Lexicon of Labour

Part of Youth Forum
31 Oct — 11 Nov 2016 Free


In November 2016, a group of young people from Westminster Academy worked as co-researchers with artist collaboration agency for agency to critically consider issues around work.

Using the framework of a lexicon, the group researched and developed definitions, created responsive collages and performed vignettes to expand and share understandings of a variety of terms related to work and labour, such as ambition, inequalities and rights. From this research process, the group developed a booklet entitled Boring Adults Call it The Lexicon of Labour, designed as a guide to the real world for young people. The booklet was printed and presented to Year 10 students at Westminster Academy in June 2017.

The Serpentine Galleries Youth Forum is run in partnership with Westminster Academy, West London, and a commissioned artist. The project forms part of the school’s Year 10 internship programme. Young people, aged 14–15 years old, work collaboratively with an artist to identify and define issues in the social realm and make change.

In autumn 2016 the Serpentine Youth Forum were: Alex, Aya, Barby, Ben, Hala, Hasna, Ibrahim, Iman, Karim, Khamran, Mariana, Nada, Rahma, Ryan, Teresa, Vleron and Yousef.

agency for agency

agency for agency are a collaborative project with artist Barby Asante, curator Teresa Cisneros and producer Jessica Harrington, who work on projects in curation, education and advocacy in visual art, social practice, live art and performance. They collaborate with artists, non-artists and organisations, asking questions about practice in relation to space, place, identity and politics.

This Youth Forum commission builds on from agency for agency’s ongoing research, Assembly Required (Showroom, 2016).

Barby Asante

Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator and educator who’s work explores space, place and identity. The drive of her work is to create spaces for dialogue, collective thinking, ritual and re-enactment. Using archival material in the broadest sense, she is interested in breaking down the language of archive, not to insert or present alternatives to dominant narratives but to interrupt, interrogate and explore the effects and possibilities of the unheard and the missing. Recent projects include As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence. For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adjoa an ongoing project that performatively collects stories of Women of Colour, of which a current iteration is showing in the Diaspora Pavilion, Venice and Run Through a collaboration with Architect Gian Givanni currently on show in Who’s Urban Appropriation is This? Curated by Metro 54 at TENT, Rotterdam. She is also part of agency for agency, previously working in collaboration with Serpentine Youth Forum with students at Westminster Academy.

Teresa Cisneros

Teresa Cisneros has worked in the USA and UK utilising contemporary art to explore everyday politics and concerns in collaboration with artists and non-artists of all ages. She explores the politics of identity and contemporary concerns through an intersectional approach. Cisneros is a cultural producer, a curator, an educator and a member of many communities.


Curated by:

Alex Thorp, Curator, Education

Ben Messih, Assistant Curator, Education


Publication design by:

Rose Nordin


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