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Khairani Barokka:poet/disability & arts advocate at Bare Lit Festival 2016!


Khairani Barokka

We met the lovely poet and disability and arts (self-)advocate Khairani Barokka who came to our AGM. We are delighted that she will be at the Bare Lit Festival 2016  Panel:

Second Generation Poets in Exile.

We wish her all the best!! and hope a few of us will manage to get to see her there at the Free Word Centre 60 Farringdon Road London, EC1R 3GB which is accessible!

Okka’s bio

Khairani Barokka (b. 1985) is a writer, poet, and interdisciplinary artist. She is also a practitioner of think/do advocacy in the arts, particularly on the ways in which innovation in storytelling can increase inclusion and access for and by disability cultures and feminisms (both of which she is happy to be a part of). Born in Jakarta, Okka works, teaches, and is published internationally, in print and online (see WRITING for recently published and forthcoming work). Her lectures, performances, workshops, and/or projects have been presented extensively, in India, the US, Australia, Malaysia, the UK, Austria, Germany, Singapore, and her native Indonesia. She has a masters from ITP at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a Tisch Departmental Fellow, working on participatory, interactive art, literature, and social issues storytelling. Her BA (High Honors, College Scholar) was from Middlebury College in Sociology/Anthropology.


Okka is the writer, performer, and producer of a hearing-impaired accessible solo show, “Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee” (with a grant from HIVOS as main sponsor), which premiered at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 as Indonesia’s only representative. Previously, she pioneered the production of the first live-streamed spoken word shows in Indonesia, involving cross-national collaborations, with a focus on social justice/disability justice. As an independent scholar, she is a member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), and has presented at international conferences, festivals, and as a two-time TEDx speaker (Jakarta and Youth@Chennai). Okka was profiled in UNFPA’s book “Investing in Young People in Indonesia: Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change” (2014) for raising awareness of disability issues and perspectives through art and writing. She has also been featured widely in national and international media, among them multiple ABC Australia appearances (radio and television), RRR (Aus), The Hindu (India), The Times of India, The New Current (UK), and all major Indonesian newspapers and media including National Geographic, Esquire, and BBC Indonesia (see PRESS for complete list).


Okka was most recently Artist-In-Residence at Rimbun Dahan (Malaysia, 2014-15) for 6 months, where she worked on writing projects as well as using text in mixed media works. She has also held residencies at Vermont Studio Center (US, 2011; with a grant for poetry, as first Indonesian writer-in-residence), Tutti Arts (AUS, 2013), the EQUILIBRIUM Project at Sandarbh (India, 2014), Jatiwangi Art Factory’s Village Video Festival (Indonesia, 2012) and was Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence for 2013.


Her first book as sole author, a poetry-Braille-art production entitled “Indigenous Species” (also to be made available in non-Braille versions), will be out in late 2016 with Tilted Axis Press (UK). “HEAT”, an anthology of Southeast Asian urban writing co-edited with Ng Yi-Sheng for Buku Fixi Publishing (Malaysia), will be launched at the London Book Fair in 2016. In September 2015, Okka began a PhD by practice in Goldsmiths’ Visual Cultures Department, on an LPDP Doctoral Scholarship. She continues her work at the intersections of writing, art, disability cultures and participatory narratives with a long-awaited project–it’s been given the enticing codename “Project A”, as lacklustre codenames are significantly underrated as a method of approaching secret missions.

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