Event: (Re-)Imagining the Family – Reading Groups, 7 November and 8 November 2019, Palazzo Mora, Venice (IT).

[Re-]Imagining the Family: Forms, Values, Planning and Alternatives.

In response to the Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book (see details below), which is currently part of a display at the exhibition “Personal Structures – Identities” at Palazzo Mora in Venice, we will organise two reading group sessions. The meetings will create space for a public discussion of issues relating to family, family-related values, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Events such as the World Congress of Families conference that took place in Verona in March 2019, and the ongoing battle for access to safe and dignified family planning services in Italy and beyond, draw attention to ongoing questions of how the idea of the family – what it looks like, who gets to have one and when, and what types of family are legitimate – relate to contemporary political struggles. In light of such issues, both reading groups will seek to explore the concept of family today and how family values are being used as political leverage.

Over two days, we will meet at the Palazzo Mora (European Cultural Centre, Palazzo Mora, Strada Nuova #3659, 30121 Venice, Italy) to read, confer and reflect. The texts that will be examined closely together will be made available before the event, but there is no pressure to read anything beforehand. We will both read and discuss together on the day, and copies of the text will be made available. We will explore family ideals, values and gender/sexual politics through the following themes:

– Thursday 7th November, 15.00-18.00 – The role of the traditional family and declining birth rates in contemporary politics
(Facebook event page)
We will read and discuss:
* bell hooks, “Revolutionary Parenting”, Chapter 10 from her “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center”, Boston, MA: South End Press 1984,  p. 133-146.
Download pdf: bell hooks – Revolutionary Parenting [Feminist Theory-From Margin to Center]
* Jennifer Guerra, “L’ istinto materno non esiste: Non volere figli non è egoista” from The Vision, 17 March 2018.
Download pdf: Jennifer Guerra – L’istinto materno non esiste-Non volere figli non è egoista [The Vision]
* [Anon.], “The Observer View on Immigration Being the Answer to Falling Birth Rates: Observer Editorial”, from The Guardian, 4 August 2019.
Download pdf: The Observer view on immigration being the answer to falling birth rates – Observer Editorial

– Friday 8th November, 15.00-18.00 – Abortion as part of family planning: access and societal stigma
(Facebook event page)
We will read and discuss:
* Holly Pester, “Comic Timing”, from Granta #144, 7 November 2018.
Download pdf: Holly Pester – Comic Timing
* Kara Fox and Valentina Di Donati, ” Abortion is a Right in Italy. For Many Women, Getting One is Nearly Impossible”, from CNN, May 2019.
Download pdf: Abortion is a right in Italy – For many women, getting one is nearly impossible [CNN]


The readings will not be overtly academic and theoretical: we will interrogate items from the news and creative writings, for example. No prior knowledge is required and the texts well be accessible at the events. The writings as well as the discussions will be both in English and Italian. All perspectives and backgrounds are welcome, and we hope to generate a debate that is intergenerational, respectful of difference and informed by the experiences of various cultural contexts. Participants are welcome to attend one or both sessions.

An audio-recording of the event will be made as a documentation for the Re-Imagining Citizenship Living Archive, but just let us know if you do not want to be a part of this.

Re-imagining Citizenship is an ongoing, collaborative project initiated by the Politicized Practice/Anarchism/Theatre Activism research groups based at Loughborough University, UK (https://pparg.net/). We are looking for collective redefinitions of citizenship that are not prescribed or closed down by the language of the media, but rather opened up by artistic methods.

The Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book/Re-imagining Citizenship Living Archive forms part of this ongoing dialogue around themes related to art and political activism. Since 2014, artists, researchers and associates of the three research groups have organised exhibitions, installations, performances and participatory events to explore the potential for art practices to re-imagine citizenship. These culminated in a series of activities during in March 2019, including the production of the Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book which has thirty different contributions, inviting readers to respond creatively to sets of instructions (using text, images, video or audio) and to upload them to the Living Archive on http://re-imagining.org/.

The reading groups are initiated and facilitated by Sophia Kier-Byfield (PhD researcher, Loughborough University), Tom Nys (PhD researcher, Loughborough University), and Altea Solari (medical student, University of Bologna).

The texts that will be read during the two sessions will be made available on this page during the coming days. For more info please mail to: t.nys@lboro.ac.uk.

Event: Feminist Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, 14 March, 21 March and 28 March 2019, Pilkington Library, Loughborough University (UK).


Together with my friends Sophia Kier-Byfield and Mikaela Assolent, and as a member of the Centre for Doctoral Training: Feminism, Sexual Politics, and Visual Culture at Loughborough University, I am setting up a Feminist Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in the Pilkington Library of the university, located in the idyllic Loughborough in the Eastern British Midlands. The event has three parts: on 14, 21 and 28 March, and is open to anyone (registration is required for 14 and 21 March, 28 March will be a drop-in session). It is designed to improve articles about (local) cis and trans women as well as on non-binary people who are underrepresented on Wikipedia.

The edit-a-thon will include tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, ongoing editing support and reference materials. Participants will also update Wikipedia entries collaboratively. People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to participate.

In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as women. This lack of inclusive participation has led to an alarming gap of content in the world’s most popular online research tool. Some key articles about women are missing, the content about them often demonstrates a sexist bias and gender identities (especially concerning transgender people) are inaccurately stated.

This event is part of the international Art+Feminism campaign to improve content on cis and trans women on Wikipedia, and to encourage women to participate on the online encyclopedia. Since 2014, Art+Feminism edit-a-thons have taken place across the world, creating and improving over 11,000 articles.

Other Art+Feminism events have taken place at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; Yale University, New Haven; McGill University, Montreal; Archives Nationales, Paris; and many more.

In preparation of the edit-a-thon that will take place 28 March between 1pm and 5pm, two sessions in smaller groups (10-12 persons) will be organised on 14 March from 6pm to 9pm and on 21 March from 2pm to 4pm. Participants are invited to reflect on their own relationship to the production of knowledge. Researchers and students will question how the tools that are available to them (Pilkington Library’s collection, and online content such as Wikipedia) are biased and how they can inadvertently reproduce bias or on the contrary disrupt it.  

Feminism, Sexual Politics, and Visual Culture CDT
The Centre for Doctoral Training: Feminism, Sexual Politics, and Visual Culture was established in 2018. The main catalyst for it is the deepening and rapidly changing global complexity of the relationship between feminist praxis and culture, particularly in politics, arts, and academia. The recent tsunamis of feminist activism, from sport to science, government to entertainment, are the most public evidence of this new complexity.
The CDT is radically integrative, in many ways:

  • we aim for an inclusive, intersectional definition and practice of feminism;
  • ‘visual culture’ or ‘arts’ to us is inclusive of all practices where visuality is significant, including performative and written modes;
  • we have a trans-disciplinary staff team, with expertise including Fine Art, Graphics, English Literature, Drama, Art History, Art Criticism, Politics, and Sociology;
  • the research that is undertaken will have immediate implications for areas such as social policy, pedagogies, and cultural industries as well as feminist thinking and the arts.

Facebook event page: here.