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Stuart Hall Library Research Network: Duties of Self-Care

29 Mar 2018-01 Apr 2019

In a society dominated by capital, we are used to measuring our health in relation to our productivity. What strategies can artists and activists use to oppose this?

Ada Xiaoyu Hao, Mask of Sanity, Film, 2018 (in-progress)

This year’s Research Network, selected through open call, will revolve around how artists attend to self-care in an economic climate of austerity and instability. It will address tactics for reclaiming control and responsibility as a way of rejecting institutional exploitation, when financial, mental and physical precarity is the accepted state of being for artists. This public programme will alternate between artist-led presentations and open reading groups, where attendees can begin to develop/explore the possibilities of structures for support and self-care.

Iniva Public Programme

at the Stuart Hall Library, Rivington Place

March 29 2018

Artist Ada Xiaoyu Hao presents The Mask of Sanity, with curator Annie Jael Kwan as respondent.

This performance lecture will explore the self-care mechanism developed by the artist after migrating to the UK. Hao will investigate the impact of language barriers upon the body and how their restrictions play out in the form of bodily trauma.


May 31 2018

Research collective Fresh New Anxieties present their long-term project, Luxury.

This conversation will explore self-care in relation to chronic health conditions, disability and neurodiversity in the face of austerity and accompanying micro-aggressions.


July 2018

Artist and writer Sophie Hoyle will address artist’s mental health and the community’s access to support in the face of austerity. This event will explore the necessity for networks of support and healing for the survival of marginalised groups when dealing with physical and mental exhaustion.


September 27 2018

Curator and writer Maria Walsh presents The Difference that Difference makes to Therapeutic Discourse in Artists’ Moving Image, with artists Rehana Zaman and Oreet Ashery.

This talk will explore the themes within Walsh’s new research project, Therapeutic Aesthetics: The Performative in Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image, through a screening of Rehana Zaman’s Sharla Shabana Sojourner Selena (2016) and Oreet Ashery’s Revisiting Genesis (2016).


November 29 2018

Performance company There There (Dana Olărescu and Bojana Jancović ) present their practice through the prism of immigrant identities, and artist Alicja Rogalska shares her recent research, projects and experiences of self-organisation practices.

The panel discussion will look at facets of identity and will investigate if the self-care of such practices is annulled by institutional frameworks – which push ‘diversity’ classifications, create competition between ‘minority’ artists and establish hierarchies of marginalisation through curating. How can artists create practice-driven communities of self-care?


January 31 2019

Artists Anna Walker and Seecum Cheung will present their research around the cultural space of trauma.


March 28 2019

Artist Helen Benigson will present her project Tongue-Tie.

The performative lecture will explore economies of mothers, bodies and pain, online and in real life with particular reference to breastfeeding trauma, tongue-tie, public breastfeeding and mastitis. It will traverse between a medical, maternal body and that of the sexualised, productive body in relation to the Internet and how breastfeeding is performed in contemporary space.


Duties of Self-Care Reading Group

April, June, October, December 2018 and February 2019.

The Stuart Hall Library is hosting a new Research Network Reading Group beginning Thursday 19th April and meeting monthly usually on the third Thursday of each month 6.30 – 8:30pm. We want you to get involved.

The Duties of Self-Care Reading Group is an opportunity to find out more about our unique library collections to and to take part in a series of discussions that expand on themes discussed in the Research Network. The selected cultural texts will look at physical, emotional and mental well-being through the lens of race, class, gender and other intersectional thought, in order to develop critical discussion around art, activism and self-care.

Texts will be handed out to attendees and no pre-reading is required. The Reading Group is free and open to all – we welcome all participants to join.

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