It's official! I'm up on the TEDxSWPS website...it's starting to feel scarily real. See me and information about other speakers here.
For the next two weeks I'll be working on the Patchwork Stories project. I'm so excited to find out what this project can become!
When people decided to take a tag they had to sign the agreement above. I also asked for an email address - I will be emailing people over the next few days to check up on their progress with the agreement - and any comments they had. I am so pleased with the response I got!
For me, the comment that got to me the most is this one 'As someone who struggles with hearing, this really hit home. Beautiful.' this comment makes me believe that my work will really affect the visually impaired people it finds, making sure they know that I care.
That means everything to me.
I made the decision to give away all of my work at the pop-up exhibition. I decided to do it because I made thr tags as a reaction to the exclusionary nature of the art world (as I see it) and I wanted to make a piece of art that would speak to a section of the community who don't ordinarily get to see art. I chose the visually impaired community since they are, for obvious reasons the most excluded from visual art. I wanted to make something that would be visually interesting, but could only be understood by those who couldn't see it. I felt that by keeping my work in a gallery setting I couldn't achieve this aim. I decided to set my work free - sending it out into the world so that it could be shared with the people who could read it and would understand that someone wanted to make art that could be enjoyed by everyone.
I'm glad I did. Now that it's out there I really feel like my work now has a chance to do something - to make someone think about the message I am trying to put out there. However. While the exhibition was going on I did feel very weird about the fact that my work was disappearing. It was little things; my boyfriend and some of my friends hardly got to see my work because it was mostly gone before they could get there. I didn't have control over who took the work and there were some people who I didn't feel were taking it seriously. And my space quickly started to look very messy and bare. But really...those are silly, unimportant things. Friends and family saw some work and understood the reasons for my work being gone. Even if someone took my work for the wrong reasons maybe they will look at it in a months time and be reminded and feel different. I don't want to take myself too seriously as an artist, so it's probably good for me to have a gallery space that is messy. That my work went so quickly is a massive compliment!
So on the whole, despite my feeling weird that now I have nothing left I am so glad I made that decision. If I had kept the tags they could never achieve their purpose.
I had such a great time on Thursday night! It was really fun to have a look around and see what everyone from the first year at Manchester School of Art has been up to. This year has been without doubt the best year of my life - the course has been a huge part of that.
Throughout the exhibition I allowed people to take away a tag, so that by the end of the night I was left with nothing. Everyone who took a tag signed the agreement, although several didn't leave an email address, I also recieved some great comments which I will post later on.
I am going to email the people who left their addresses some time in the next week - I really hope that at least a few people will manage to share their tag.
I was so inspired by unit X and this project. I really enjoyed using braille and feel like by giving away my work I have actually done something that will make a difference in someones life, even if just for a moment. This project is definitely something I want to carry on with over the summer and into next year...I have lots of ideas!
I managed to get my piece of writing This is... written up in Braille before the pop up exhibition. I am so glad that I did! I love using my braille writer and can't wait to do some more writing.
Here is a preview of my pop up exhibition, featuring the piece of writing...
Pop-Up exhibition of work by first year students from Manchester School of Art.
Open from 2pm to 9pm, with bar and food stalls opening at 6pm.
Part of the Manchester Creative Festival. After hours, after dark.
Next week I am going to be back in Devon working on a project called Patchwork Stories. I am so excited to get started! I am the designer and blogger for the project. Click here to find out more about what we will be up to...
Last week I watched the documentary 'Blurred Lines; the new Battle of the Sexes' by Kristen Wark, it gave me a lot to think about. This is me, trying to make sense of my thoughts. Part of my practice is thinking about things, as I said in my manifesto, I am inspired primarily 'by feminism, human rights, the representation of disability in the art world and my life (because that's unavoidable.)' I want to change the world! Part of how I am going to do that is through conversation, talking about an issue that is important to me as is trying to engage just one person, who might engage another person. This post is a part of that conversation...
This is some of my thoughts on a topic that has always been important to me, but that recently I have started to think about more frequently and deeply. The word 'Feminist' has always been a part of my vocabulary, my Mum was a very strong feminist in the 1980s and her strength, her beliefs and her stories are a part of my childhood. But it is only more recently that I have started to think about what I believe, and what feminism means for me personally.
The documentary is extremely important. It explores sexism in our current world and looks at whether the internet is helping sexism - and more worryingly misogyny - to grow.
Feminist has become a 'dirty' word, something that many people don't want to be assocciated with. I have a friend who told me a the story of how, when asked in a sociology lecture to raise your hand if you were a feminist, she was the only person to put up her hand. When the lecturer went on to ask who believed that men and women were equal almost everyone in the room put up their hand. In 2012, Katy Perry said in an interview 'I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.' These two examples show how uneducated people are about what it means to be a feminist, the Lecturer in my friends class hopefully went on to explain that by saying they believed men and women to be equal did in fact make them feminists and many students would have left that room enlightened. However for someone in such a public possition as Katy Perry to be saying something like that? It is so damaging to young women. To hear that it's not ok to be a feminist? We need to re-brand feminism, make it new and exciting and help people realise it's importance. It is important that men identify themselves as feminists too. Sexism isn't a female problem, it's a societal and cultural problem and all people will be better off the closer we get to erradicating it from our world.
It is vital that men are openly feminists too. Sexism isn't a female problem, it's a societal and cultural problem. It's something that women deal with everyday, yes, but we are teaching our sons that it is ok to treat women like this and we are teaching our daughters that they should accept it. It's very easy to see a moment of blatant sexism and immediately blame the indivudals demonstrating this behaviour and say 'oh, they are bad people'. I don't think that's true though, I believe strongly that most men are good people (just like most people are good, and there are a few crazy ones) and most men do resoect women - their mothers, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, wives, daughters. But society is telling men that it is ok to treat strangers and women as a whole like they are lesser. Society is also telling women that they have to accept this. WE DON"T!
This is just a tiny fraction of what I wrote. I am finding it very hard to get my thoughts out properly and make sense of what I am feeling. The issue of feminism makes me very angry, as it does for a lot of women. But I don't want to be angry, I want to think rationally about this and only post when I am sure of what I am saying...so this is just the start of the conversation.
Conversation, reading and his documentary and others like it are so important. Education is empowering.
If you want to see what I've been inspired by recently read 50 Shades of Feminism or Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here by Karima Bennoune. Watch this ted Talk or this one by Chimamanda Adichie. And watch Blurred Lines. No matter where you stand on feminism I think you'll get something from it.
So...I am most definitely a feminist. Are you?