FEMMES and THEMS
An online exhibition in conjunction with the FEMMES and THEMS symposium organised by Dr Alison Bennett and supported by CAST Contemporary Art and Social Transformation, a research group based in the School of Art at RMIT University.
The exhibition is hosted on the STYLY platform that can be accessed via a web browser, VR HDM, or as AR via the STYLY phone app.
‘Join us investigating feminist and queer creative practices at RMIT School of Art for the Femmes and Thems Symposium to be held Wednesday 6 October 2021. The program features students, artists and academics investigating themes and methodologies relevant to feminist and/or queer creative practice discussing their work-in-progress and resolved artwork. The aim of the symposium is to make ourselves visible to each other, to build community and discourse.
The symposium will feature a keynote presentation by the brilliant artist, filmmaker, and writer Zach Blas, Assistant Professor of Visual Studies in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. “Blas’ work exemplifies the rigorous integration of material practice with theoretical investigation. His fierce engagement with the conceptual implications of creative practice is inspiring” says Dr Alison Bennett, theme leader of the CAST Queer(y)ing Creative Practice research project. “We are delighted that he has agreed to join us for this symposium.
Special guest Dr Margaret Mayhew (aka Mayhem) will introduce us to the fabulous work of ‘Queers Draw This’, a drawing group that emerged out of the 2020 Melbourne lockdowns. Queers Draw This “believe that drawing is fundamentally about connection: it is a space where we can pause and play with our sensations and experiences of being in a world that is often very hostile to queers. Drawing provides a safe space for queer bodies, and allows a space for secrets to be held or shared.” The group has grown to represent a fabulous and innovative response to the loss of community connection wrought by the pandemic.
RMIT University School of Art fosters a community of practice around feminist and queer creative practices, formally expressed through the FQCP Higher Degree Research project, and projects sponsored by Contemporary Art and Social Transformation, a research group based in the School of Art.
As stated in the School of Art Research Project description,
Feminist and queer creative practices are interrelated yet separate spheres of investigation with intersecting and diverging domains and positions. Feminist and queer creative practices share an interest in the construction of cultural paradigms, driven by an intersectional approach to social justice and embodied lived experience.
Feminist creative practice revisits and reclaims under-represented narratives, voices and practices that have historically defined and marginalized the feminine. Often operating in tandem with broader fields of social and environmental justice, feminist creative practice encompasses a broad spectrum of theories and approaches, from radical political defiance and subversive femininity to re-evaluations of the domestic sphere and ‘women’s work’.
Queerness is a slippery field that resists definition. More than an alternative term for homosexuality, queer liminality enables shifting coalitions of political and cultural positions. Creative strategies may critique, defy and ignore arbitrary normativity. Queer cultural practices have been deployed to interrogate the cultural construction of gender, race and disability.
In the 21st century, feminist and queer cultural practices are turning increasing towards new materialism, posthumanism and social practice to interrogate the agency of things and the culturally constituted hierarchies of objects and subjects. This area of focus is driven by a focus on the process of making as the method of research to generate reparative actions by gently holding together intersecting alliances of practice, ideology, politics and lived experience. We advocate praxis as a method for generating new knowledge.
Join us for a day of making kin!‘