Tag Archives: Mo Throp

Stories That Matter: Feminist Methodologies in the Archive

This symposium at the ICA on 22 November at 2pm explores whether feminist methodologies make a difference to the kinds of stories that can be told using archives in the expanded sense, i.e. actual archives, virtual archives and/or other concrete sites of encounter which generate historiographical work.

In this work, a tension has often existed between the desire to establish feminist epistemologies and at the same time to attend to feminist ontologies – in other words between knowledge and experience. This is nowhere more so than in the archive which has traditionally been considered as a repository of the past that affords a ‘true’construction of it. However, this traditional idea has also been the basis from which women have been occluded from history. Added to this, it also maintains the subjectivity of the researcher/historiographer as neutral thereby hiding the ideological assumptions that underlie this kind of work.

The symposium follows feminist interrogation of these assumptions by adopting Donna Haraway’s methodological approach to research as ‘situated knowledge’. Leading practitioners of feminist historiography from both art history, Prof. Griselda Pollock, and the social sciences, Prof. Clare Hemmings and Prof. Maria Tamboukou, will present how their particular feminist methodologies have made a difference to their mutually respective sites of ‘archival’ encounter. Essential to the convening of this symposium has been Pollock’s concept of the virtual feminist museum as a ‘becoming futurity’, Hemmings’s emphasis on citational practices and textual affect, Tamboukou’s concept of archival research as intra-actions between phenomena. The speakers ask what differences these new affordances allow for accounting for the past or reactivating its memory in the present? How do feminist pasts engage future readers? An unlikely feminist, Guy Debord, in his infamous Society of the Spectacle posits the question: what would a living archive be as opposed to the archive as the custodian of the dead time of history which merely administers it rather than makes it available for use? Do feminist methodologies in the archive (as museum, publication, or documented record) provide methods for resisting the administration of history? How might we ‘break open’ the archive to listen to and disseminate its contradictory voices so that they may resonate with the present thereby making it available for use for contemporary generations of feminists, men and women?

The full programme and link to book tickets can be found on the ICA website.

This symposium marks the publication of the anthology Twenty Years of MAKE Magazine: Back to the Future of Women’s Art edited by Maria Walsh (Senior Lecturer in Art History and Theory, Chelsea) and Mo Throp (Associate Researcher, CCW), published by I.B. Tauris, which will be launched at the end of the day. The symposium will also include a presentation by Walsh and Throp on their research and it will be chaired by Dr. Catherine Grant, whose work on queer re-enactment addresses the retelling of the past for future generations. The symposium is funded by The CCW Graduate School Staff Fund.


Action Space Inflatable

On 14 and 15 October CCW Graduate School and Chelsea College of Arts will be hosting Action Space Inflatable. The inflatable is a re-versioning of pneumatic structures built by Action Space in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Over two days members from Action Space, Inter-Action and Artist Placement Group (APG) among others, will explore the relevance of community arts programmes of the ‘70s and ‘80s to contemporary artistic practices. Through workshops, performance, a walking tour, film screenings and discussion, this event will open up questions about art as a democratic tool, educational medium and instigator of social change. The Action Space Inflatable structure has been specially commissioned as part of an experimental film project by filmmaker, Huw Wahl. This two-day event marks the first stage of the UK tour of the inflatable and is presented by CCW Graduate School as part of Chelsea College of Arts’ celebration of ten years of creative activity at Millbank.

On Wednesday 14 October, founding member of Action Space, Ken Turner, will deliver a performative lecture; CCW Research Fellow Mo Throp invites you to participate in the Inter-Action Trust Games Method session, as well as a programme of archival footage from Action Space, Inter-Action Trust and Artist Placement Group (APG) projects will be screened inside the inflatable. The day will close with a panel discussion on Socially engaged practices of the 1970s and their relevance today, chaired by Marsha Bradfield and including Joshua Y’Barbo, James Lander, Barbara Steveni, Mo Throp and Ken Turner.

On Thursday 15 October artist Barbara Steveni, of APG, and Jo Melvin invite you on their Walking Tour from Manresa Road  – site of the original Chelsea School of Art – towards the current Millbank venue. The day concludes with a conversation between Barbara and Brian Chalkley focusing on APG’s ‘Not Knowing’ in relation to Chalkley’s pedagogical methods for teaching on the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts. The conversation will be facilitated by Jo Melvin.

Mo Throp spent five years in the 1970’s as a live-work member of Inter-Action, a community arts organisation which became one of the UK’s best known and most influential cultural and social enterprises. Its projects included the Almost Free Theatre in the West End (notable seasons and events included London’s first Black Power, Gay and Women’s theatre seasons), the Dogg’s Troupe – a street theatre group, the Fun Art Bus, the Media Van, a city farm, a publishing unit and one of London’s first Free Schools. ‘My time with this organisation has certainly influenced my pedagogical approach as a teacher of Fine Art students and my relation to art practice and my work with the Subjectivity & Feminisms Research group at Chelsea.

Recently, I came into contact with Huw Wahl who has been researching another such organisation from this period: Action Space. He has re-built a prototype of one of their huge inflatables and proposed to bring it to Chelsea, inviting us to organise a programme of events around the Community Arts movement of the late 1960s. This is therefore a great opportunity to ask how such projects resonate now in relation to the social turn in contemporary practice. Our programme of events addresses the current resurgence of interest in socially engaged artistic practices and hopes to address the challenge to conventional modes of artistic production and consumption under late capitalism.’