $1200 + processing fees, for a one-time payment. We also offer payment plans. Participants can schedule weekly or monthly payments of the same amount. First and last payments must be made before the start and end of class. *Processing fees apply for each payment.

SFPC processes all payments via Withfriends and Stripe. Please email if these payment options don't work for you.

Upon payment, your space in the class will be reserved. We offer scholarships for those who cannot pay full tuition. Read more about scholarships below.

I can’t pay for SFPC. Can I come at a reduced rate, or for free?

If you can’t pay full tuition, we really still want you to apply. Our application will ask you how much you can pay. We will offer subsidized positions in all of our classes, once each one has enough participants enrolled that we’re able to do so.

We have also started a scholarship fund, and we will be offering additional scholarships as community members redistribute their wealth through SFPC. We direct scholarship funds towards participants who are low-income, Black, Indigenous, racialized, gendered, disabled, Queer, trans, oppressed, historicially excluded and underrepresented.

Right now, tuition is SFPC’s main source of income, and that is a problem. It means that we can only pay teachers, pay for space, and organize programs when participants pay full tuition to attend. Tuition is a huge barrier to entry into the SFPC community, and it disproportionately limits Black participants, indigenous participants, queer and trans participants, and other people who are marginalized, from participating. Scholarships are not a long term solution for us, but in the short and medium term we hope to offer them more while we work towards transforming SFPC’s financial model.

How can I help others to attend SFPC?

For SFPC to be the kind of place the community has always meant it to be, it needs to become a platform for wealth redistribution. If you are a former participant, prospective participant, or friend of the school, and you have the financial privilege to do so, please donate generously. There is enough wealth in this community to make sure no one is ever rejected because of their inability to pay, and becoming that school will make SFPC the impactful, imaginative, transformative center of poetry and justice that we know it can be.

What if I can’t go, can I get a refund?

  • Yes, we can give you 100% refund up to 10 days before class starts
  • 50% refund after 10 days, until the first day of the class
  • No refunds can be given after the first day of the class

Interested in more learning opportunities at the School for Poetic Computation? Join our newsletter to stay up to date on future sessions and events, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Support our programming through scholarships. Get in touch over email.