An interactive outdoor art exhibition at Goldsmiths, University of London explores how creative practices can challenge inequalities, and help make and maintain cultures of gender equality around the globe.
Curated by Goldsmiths researcher Dr Siobhán McGuirk, the interactive and multi-sensorial exhibition, Dis/locating Cultures of Equality, marks the close of Global Gender and Cultures of Equality (GlobalGRACE), a four-year research and capacity-strengthening project based at Goldsmiths and six research sites in Mexico, Brazil, the UK, South Africa, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
With poetry, photography, fly posts, sculpture and more, all elements of the campus exhibition at Goldsmiths are displayed in ways that allow them to be viewed from or engaged with outdoors.
Not only does this staging allow the event to be ‘Covid-secure’, but curatorially it reflects how far the GlobalGRACE project has been shaped by the global coronavirus pandemic.
This framing is accentuated by the use in the exhibition of QR codes, floor stickers, spacious outdoor locations and mobile technologies which have shaped environments and activities in the UK during the past 18 months.
Each installation is accompanied by a soundscape which can be accessed via the Echoes app on visitors’ mobile phones. Audio clips play based on location, allowing visitors’ explorations to be guided by dis/located sound.
Exhibition curator Dr Siobhán McGuirk is a GlobalGRACE postdoctoral researcher, based in the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths. She said: “The installations and soundscapes of Dis/locating Cultures of Equality are designed for interactive engagement. Situated on a university campus but presented outside of its walls, they challenge the boundaries, form, and political implications of traditional ‘scholarly’ work – making powerful research-based art more widely accessible and available.”
Dr Suzanne Clisby, co-director of GlobalGRACE and Professor of Gender Studies at Coventry University, said: “Through this exhibition, we hope visitors get a sense of the amazing collaboration GlobalGRACE has created between academics and practitioners working with diverse communities in Bangladesh, Brazil, the Philippines, Mexico, the UK and South Africa.”
Speaking from Cape Town, Dr Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki, GlobalGRACE South Africa postdoctoral researcher, further explained: “The exhibition disrupts conventional modes of exhibiting and really centres the narratives of our projects’ participants as co-creators of knowledge.”
Aldo Ledón Pereyra, director of Voces Mesoamericanas, Acción con Pueblos Migrantes and member of the GlobalGRACE Mexico team, said: “Undoubtedly, GlobalGRACE has allowed us to connect across linguistic differences to recognise the similarity of our struggles. The [creative] processes linking us together were vital to understanding the realities of discrimination, violence, classism and colonialiam that have shaped daily life across our varying regional contexts. We can now share a little bit of this work at the Goldsmiths exhibition, also bringing the general public in greater contact with these [moments of] resistance.”
GlobalGRACE takes equality as a cultural artefact that is differently forged and contested worldwide. At each project’s site, researchers have collaborated with local organisations, participant communities, artists and activists to investigate how cultures of equality are crafted and sustained.
The project has approached people’s creative practices as having the potential to challenge intersecting inequalities and to engender more equitable ways of living together.
GlobalGRACE was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
Dis/locating Cultures of Equality runs from 20 September – 22 October 2021. Installations are located on a wheelchair-accessible route around the centre of the Goldsmiths campus.