Read through the Contemporary Art and Feminism Steering Group minutes from t our first meeting on 17th December 2013
CAF Steering Group
Inaugural meeting 17th Dec, 2013
Jacqueline Millner (chair), Jo Holder, Catriona Moore, Elizabeth Day, Bec Dean, Kelly Doley, Anna Gibbs, Craig Judd, Cherine Fahd, Di Smith, Laura Castagnini (by phone), Jackie Dunn, Robyn Backen, Deborah Kelly, Jan Guy
Apologies (who have agreed to be part of steering committee):
Elvis Richardson, Bianca Hester, Margaret Mayhew, Jane Polkinghorne
Other apologies (to be confirmed on c‘mmittee):
Julie Rrap, Clare Milledge, Debra Dawes, John Cruthers, Melissa Miles, Julie Ewington, Caroline Phillips, LEVEL collective representative, Bonita Ely, Fiona Foley , Sophia Freeman, Bronia Iwanczak, Fiona MacDonald, Elizabeth Gertsakis, Robyn McKenzie, Karen Mills Maurice O’Riordan Jasmin Stephens, Toni Warburton, Jane Dyer, Mary Scott
JM outlined planned CAF events for 2014-15, steering committee to meet roughly every two months.
FIRST EVENT for 2014: Feminist pedagogies or Teaching to Transgress (bell hooks)
March 2014 ‘field day’ SCA intervening in art education, feminist pedagogy, mentoring. Opened up discussion for key issues for panel to consider and/or workshops.
Craig Judd thought that resistance/s to feminism within the art school was an important issue for discussion. Need to break down resistances, particularly the common idea that feminist battles have been already won in the art school. General agreement.
JM wondered whether the field day could discuss the relative merits of separate feminist art courses (as in electives) or to push for mainstreaming feminism within general pedagogic surveys.
Di Smith noted that these issues had a history that needed elaborating as a context for current strategies.
Bec Dean noted that in part the backlash or resistance against feminism in art schools stemmed from the widespread perception of feminism as a white middle class art movement; ie feminism narrowly conceived, leading to stereotypes.
Liz Day noted that this situation is exacerbated in the current (and future) Abbott Govt political climate.
Anna Gibbs Agreed that the field day was part of a broader ‘push back’, stressing feminism’s inter-sectionality; ie current need for feminist alliances and inter-connections with left-wing migrant, indigenous, class etc politics to be strengthened.
Cherine Fahd Observed feminist pedagogy’s need to work as series of questions (hence maintaining feminism’s open-ended character) rather than as an art movement. This would counter the common student misapprehension of ‘what a feminist artwork looks like/is” (ie the equivalence of feminist art with ‘naked woman, eyes closed’(!)
Kelly Doley agreed, citing her own work with high school teachers to break down stereotypes of what a feminist performance artist is/looks like/works on etc. ie it’s as basic as that. Also that mentoring inside/outside the art school is important.
Laura Castagnini (by phone) referred to the Melbourne (uni?) Gender and Art group (course?) that provides sources, resources on feminism and art, women’s art etc. ie that feminist theory, art history and research/publishing needs to be broadly available and introduced to students as a rich heritage and impetus for work. Eg Courtney Pedersen (LEVEL) and other’s theses on feminist areas. (nb also her own postgrad work, and others)
Jo Holder added that this resource gap is really important to fill, as the work is out there, but simply has not been brought together consistently within the institutions (ie institutional lag).
JM asked for ideas about the structure for the field day. Eg Series of panels/workshops, with performative dimension?
Catriona Moore noted that Margaret Mayhew would be happy to ‘run’ one such performative workshop for the field day.
Discussion then turned to possible panels and workshop sessions:
Craig Judd/Kelly Doley both suggested informal panel on what people ‘do’, their experiences, via a case study type of approach. Margaret Mayhew’s performative participation might go well in that kind of informal session.
Panel 1: approaches to feminist pedagogy panel discussion: what has been/is being done around the country, countering resistances. Craig Judd and Kelly Doley to lead/convene this panel.
Liz Day mentioned the Parramatta female factory project as an inclusive, inter-disciplinary community project by way of suggesting a second panel on feminism’s foundational inter-disciplinarity through theory, history and practice.
Jackie Dunn: Suggested that this theme be extended to include how to teach feminism’s generative force within contemporary art, cultural and political theory and practice.
Robyn Backen and Jackie Dunn noted how feminism worked to open up spaces for possibility within the art school and within contemporary art in general. Liz and Jackie to lead/convene this panel.
Di Smith , Laura C, Catriona M to work with Elvis Richardson and Margaret Mayhew(?) to convene/lead 3rd panel on historical dimension of the current situation; fostering research into shifts from separatist women and art courses, early stats and actions to the present situation, including survey on current situation.
Kelly Doley wondered who our field day audience will be. It was generally thought that our audience is our community: writers, artists, students (esp SCA students, postgrads etc).
Catriona Moore suggested that beyond our art community, the number crunching research and general themes be more widely publicized as part of the feminist anti-Abbott ‘push-back’
JM noted that the small research money that we have will require some kind of research outcomes, for example published articles: the field day seen as a spark for article(s)/special issue journal on feminist pedagogy in art practice and history/theory
SUMMARY OF PRELIMINARY STRUCTURE/CONTENT FOR ‘FEMINIST PEDAGOGIES’ or ‘TEACHING TO TRANSGRESS’ (TO BORROW BELL HOOKS’ TERM)
1) BREAKING RESISTANCE: CASE STUDIES OF FEMINIST PEDAGOGIES IN ACTION: CJ/KD/JM/DK?
2) TRAILBLAZING INTERDISCIPLINARITY: RECLAIMING FEMINISM’S PEDAGOGICAL INNOVATIONS: LD/JD/AG
3) THE PAST NOW: FEMINIST HISTORIES AND THE CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM: DS/MM/CM/LC
(Still open to development and change; names down also open to negotiation, expansion etc: these steering committee members to lead the shaping of these sessions)
THESE SESSIONS TO BE STRUCTURED IN INNOVATIVE WAYS, EG PERFORMANCE, WORKSHOPS ETC, OVER THE COURSE OF ONE DAY, MOST LIKELY A SATURDAY IN LATE MARCH AT SCA ROZELLE CAMPUS: EG 21 OR 28 MARCH. WE WILL NEED TO DECIDE ON DATE BY EARLY JANUARY (BY EMAIL CIRCULATION). PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE UNAVAILABLE: IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO FEED IN YOUR IDEAS IN ANY EVENT.
POTENTIAL RESEARCH OUTCOMES: POSSIBLE TRADITIONAL OUTPUT IN HIGHER EDUCATION (eg Herdsa) OR FEMINIST JOURNAL (EG JHU FEMINIST FORMATIONS, THAT PUBLISHES ON FEM PEDAGOGY INTER ALIA) (ARTICLE); AS WELL AS POTENTIAL NTRO; ALSO POSSIBLE BEGINNING POINT FOR LARGER RESEARCH PROJECT ON FEMINIST PEDAGOGY IN THE ARTS IN AUSTRALIA
SECOND EVENT September/October conference/symposium and exhibition on feminist curatorial activism, working title ’Curating Feminism’
Kelly Doley/JM suggested panel discussion on the all-woman show, inter-generational curating, art as activist interventions. Bec Dean saw representational curating as ‘core business’ lacking in many contemporary art spaces (ref. Countess figures)
Jackie Dunn/JM observed that all-women shows needn’t be feminist, that all male shows might be feminist, and a spectrum of possibilities in-between (nb Laura Castagnini Honours thesis on male feminist artists)
Bec Dean proposed a panel from Countess shows and related research to give a historical perspective on feminist curatorial work. This should also stress feminism’s inter-sectional alliances and connections with other related politics.
Liz Day commented how the recent ‘21st century artist’ conference was alarmingly non-feminist in its historical memory – proposed an exhibition to harvest that ‘corporate’ feminist memory.
Anna Gibbs/JM agreed and suggested an inter-generational show along these lines, to pick up on the question of mentoring etc raised in the first conference/field day. Also that the exhibition have a historical element, as important for younger artists.
Jackie Dunn/JM suggested that this exhibition be an experimental curatorial lab, rather than the usual exhibition. Along the line of ‘models for democracy’ idea.
(nb history of WAM shows – would contextualize this open-ended, experimental curatorial practice?)
Some suggested speakers:
International: Maura Reilly, Rosa Martinez, Martha Rosler, Adrian Piper, Helena Reckitt, Connie Butler, Catherine de Zegher
National: Bec Dean, Laura Castagnini, Julie Ewington, Rebecca Coates (NGV), Hannah Matthews, Brenda Croft (other Indigenous curators?), Luke Parker, Kyla MacFarlane, Tara McDowell (Monash), Daniel M Cunningham, Deborah Edwards, Russell Storer, Luke Parker, Chris Dean, Nikos? from Monash
JM: Need for an open panel
Deborah Kelly: Need for panelists with differing opinions, positions and arguments.
Bec Dean suggested a first panel on Interdisciplinary feminist curatorial practice; ie feminist curatorial methodology inside and outside the gallery and museum. General agreement.
Jackie Dunn suggested a second panel on tokenism in the broadest sense (ie to include question on the all women show, the all male show, etc etc.
SF, AG and RB: That this panel also consider how artists negotiate the categorization that curatorial (and critical) work imposes on them, (eg ‘eco feminist artist’, queer-feminist’ etc) and its effects, both negative and positive.
Jo Holder suggested that this panel also consider ‘ tokenism’ as a broad category, and draw attention to lazy/poor curatorial work, eg ‘worst moments’ (Kaldor, MCA’s indigenous representation, ‘Mod Con’ show etc). Also we need to include discussion on other areas of feminist curatorial work that goes on in museums, archives, libraries, community (Liz’s work at Parramatta a good eg).
SUMMARY: PRELIMINARY PANEL IDEAS FOR CURATING FEMINISM
1) FEMINISM, INTERDISCIPLINARITY AND EXPANDED FRAMEWORKS FOR CURATING
2) TOKENISM: ALL WOMEN SHOWS, CURATORIAL BRANDING AND MONUMENTAL CLANGERS
3) THE FEMINIST LEGACY IN CURATING: CONTEMPORARY HISTORICAL CURRENTS
(The committee agreed this still open to question/addition/change depending on steering committee ideas.)
SUMMARY: PRELIMINARY IDEAS FOR EXHIBITION ‘CURATING FEMINISM’
A SERIES OF LABORATORY-STYLE WORKS RESPONDING TO KEY QUESTIONS/THEMES OF CONFERENCE: ARTISTS TBA, BUT IDEA WOULD BE THAT THEY COLLABORATE IN SOME WAY WITH KEY SPEAKERS
SUGGESTED RESEARCH OUTCOMES: SPECIAL ISSUE CURATING JOURNAL EG MOUSSE, Journal of curatorial studies ; ALTERNATIVE, SYDNEY UNIVERSITY PUBLISHING EDITED ANTHOLOGY
3rd Item: 2015 conference
Jo Holder mentioned the 3rd proposed conference for 2015, on historical-trans-generational practice. Relates to 1995 National women’s art exhibition, 1975 IWD etc. Need to move fast on call –outs. Need for a team to organize this. Jo to prepare a call out letter (?)
Jacqueline Millner suggested that these events/CAF intervene in AAANZ conferences in 2014/15. Suggested we start thinking about possible panels, papers, actions, also for the Journal (a proposed Feminism and the Arts Issue)
Deborah Kelly: Suggested that CAF activities from these events be packaged (or developed) on easy accessible platforms. She cited the Deluxe Media resource packages on media art. Kaldor might also be (ironically?) a good source to tap into here?
Meeting closed approx 7pm
DECIDING ON FINAL SESSIONS AND PARTICIPANTS FOR BOTH EVENTS: IDEALLY OUR NEXT STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING SHOULD SETTLE ON MARCH EVENT BY LATE JAN. SUGGEST WE MEET AROUND 30 OR 31 JAN? SCA IS OPEN AS VENUE. WILL SEND OUT INVITE IN NEW YEAR.
Also: note this call for papers: very timely!
The Journal of Curatorial Studies invites submissions for its special issue
CURATING AND THE AFFECTIVE TURN
Edited by Jennifer Fisher and Helena Reckitt
Journal of Curatorial Studies seeks original research articles for a special thematic issue on how the affective turn has influenced curating and exhibitions.
From immersive installations to phantasmagoric projections, intimate performance to site-based biennials and civic events, contemporary curating increasingly operates within the realms of affect. Curators configure atmospheres in a number of ways – to situate artworks, attract audiences and mediate social bonds. Curatorial labour also extends to mobilizing personal networks, where generating emotional climates produces forms of symbolic capital essential to underwriting curatorial production in often under-funded and precarious conditions.
Stemming from recent theorizations of the affective turn, this special issue will ask: What are the affective conditions of the curatorial? How is affect transmitted in exhibitions and curatorial projects? Beyond an exhibition’s representative and discursive significance, what are its affective registers? What energies feed the curatorial process? And, by extension, how does the tone of social networks pertain to the affective labour of curating?
Where museums, galleries, art world events, and artworks themselves function as contact zones where affect is transmitted, this special issue invites submissions that inquire into how curatorial affect shapes relations between feelings, intuitions, artworks, spaces, audiences, social networks, politics, ethics, and sensibilities. A range of contributions is sought, from exhibition case studies, curatorial memoires and auto-ethnographies, to speculations into the ethics of curatorial conduct governing the transmission of affect.
Potential Topics can include:
– Affect theory as a mode of analysis for curatorial and exhibition studies
– What feeling states govern the culture of current curatorial conditions (such as being affected, disaffected or unaffected)?
– How might relational forms (such as social conviviality, love of art, or mutually respectful agonistic struggle) be considered as affective registers? How might other affects pertain in recent curatorial practice?
– How do exhibitions configure affect as mood, atmosphere and intensity? How might such articulations produce new communities of feeling and sensibility?
– The politics of affect in relation to curatorial attitude, habits, self-formation and style subcultures
February 1, 2014, abstracts due (250 words)
September 1, 2014 manuscripts due (5-6000 words)
Publication in issue (4)3 Fall 2015
Please send submissions and correspondence to:
Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Curatorial Studies
York University, Toronto
Senior Lecturer in Curating
Art Department, Goldsmiths, University of London
The Journal of Curatorial Studies is an international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the increasing relevance of curating and its impact on exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture. Inviting perspectives from visual studies, art history, museum studies, critical theory, cultural studies and other academic fields, the journal encompasses a diversity of disciplinary approaches on curating and exhibitions broadly defined. By catalyzing debate and serving as a venue for the emerging discipline of curatorial studies, this journal encourages the development of the theory, practice and history of curating, as well as the analysis of exhibitions and display culture in general.
While curating as a spatialized discourse of art objects remains important, in the current era organizing an exhibition involves increasingly complex critical practices and self-reflexive methodologies. The journal promotes a wide-ranging inquiry into what constitutes “the curatorial.” This expanded cultural function of curating generates not only exhibitions for audiences to view, but also queries the nature of aesthetic experience, the authority of institutions, the formation of ideology, and the construction of knowledge. Topics of study will include investigations of current and historical exhibitions, display formats in the art context and cultures at large, curators and their oeuvres, and the political and theoretical issues influencing the production of exhibitions. The target readership of the Journal of Curatorial Studies includes scholars in curatorial studies, art history and museum studies, along with gallery and museum professionals, independent curators and art critics, and cultural theorists interested in art and display. For more information about the Journal of Curatorial Studies, please visit: