Sarah Burke is a journalist, curator, and producer based in Brooklyn, NY.
Her work focuses on art, identity, social justice, technology, and the intersections therein. She currently works on VICE's Features Desk as the Special Projects Editor. She's also the host of the Ellie-nominated podcast Queerly Beloved, co-curator of the series Living Room Light Exchange New York, and one fourth of the printing collective Irrelevant Press. She is queer, Asian-American, and was born and raised on O'ahu.
Project Lead (VICE, 2020)
Changing the world relies, in large part, on the ability to envision a new way of life, even when it feels impossible.
This Pride, we focused on the many ways in which queerness inspires us to invent. Queer people—particularly queer people of color—have long been expressing identities without blueprints, finding resources and family where there were none, and building platforms when no one would listen. QUEERS BUILT THIS champions that ability to change what we value in the world. It looks back on queer people's history of DIY initiative, highlights the LGBTQ people who are changing the ways we live and think today, and invites us all to envision the future we want.
Read the full editor’s letter here.
Series Editor and Project Co-Lead (VICE + Fotografiska, 2020)
VICE partnered with Fotografiska New York to present New Visions, an exhibition showcasing 14 emerging photographers from around the world who are changing the way we see. To highlight the work beyond the museum, we asked 14 of our favorite, fresh voices in culture to respond to the photos in writing.
Project Lead (VICE, 2020)
The next-best thing to being able to predict the future is listening to those who will shape it. This coming decade, the primary people tasked with that challenge are the oldest members of still-evolving Generation Z.
Using a series of four in-depth questionnaires, we interviewed hundreds of VICE readers between the ages of 16 and 22, asking what they care about most and how they’d like to see things change in the future. Then, to understand where Gen Z stands out, we posed the same questions to members of the two generations before them, totaling more than a thousand participants overall. The VICE Guide to 2030 is a dynamic report of what we could all learn from their answers.
Project Lead (Broadly & VICE Media, 2019)
The Gender Spectrum Collection is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives.
Co-organizer (Broadly & VICE Media, 2019)
EUPHORIA was a one day festival in celebration of Trans Day of Visibility that took place at Villain event space in Williamsburg on March 29, 2019. It included photo booths, a fair of trans-centered businesses, an interactive installation highlighting trans history, a reading with author and artist Rin Kim, and a conversation with Alok, Tyler Ford, and Tourmaline followed by a dance party with bounce music icon Big Freedia, House of LaBeija, and Discwoman’s br0nz3_g0dd3ss.
Editor and Project Lead (Broadly & VICE Media, 2019)
In collaboration with artists niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa to accompany their exhibition, Black Power Naps, at Performance Space New York, Broadly created a limited-edition print issue of Black Power Naps Magazine, which interrogates sleep equity and promotes healing and rest for Black people. Issues were available in print during the run of the show at Performance Space and all the content can be read on Broadly.
Editor and Project Lead (Broadly, 2018)
Trans Legends is a growing oral history archive capturing the stories of transgender forebears and pioneers. This first installment features the lives of 13 transgender women whose stories cover topics such as growing up transgender in the American South in the 50s, experiencing the Stonewall Riots and gathering at Compton’s Cafeteria in the 60s, partying at Studio 54 in the 70s, performing at legendary nightclubs in New York and Chicago in the 80s, surviving via sex work over several decades, and flourishing despite traumatic abuse and frequent discrimination.
Project Lead (Broadly, 2018)
At least 22 transgender Americans were killed in 2018. For Trans Day of Remembrance, Broadly looked back at who they were, where they lived, and how they died.
Co-host, Co-producer (Broadly & VICE Media, 2018)
Co-hosted by Broadly editor Sarah Burke and OUT Magazine deputy editor Fran Tirado, Broadly’s Queerly Beloved podcast is a multifaceted portrait of LGBTQ chosen family—the people who help us figure out who we are and inspire us to live as our most authentic selves. In the first season, the hosts speak to a trans sex worker who becomes a mentor to their transitioning client, a gay incarcerated man and the queer pen-pal who has become his confidante, two siblings who are both trans but have vastly different coming-out stories, and two immigrants from across the world who found a sense of home and queer community in each other.
Queerly Beloved was nominated for the 2018 ASME award in podcasting. Jenna Wortham of the New York Times calls it "a beautiful meditation on family, those we're born into and those we select."
Project Lead (Broadly & VICE Media, 2018)
In this issue of VICE Magazine, we explored how the digital world can inform our identities and how we portray our private and public selves. Through personal narratives and photo essays, we explored experiences at the intersection of the digital and the corporeal. Stories included experiences with chronic illness and the internet, grieving digitally, and escaping your body through avatars.
This is a list of selected works. For my latest, follow me on Twitter.
Profiles + Reviews
That Same King Feeling (The Believer, 1/31/2020)
Exploring the Paradox of Trans Visibility (Broadly, 1/9/18)
Post-Confessional: The Aging Intimacies of Sophie Calle (Momus, 8/2/17)
Porpentine’s Linguistic Slimescapes (SFMOMA Open Space, 5/5/17)
Erica Deeman is Challenging You to See Race Differently (Artsy, 4/17/17)
A Floating Noise and Drag Club Celebrates San Francisco’s Lost Underground (Hyperallergic, 1/19/2017)
Inside the Cinematic Void (East Bay Express, 5/11/16)
How to Quantify Absence (East Bay Express, 4/27/16)
What Was Withheld: Tammy Rae Carland’s ‘Some of Us Did Not Die’ (East Bay Express, 10/21/15)
Finding the Sweet Spot: Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon’s Sonic Playscapes (East Bay Express, 7/7/15)
Constance Hockaday’s Oceanic Aspirations (East Bay Express, 1/16/15)
Essays + Op-Eds
Four people helped me write this essay (The Creative Independent, 3/4/19)
Martial Arts for Feminist Journos (SFMOMA Open Space, 8/26/17)
Abolish the Tiki Bar (SFMOMA Open Space, 5/24/17)
They Were Artists, Not Anarchists: On the Ghostship Fire (Washington Post, 12/8/16)
Crying on Camera: “fourth-wave feminism” and the threat of commodification (SFMOMA Open Space, 5/17/16)
Trend + Feature
Is Steven Soderbergh's New App the Future of TV? (Wired, 10/11/17)
This New Museum Imagines a World Where Capitalism is Dead (Artsy, 6/12/17)
The Sex Workers Telling Their Stories Through Art (Broadly, 1/7/17)
Living Room Light Exchange Salon Series: Where Tech and Art Converge (East Bay Express, 9/28/16)
Longform + News
Art Gallery Grifter: How White Walls Owner Justin Giarla Scammed Artists Out Of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars, Then Disappeared (East Bay Express, 11/23/16)
Will Oakland Lose Its Artistic Soul? — Members of The Town’s vibrant arts community say they’re at risk of displacement because of skyrocketing rents, and that Oakland isn’t moving fast enough to protect its cultural identity. (East Bay Express, 3/17/16)
Tumbling the Ivory Tower: At UC Berkeley, one radically engaged academic program could finally force the school to own up to its mission as a public university — if the administration agrees to fund it. (East Bay Express, 9/23/15)
Where Are Oakland’s Black Artists? — In the face of gentrification, local Black artists and curators are working to ensure that no one ever needs to ask where they are, or whether they’ve been here all along. (East Bay Express, 6/3/15)
Moral Combat: After enduring a vicious harassment campaign designed to chase women out of the video game industry, local female developers are trying to take back the art form from commercialization. (East Bay Express, 10/15/14)
The Superheroes Behind the Scenes: The organization behind the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project, which garnered headlines when one of its artists was gunned down, also had to overcome obstacles erected by the city and Caltrans. (East Bay Express, 10/14/15)
Living Room Light Exchange New York, co-curator
Seasons 2, 3, 4 & 5; New York City
The Living Room Light Exchange is a monthly salon dedicated to new media forms and dialogues amongst artists and cultural theorists. Each month, three members of The Exchange present recent projects and works in progress; discussion—on couches, drinks in hand—follows.
Oakland Book Festival, co-curator
May 2017, Oakland City Hall
The Oakland Book Festival is a free, one-day, annual literary event dedicated to urgent issues and important ideas. The 2017 festival hosted over 100 novelists, poets, historians, philosophers, journalists, editors, and activists at City Hall, engaging event goers in panels, interviews, and open debate centered on the theme of Equality. Among those were Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Danielle Allen, Jeff Chang, Arlie Hochschild, Sheryl Oring, Mistah F.A.B, Wendy Brown, Ishmael Reed, Laura Albert and Anthony Marra (and many others).
Anti Lab, co-founder
April–May 2017, Gallery 2301, Oakland
Anti Lab was an open resource center for creative resistance projects that were anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-patriarchy, anti-transphobia, anti-xenophobia, anti-capitalism, and anti-complacency. It was a space for assembling, for organizing, for educating, for rallying together IRL, and producing aesthetic reminders of our demands: equality, justice, safety, respect.
Luca Antonucci: The Custodian (2×2 Solos), curator
August 2016, Pro Arts Gallery
This body of work by Luca Antonucci’s began as an obsession with forgeries, and matured into a nuanced investigation into notions of authenticity and authorship as they relate to value, both in terms of culture and capital. Probing further, Antonucci interrogates the role of the custodian — the museum conservationist, for example — who is tasked with the impossible challenge of making an artwork last indefinitely but who inevitably alters the work in an attempt at preservation. Through a series of aesthetic riddles, Antonucci dismantles the conceptual pillars that uphold the aura of the “original,” eroding the distinction between the artist and the custodian.
2 x 2 Solos is a series of exhibitions featuring new work from four accomplished emerging Bay Area artists. The program recognizes artistic excellence and supports the freedom to create challenging and noncommercial work.
4/1/19 | Behind the Scenes of Broadly's Gender-Inclusive Stock Photo Library. The VICE Guide to Right Now.
2/1/19 | How Startups Are Selling Stressed Out Millenials on the Promise of Sleep. The VICE Guide to Right Now.
1/28/19 | These Artists Want Black People to Sleep. The VICE Guide to Right Now.
10/22/18 | Evangelical Purity Culture Led Me to a Lifetime of Shame. The VICE Guide to Right Now.
7/16/18 | How Video Game Avatars Helped Me Transition. The VICE Guide to Right Now.
1/17/18 | A Programmer Turned the Saga of Abortion Access into a Video Game. The VICE Guide to Right Now.
9/3/17 | We Want the Airwaves.
7/7/17 | Congratulations Pinetree.
6/13/18 | Why Jessie J is Back After a Long Absence. Broadly.
3/06/20 | Building Bridges, Telling Stories at On Air Fest 2020, panelist
8/30/19 | Perfecting Podcasting: Finding Your Voice at NLGJA 2019, panelist
6/26/19 | Seeing Is Believing: What bringing LGBTQ+ stories out of the margins means for us all at Getty Images, panelist
6/12/2019 | Optics: Queer Eye(s) at the International Center for Photography, panelist
3/3/19 | Queering Podcasting at On Air Fest 2019, presenter and panelist
1/16/19 | From Memes to Movements: A conversation with An Xiao Mina at Bluestockings, interviewer
7/14/18 | AAWW POC Publishing Bootcamp: Fiction and Online Magazines, panelist
5/17/17 | The Mission Book Discussion at the California Historical Society, moderator
3/6/17 | ONA SF: Diversity Into Action: Practical Tips for Journalists, Editors, Technologists at Northwestern University, San Francisco; panelist and workshop facilitator
12/1/16 | Prose Nonfiction: Covering Culture at UC Berkeley, taught by Scott Saul; guest speaker
10/9/16 | Equality or Progress: Urban Development in the Bay Area, Litquake 2016, San Francisco; panelist
5/20/15 | REPRESENT! — Covering Race, Culture, and Identity In The Arts Through Writing, Media, and Transmedia, Stanford University, taught by Jeff Chang; speaker
Selected Panels + Events
Awards + Residencies
Excellence in Audio, AAJA, 2018
Nomination, Best Podcast, Ellie Awards, 2018
Planned Parenthood Media Excellence Award, 2018
First place, arts criticism, circulation under 45,000, Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards, 2016
First place, LGBT/gender equality coverage, circulation under 45,000, Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards, 2015
Third place, arts criticism, circulation under 45,000, Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards, 2015
First place, arts and culture coverage, print/text small division, Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter Excellence in Journalism Awards, 2015