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From the Mariana Islands to the Black Sea, Creative Capsule Residents are Rethinking Global Security

… meet Inkstick's 2023-2024 cohort.

Words: Susan Aboeid, Isa Arriola, Jennifer Huxta, Anna Romandash, Sumaya Tabbah, Hunter Williamson, Hantong Wu
Pictures: Anna Romandash

The Creative Capsule Residency is an eight-month program for artists, journalists, and security experts to develop projects that link security and creativity in innovative ways.  Meet the 2023-2024 cohort and join us Monday, April 22 at noon Eastern for the Creative Capsule Showcase to learn more.

The residents have been publishing essays about their process on our Substack. If you haven’t subscribed, please do! And in the meantime, enjoy excerpts below.


The global trade in counterfeit medicines is worth approximately $200-432 billion per year. It is the fastest-growing criminal activity. Often manufactured in China or India, counterfeit medicines filter into the supply chain in sub-Saharan Africa, facilitated by corrupt officials at ports of entry: sea ports, airports, overland border posts. Organized Crime Groups (OCGs), often with their own shipping companies, transport these fake drugs across the sea.

Read more.

Jennifer Huxta is working on an art and reportage project on the impact of fake drugs in Africa. 


Oct. 6 ended in Lebanon with a golden sunset. Summer was technically over, but the warm weather still lingered. I think regularly back to that day, a Friday, to me laying on the beach with a close friend and drinking black iced coffee as we watched the sun set into the Mediterranean Sea. I often wonder how many Palestinians in Gaza, an enclave some 110 miles south of Lebanon, also watched that sunset, for how many it was their last sunset, or the last one before their lives forever changed.

I woke up the following morning to notifications on my phone that Hamas had launched an attack against Israel.

Read more.

Hunter Williamson and Hantong Wu are working on a multimedia project on Great Power Competition in the Middle East.


I saw our Ukrainian sea for the first time when I was a teenager, and I was shocked at how different it was from what I had imagined. The Black Sea used to be a huge tourist destination all along the coast in the South of Ukraine — and yet, here I was, in pure cold water on a secluded and peaceful beach, and all I could see in front of me was pale blue, the color of the sky and the sea itself.

This is the memory of my only visit to the sea before chunks of it were taken from me — first, when Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and then, in 2022, with the bigger invasion.

In my journey documenting the Black Sea — a part of my identity, my country’s essence, and a key to European security — I’ve met people who are losing this sea for the second or third time in their lives. I’ve visited the areas around the south of Ukraine, which now host many communities that have lost their homes and their loved ones, communities that are also mourning their access to the sea and the land around it.

Read more.

Anna Romandash is creating a podcast series about the Black Sea. 


We want this exhibit to break down and reconstruct the viewer’s understanding of the “prison.” We want people who visit the exhibit to redefine and reimagine what they envision the prison to be. Could a diplomatic mission house be considered a prison? What about an old airport? A world heritage site? A school? Society as a whole? 

Read more.

– Susan Aboeid and Sumaya Tabbah are working on a curatorial project on the prison experience in the Middle East and North Africa. 


This year, the United States Air Force has brought together over 6,500 military personnel from the Marianas, the United States, Australia, Korea, Japan, and France for Cope North. This is how the United States Air Force describes what they’re doing:

Field training exercise (FTX)

Airborne integration for large-force employment

Agile combat employment (ACE)

I share these words and phrases to highlight the importance of military jargon for describing what is happening around us, but without really being able to grasp the immensity of the violence occurring amidst these technicalities. It’s so much more difficult to resist something that sounds like you aren’t part of the conversation.

Read more.

Isa Arriola is developing a community guide on militarized language in her home in the Northern Mariana Islands. 

Susan Aboeid, Isa Arriola, Jennifer Huxta, Anna Romandash, Sumaya Tabbah, Hunter Williamson, Hantong Wu

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