What IS She Wearing?
Thursday 3rd March 2016, Manchester Art Gallery
To launch the Wonder Women programme of events and to celebrate International Women’s Day in Manchester, on thursday 3rd March we curated What IS She Wearing? at Manchester Art Gallery. What IS She Wearing brought together some of the most interesting and inspiring independent female artists and creatives for an evening of intersectional feminist art, film, intervention and debate. Through the work itself, the artists and interventions on the night, we explored how women have long used style to speak volumes, to define and own gender, sexulaity and identity on their own terms, considering the liberation & liability can come from expressions of identity.
We explored how women have long used style to speak volumes, to define and own gender, sexulaity and identity on their own terms
From the conversations we had on the evening, with the artists, with makers and creatives, with audiences, familiar faces and those brand new to the gallery, speaking with the charity Oxfam, who were part of the evening, and to Manchester Art Gallery staff who had worked with us on the project, it seemed that the evening raised a lot of interesting questions, started a lot of inspiring conversations and really got people thinking. There was a lot of appreciation for the variety of creativity involved, from sculptural standalone work, to interactive activism, to some deeply funny, entertaining, nostalgic, unsettling and moving performances.
The feedback we have received following the evening has been really fantastic and has given us a lot to think about in terms of where we direct ourselves and the work we do in the future. It is clear that there is a huge audience for such thought provoking and independent work outside of the general art world, and we are keen to keep developing and curating contexts to explore this and connect such inspiring work with wider and interested audiences. We feel in this context, using the word ’emerging’ feels inaccurate as so many of these artists and creatives are not emerging, but independent; not signed to agents or galleries, or working to the criteria of any institute, but contributing massively and prolifically to the general arts infrastructure in a way that is often completely unfunded and unsupported, yet highly influential towards contemporary arts as it exists today.
Independent artists contributing massively and prolifically to the general arts infrastructure in a way that is often completely unfunded and unsupported
For Instigate Arts, it is always about instigating positive, progressive social change through arts production and participation, and the work that everyone involved with What IS She Wearing? created, delivered, presented and shared did exactly that. The conversations that develop from this are powerful, and we very much look forward to more.
The pamphlet produced especially for the event which includes exclusive materiel created by all artists involved is available to buy for £5. Please email us for a copy firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of artists involved: Charlie Craggs, [DWAN] Digital Women’s Archive North, Saffa Khan, Fiona Ledgard, Naomi M, Helen Mather, Emily Pitts, Jennifer Reid, Rosanne Robertson, Layla Sailor, Stirred Poetry, Harriet Williamson, Louise Woodcock
We are very proud that Instigate Arts officially support Rosanne Robertson’s project ‘Too Much’, of which ‘Apendage & Bond was exhibited and performed at What IS She Wearing. You can find out more about the piece here, and about Rosanne’s full project and the forthcoming open studio here.
You can see Trish Dee’s full performance here. Actual performance begins around 10.00.
You can listen to Anne Louise Kershaw’s full Drone piece here:
We were proud to work with Wonder Women to launch their programme of events which gets bigger and bigger each year. The festival promotes and highlights what a HUGE volume of innovative, progressive and truly inspiring female produced creativity Manchester has to offer, and we very much look forward to developing this.
Some gathered feedback from social media #IWDWhatISSheWearing can be seen at Storify.