Ashleigh Williams (she/her), more commonly known as Babeworld, seeks to create a more representative art world through the creation of art and facilitation of events, for those who are marginalised by their class, gender, race, and everything in between.
Ashleigh Williams / Babeworld
With an emphasis on collaboration and co-creation, Babeworld’s practice focuses on themes of political and societal identity, specifically disability/access, mental health, sex work and ‘poverty porn’. Babeworlds community building and marketing strategy to audiences and participants consists of oversharing (otherwise known as attention-seeking) on the internet, in arts networks and through their events. By collaborating with other underrepresented artists, Babeworld cultivates networks to grow their online platform to fundraise and create grants for marginalised people and communities every month.
Babeworld runs the lecture series ‘Don’t Worry I’m Sick and Poor’ which has recently been delivered with ICA London, and they have been commissioned by organisations including East Street Arts, Montez Press, Huffpost, Gal-Dem, Shape Arts, Unlimited and Institute of Contemporary Art. Ashleigh/Babeworld was selected for New Contemporaries 2020, and is currently an editor on the Interjection Calendar at Montez Press. They are committed to bringing their ideas and networks to relevant institutions and organisations in the art world, whether the art world wants to hear it or not.
Growing up in a working-class household, for me, meant lap dinners in front of the TV. TV and film were a place for me where you could indulge, fantasise and consume in a (what is to me) accessible way. Subtitles on, volume on an even number and we’re sorted. When I create work, I want to replicate my experiences and memories - whilst also creating work my family can interact with and ultimately enjoy and digest. Film has become a way for me to document my real life experiences, and to replicate memories and emotions throughout my life that represent different facets of my identity - from class, to race, to disability.
For me, writing has always been an easily achievable mode of making work. Not because everything I write is particularly good or profound - but more so because I’ve almost always got either a pen and paper, a laptop or a phone nearby. Always ripe for notes. It’s allowed me to experiment with my thoughts, collate ideas and get my point of view across. Writing, for me, has been a place where I can control a narrative. Being a marginalised person I find my story is often twisted and distorted - with palatability being of main interest to those who wish to tell our stories. I wanted to use my writing to create alternative narratives, but also benefit the community. Beyond educating others and fostering communities, I wanted my writing to directly benefit individuals from communities. I created a Patreon, whereby I release a weekly text that delves into my research, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes its an off the cuff whinge about my mistreatment in society, sometimes its clips from my favourite cartoon discussing queer love. I use all the funds raised by this Patreon to run bi-monthly £200 no-strings-attached grants for marginalised communities, which I advertise on my instagram. This year (2021) I am projected to raise at least £1200 which equates to 6 grants.
In the near future,
Deptford X AAJA Radio - 30 min Radio Commission, Date: July 2021 (To Be Scheduled), London https://deptfordx.org
[“We’ve all had our look around the art world - predominantly white cis middle class men, making art about, well, whatever they feel like. With the world set up for the most privileged to navigate smoothly, us marginalised folk have very few frames of reference when it comes to cruising or clawing through life, let alone the art realm. With this in mind - how do you find yourself represented in mainstream media and popular culture- if at all?
This piece explores the attachment of two artists (Ashleigh Williams and Gabriella Davies) to fictional characters in the anime Hunter x Hunter. Using the mistreatment of Illumi and Alluka Zoldyck to discuss our placement within society, we aim to weave tales of our lived experience with scenes from HxH - whilst convincing the audience why we think Illumi is Autistic and Alluka is trans. We debate the highs and lows of trans and autistic representation, offering a dialogue the art world and academia often skims over.”]
Motion Sickness Don't Worry I'm Sick and Poor - One Off Lecture Commission, Available to book in July 2021 at Instagram.com/Babeworld3000
Embassy Solo Show Commission - Embassy Gallery, July 9th - Aug 8th 2021, Edinburgh https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exhibition-welcome-to-babeworld-tickets-157452724337
["Welcome to Babeworld” is a very pink, very garish installation- which explores the precarity of sex work, the importance of community building, and the dystopian realities that exist for some of us.
In a version of a dystopian future, not so far from our current reality, we visit Pandemonium. Hell on earth, where two sex workers take refuge in a dollhouse at the meeting points of fragmented realities. The dollhouse is a garish ‘Babeworld pink’, and a reddish glow spills out from the windows that look out onto scorched land and hellscapes. Signs of a past presence leaves half eaten crisps and drinks to stagnate in this apocalyptic place.
Sex workers are a large community yet work in isolated conditions due to criminalisation. Unable to work under the same roof without the threat of facing criminal charges, and existing on the outskirts of society is attempted social control- we create alternative spaces and refuge. The dollhouse seeks to explore the daily mundanities of the life of a sex worker whilst portraying the negative external forces that demonise us. Without sensationalising or glamourising sex work, we manipulate perception and make use of storytelling via science fiction and fantasy to discuss the complexities of the sex worker experience."]
New Contemporaries Anime Appreciation Hour - July 15th 2021, as part of digital residency commission, available to book 1st July at https://newcontemporaries.org.uk/current/digital-residency-ashleigh-williams / instagram.com/Babeworld3000
[Ashleigh Williams is the current recipient of our Digital Residency. Over the next two months, she will be drawing on cartoons, live performances and song lyrics to have discussions about race, disability and class in a way that diverges from standard academia - celebrating her marginalizations as positive aspects of her identity. In the forthcoming weeks, she will be sharing anime reviews, a reading group and video essay.]
Montez Press Interjection Calendar - Edited & Curated by myself, Book Published in 2021, available at https://montezpress.com/catalogue/books/
["We're really happy to welcome Ashleigh to the Montez editorial team for 2021. Montez has worked with Babeworld consistently over the last two years and is very excited for their input with Interjection this year.
Ashleigh is a London based artist. Her work aims to highlight the importance of lived experience, through re-appropriation of the conventions of "blackness" and "disability" - and in return maybe have some content beyond your classic art jargon."]
East Street Arts Publication - Funded By East Street Arts, Available to purchase Dec 2021 at Instagram.com/Babeworld3000 (all proceeds go to charity)
Book on Love - with HOLYHOLYHOLY, coming 2022
BSOA Development - Programme to Launch April 2022 funded by East Street Arts +