Hypericum perforatum, commonly known as St. John's Wort, has been used since antiquity as medication for somatic and psychic distress. Blooming at the time of summer solstice, in early Germanic cultures it became known as the bringer of light. Through to the Middle Ages, St John's Wort was used to ward off evil spirits as well as disease, and it is still known as a potent herbal remedy for depression and anxiety. The Greek origins of the name for the Hypericum family are uncertain but, according to a common interpretation, it is derived from ‘hyper eikon’ and alludes to the plant’s apotropaic properties.
Obsidian Coast is excited to announce the beginning of Hypericum: A Code of Practice, a research project developing a collectively produced, ever-evolving code of practice for feminist, antiracist, anticolonial and environmentally sustainable arts organising.

The project is led by a newly formed working group of UK based arts workers and small-scale organisations: Angela Chan, Divya Osbon, Anjali Prashar-Savoie, Jamila Prowse, La Sala and Obsidian Coast.

We feel that cultural organisations hold the potential to participate in reimagining the socio-political conditions under which we live, but often any tangibly counterhegemonic practice is curtailed by the reliance of organisations on predominant value systems of hetero/cissexist patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, capitalist extraction, competition and accelerated production with maximum efficiency. Hypericum is an attempt to envision what it would mean to place care, generosity and solidarity in the crux of all arts organising, and to share these imaginings as an evolving open source code for practice.

The foundation of this open source code may entail – but will not be limited to – essays, practical guidelines, pledges and glossaries. These may address safer space guidelines, accessibility, formation and maintenance of ethical working relationships, counter strategies for dealing with master suppression techniques, or proposals for support structures to enforce collectivity within an increasingly precarious professional field. The contents may be analytical, practical or speculative, whatever is deemed most helpful and generative. The only predetermined condition of the code of practice is that it always stems from a specific context and never perceives itself to be an all-encompassing, complete or static entity.

We are at the very beginning of our shared journey. When our foundational work reaches an appropriate stage, we will bring our research and conversations to the public realm, hosting open discussions and inviting contributions from all who wish to partake in this collective endeavour.

If you would like to know more about Hypericum: A Code of Practice, please email nella[a]obsidiancoast.art.

Hypericum: A Code of Practice is kindly supported by Arts Council England.