Ama Josephine B. Johnstone - Researcher / Pleasure Activist

Ama Josephine B. Johnstone is a researcher and pleasure activist  whose work navigates speculative explorations of erotics, art, ecology and Blackness. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies with Dr Gail Lewis at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism, with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana and across the Black diaspora. Ama is the 2020/21 Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism with BARD College, and will be based in upstate New York from January 2021. 

Ama has worked with arts institutions across the UK and abroad including the ICA, Free Word, Tate, Wellcome Collection and the V&A. She has been published by Aperture, Whitechapel Gallery & MIT Press, the Feminist Review, Critical Arts Journal, Afropunk, The Independent Newspaper, Dispatch Feminist Moving Image, Media Diversified, Skin Deep, Consented, CHEW Magazine, B. Dewitt Gallery and Autograph ABP, and commissioned to respond to the work of artists Travis AlabanzaZanele Muholi, Gray Wielebinski, BBZ Alternative Graduate Show and Alberta Whittle

Ama Josephine B. Johnstone is an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins on the BA Culture, Criticism and Curation, London; a Lecturer on the MA Ecologies of Transformation at Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam and the 2020/21 Keith Haring Fellow at the Centre for Curatorial Studies and Human Rights Programme at Bard College, NY

Book Chapters   

What We Stay For

The Material Kinships Reader

Onomatopee Press (forthcoming, 2021)

Eugenics – Population Control

Informatics of Domination
ed. Jennifer Rhee, Zach Blas, Melody Jue
Duke University Press (forthcoming, 2021)


Pollination as Praxis: The Temporalities of Intimate Ecologies 

Conversations Across Place
ed. Frances Whorrall-Campbell & Nicola BrandtThe Green Box Press (July, 2021)

Ama Josephine Budge in conversation with Angela Chan

Science Fiction (Documents of Contemporary Art)

Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press (2018)


BA Performance Practice - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2009 - 2013)

MA Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy - Goldsmiths University of London (2015 - 2017)

PhD Psychosocial Studies - Birkbeck University (2018 - 2022)

International & Local Planetary Fictions Fellowship, Curatorial Frame & EVA International (2021)

Keith Haring Fellow in Art & Activism, Bard College (2021)



tweet: @amjamb

insta: @amajosephine


No Home Left Behind

Architectural Review (Oct 2020) 


Speculative Fabulations: Beneath Yaba's Garden

Feminist Review: Archives (July 2020)


Imaging an Assisted Evolution: The environmental futurity of Zanele Muholi’s Somnyama Ngonyama

Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies

Issue: Curatorial Care 

Of Parables, Patterns, and Progeny — Rethinking Trans Theory with Octavia E. Butler 

Think Pieces by the UCL IAS Review

Ama Josephine Budge & Christine ‘Xine’ Yao

Issue 2: Turbulence

BBZ 2019 Graduate Show: From Loneliness into Abundance

Afropunk, Sept 2019

Well Hung: reflections on Gray Wielebinski’s Shaved in Opposite Directions (commission)

b.Dewitt Gallery, 2019

Watching the Channel (fiction)

Consented Magazine, Issue 7: Environmentalism, 2019

A Shoal of Lovers Leads me Home (fiction)

Anathema Spec from the Margins, Issue 5, Canada, 2018

Rupturous Desires: Queer Bodies Are Made from Mountains (commission)

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, Aperture, 2018 

Just Like Us: Queer Intimacies Familiar

Chew Magazine, Issue 1, Toronto, 2018

Wet and Blue

Consented Magazine, Issue 5: Love & Desire, 2018

Feeder (fiction)

Skin Deep Magazine, Issue 7: The Food Issue, 2017

Wodo Nublanuito - Last One Correct

Mixed-Race, Queer, Feminist(MRQF) Zine, Issue 3: I am a bridge // I am not your bridge, 2017

The Future Belongs to Gastropods

Consented Magazine, Issue 3: Gender, 2017

Seeing in colour

The Bookseller, 2016


prior speaking engagements

Keynote Lecture at Fragments and Fractures Conference, Birkbeck (2020)

Guest speaker at Mister Motley and ArtEZ stadium generale (2020)

In-conversation with speculative author Junauda Petrus, University of Minneapolis (2019)

National Women’s Studies Association, San Francisco (2019)

Keynote In Conversation with Professor Saidiya Hartman & Dr. Gail Lewis, The Art of Not Doing Conference, Birkbeck (2019)

Keynote Lecture on Climate Colonialism, Glasgow School of Art (2019)

Interrogating Archives, Birkbeck University (2019)

The Colour Green Podcast with Baroness Lola Young, Julie’s Bicycle (2019)

Queer-feminist Ecocriticism in Live Art & Visual Cultures, CUNTemporary (2019)

The Future’s Venture Celebration: Provocation Weekender, Walk the Plank, Salford, (2019)

Cyborgs, Wellcome Collection (2019)

Ama Josephine Budge and guest author Sara Saab, b.Dewitt Gallery (2019)

Listening Legacies of Queerness, Science Fiction and Writing Gender: a reading group with Ama

Feminist Futures for Turbulent Times: The legacies of Octavia E. Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin, UCL University (2019)

Queer Black Performance Colloquiem, Oxford University (2019)

Speculative Climate Stories Angela Chan and Ama Josephine Budge, Iniva (2019)

The Apocalypse Reading Room: In Conversation with Jay Bernard, Free Word (2019)

Keynote Lecture/Reading at Goldsmiths University, London (2018)

Fugitive Feminisms, ICA, London (2018)

Africa Utopia Festival, Southbank Centre, London (2018)

Art & Activism, UCL, London (2018)

Curatorial Care, Humanising Practices Conference, VIAD, Johannesburg (2018)

Pleasuring the Visual, V&A Friday Late, London (2018)

Rethinking Love, Sex and Desire, Consented at Birkbeck University, London (2018)

Mothering Blackness, Autograph ABP, London (2017)

Queer Grime Movements, Karnage at Uniqlo Tate Lates, London (2017)

Black British Resistance, Take Back the City at Goldsmiths University (2017)

Founder and Convener of I/Mages of Tomorrow anti-conference, Goldsmiths University (2017)

Decolonising Feminism Conference, Wits University, Johannesburg (2016)

London Feminist Conference, Hilton Hotel, London (2015)

Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, London (2015)