Back to the F**kture: Georgina Johnson

type - podcast
In the final episode of season one of the Back to the F**kture podcast, The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond spoke with artist-curator, art director, editor and writer, Georgina Johnson to discuss how brands need to understand the role that collectivism will play in their future.

Georgina Johnson, my guest on this week’s Back to the F**ckture podcast episode, rightly describes herself as a polymath.

Here she achieved a rare first-class degree. And here, too, as I learn in a very intimate, personal and frank conversation, she began to grapple with what she later understood to be type II bipolar disorder, an enduring mental health condition that comes with extreme highs and lows. The highs allow her to crack on with a schedule that would flummox the best of us – I’m thinking here of her work with the V&A, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The Photographers’ Gallery, Now Gallery, Ace & Tate, and the fact that she founded Laundry Arts straight out of uni, – while the lows, in contrast, pretty much shut her down, flatten her out.

The latter is a community platform and curatorial incubator that aims to establish equity in the arts. Founded in 2017 by Johnson, this platform has largely functioned alongside her personal work as a conduit for experiential activations, exhibitions, small publishing projects and a host of collaborations with well-known large arts and culture institutions and creative practitioners globally.

This work has stitched together a tapestry of the arts as well as unpicking some well-worn threads, such as the elusive access routes into these industries, often frequented by those in the know and especially from particular backgrounds. It is through this platform, her personal work and incredibly savvy and proactive nature that her book, The Slow Grind, was born.

As we chat it’s very clear from Georgina’s insights that between such extremes a different kind of equilibrium can be found and achieved, one where the daily grind we tend to push on with is challenged, where our notions of pace are re-assessed, and where – this is an important one for all of us – our sense of how we measure achievement, value and personal worth is redefined and re-evaluated.

And this becomes, in many ways, the heart of our conversation and of the first edition of Georgina’s book, The Slow Grind, which, as she defines it, is a collection of essays, think pieces and important conversations by academics, scholars, artists, photographers and fellow curators, such as Professor Caryn Franklin, Deborah Joyce Holman, Francesca Gavin, Ib Kamara and Kimberly Jenkins on how we can find our way back to a better and more holistic sense of creative balance.

Published by:

18 February 2022

Author: Martin Raymond and Georgina Johnson



There are essays, certainly, but there are also deep and prescient meditations on the key topics of the day – health, wellness, equity, degrowth, decolonisation, intersectionality, climate and social injustice – the reason I also suggest that she should add futurist to her many titles and activities. All are topics, I remind her, that she has been writing and thinking about in her own work for the past five years, while the mainstream and the corporate world, which she dips in and out of, deemed them to be marginal.

When I received my own copy, I quickly emailed Georgina my thoughts, letting her know that it is rare enough to find such insights in most publications, so a unique blessing indeed to find them in one.

Jump cut to 2022, and these are the topics every individual, brand, business or corporation needs and attempts to embrace and deal with. On this subject, she is resoundingly clear. Brands, she says, need to step up, step in and understand the role that collectivism, consensus and accountability will play in their future development and success.

But – and this is a big but – success, as she defines it, may no longer be about efficiency, extended productivity, the race to more, but could, as we’ve been looking at on LS:N Global in trends such as Post-purpose Brands, or in communities like our tweenage Zalphas, be about degrowth, a less aggressive pace, and most importantly, more measured ways to fulfil our lives and restore balance.

Finally, as Georgina mentions in our episode, and I would echo, she is keen to hear from brands, businesses and organisations who want to collaborate with her on the next phases of The Slow Grind project and conversation – with their internal teams, external clients and messaging – as well as co-partnering on the next edition of the book.

For all of her characteristics, embodied experiences and skill she is certainly one to continue to watch out for, keep an eye on, and most importantly, support as an individual that is genuinely committed to challenging and positively affecting our creative industries.

You can listen to our full podcast here, or buy a copy of Georgina's book The Slow Grind here.

Tune in to the podcast on Audioboom, Spotify, Apple.