> > > Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms conference, July 2018

Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms conference, July 2018
Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms was organised by the Create/Feminisms Cluster and held at Middlesex University in July 2018

Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms

A Create/Feminisms conference at Middlesex University, July 2018

This one-day conference addressed questions raised about feminist activism and artivism  in/through many different kinds of contemporary art, feminist campaigns and projects, as well as feminism’s innovative and diverse approaches to art, politics and the political.

Keynote Speakers: Ewa Majewska, Tanja Ostojic, Christine Eyene

How do the works of women producers/artists identify, comment, reflect, address and question issues related to changes in women’s civil and political rights over their bodies; in campaigns around health and social care; or against violence against women; rights as workers, citizens, refugees or migrants; for LGBTQI rights; for disability rights? Is it only as illustration or expressions of solidarity that art can play a role in feminist political and social campaigns? What about political symbolism or the creation of political identities for women’s struggle in murals, icons, posters and logos?
What about art’s capacity to work with communities to manage change or highlight the voices and experiences of women? Or is art’s role seen only as productive if it provides “therapy” for the disadvantaged by political activists in conflict zones? Is the role of art privileged in its ability to address some realities better than others, some types of campaigns over others? And what are art’s effects amongst different audiences, in social media, in culture as a whole?
If artivism now means art+activism, how do feminist art practices today develop progressive agendas for social transformation or radical forms of democracy? Or has artivism become a catchword for any woman’s empowerment through the arts/using art, often divorced from recognition of 50 years of feminist art practices internationally?

2018 marks 100 years since women in the UK over 30 and with a property qualification obtained the vote. Beyond the fact of enfranchisement, many questions about women’s legal and political rights across the world remain, even though the UN has declared development goals and women’s rights as human rights a key goal for more than 40 years. How has feminism, understood as a fight for women’s recognition/redistribution and representation in politics and cultural life transformed in the last 50 years our understandings of art and activism?

2018 also marks 50 years since the student occupation of Hornsey Art School (which later joined Middlesex University as an art department). One panel at this event will be dedicated to feminist art student protests as sit-ins, work-ins, occupations and alternative de-colonising pedagogies in the last 50 years.

Organised by the Create/Feminisms cluster. Organisation for this event was led by Professor Katy Deepwell.

Abstracts and Programme available on MDX Figshare

39 people presented at this event and 90 people attended. The event was supported by 5 student helpers.

Contributions by Middlesex Staff: Katy Deepwell, Alice Maude-Roxby, Lorraine Leeson, Alexandra Kokoli, Kathleen Mullaniff, Anne Robinson, Feona Attwood.

The Create/Feminisms Cluster is now working on a book to represent the discussions held at the conference.