This research forum, which was founded in 2019 by Dr Lina Dzuverovic, is aimed at those at Birkbeck and beyond, who are interested in decolonization and narratives that challenge the Western canon and established masculinist power structures. The group meets regularly and aims to explore relevant texts, images, exhibitions and/or issues that question hegemonic modes of curatorial and institutional practice.
We meet and read together, share knowledge, research, projects, texts as well as information about recent and forthcoming events. We may share work-in-progress, organise screenings, present past projects and, perhaps, work towards future joint initiatives. The sessions will be further determined by the group and together we will decide on the preferred format. No reading is necessary in advance of sessions. For further information about the forum or to be added to the BIRMAC mailing list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The forum working group comprises: Dr Rebekah Cupitt, Dr Lina Dzuverovic, Dr Sophie Hope and Dr Mara Polgorovsky Ezcurra. Logo design by Vanessa De Michelis.
Forthcoming events, starting in the Autumn Term 2022/23, will be posted here and shared via our mailing list.
5pm, 28 October 2022, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, room TBC
Decolonial Feminist Forum – Black Feminist Interventions – POSTPONED
Conversation initiated by Kat Black
In this session we will return to our earlier format in which we discuss existing panel discussions, making the most of content that became available during the pandemic as many talks were held online. We will discuss the recorded conversation “Black Feminist Interventions: Hazel V. Carby and Katherine McKittrick in Conversation“, 22 Oct, 2021, hosted by the independent feminist bookshop Charis Books and More. During this conversation both writers read from their works—Hazel V. Carby’s Imperial Intimacies (2019), and Katherine McKittrick’s Dear Science and Other Stories (2020) respectively—discussing their interest in and connections to each other’s publications, as well as their writing and work beyond.
Both books address ideologies and interdependencies of empire and colonialism—questioning the relationships between narrative storytelling and mainstream historical accounts. In Carby’s Imperial Intimacies this is formed by addressing the imperial connections between the UK and Jamaica, woven through with her own family stories, and in McKittrick’s Dear Science she does so through writing on multiple lineages of anticolonial methodologies in relation to myriad cultural texts, positioning stories and storytelling as forms of interruption and intervention.
5 – 6.30 pm, 30 September 2022, Online
Decolonial Feminist Forum – Let’s talk about Documenta 15
As Documenta 15 draws to a close, possibly to be remembered as the controversial iteration of this significant exhibition, we invite you to discuss the actual content of the exhibition (as opposed to its problems or omissions which dominated its coverage), its curatorial approach and the radical departure from the traditional exhibition format, introduced by ruangrupa’s curatorship. In this first iteration of Documenta to be curated by a collective, we witnessed a series of functional networks or nodes, invited by ruanrgupa and fourteen other collectives, mostly from the global south. In this hub of activity, individual authorship took a back seat counting few recognisable artists’ names and instead opening up propositions for organising and collective action.
The DFF is an informal forum, with no hierarchies, no formal presentations and no necessary preparation. It is a conversation. We will show some images from Documenta 15, as a backdrop for a discussion.
Installation shot, Documenta Halle, Image: Lina Dzuverovic ©2022
Thursday 15th September 2022 , 2-4 pm, Keynes Library, Birkbeck
5pm, 29 April 2022, Online
Decolonial Feminist Forum – Decolonising the Museum
In this session focussed on the recent lecture ‘Decolonizing the Museum?’ by Françoise Vergès, a French political scientist, antiracist and decolonial feminist activist. She is the cofounder of the French association ‘Decolonize the Arts’ and the author of A Decolonial Feminism (2021). Her work focuses on postcolonial studies and decolonial feminism.
5pm, 25 February 2022, Online
Decolonial Feminist Forum – ‘Love is an action: never simply a feeling’
In this session we reflected on the enormous significance of the work of the recently-departed American author, professor, feminist, and social activist bell hooks. Participants were sent several links and were invited to select a quote from one of the talks (or a text) and bring it to the session along with personal comments about their choice.
5pm, Friday, 28 January 2022, Online
Decolonial Feminist Forum – ‘Reckoning with Dread: Dilemmas of Democracy – When All Lives Don’t Matter‘
The Decolonial Feminist Forum resumes, meeting online in our usual slot at 5pm on Friday evenings. During the spring term we will take stock of the past two years in which the pandemic changed our daily lives, work patterns and ways of socialising beyond recognition, affecting different communities differently and affecting those already marginalised and disenfranchised the most. In our first event this year, we will discuss the recent lecture by Professor Faye V. Harrison entitled ‘Reckoning with Dread: Dilemmas of Democracy – When All Lives Don’t Matter‘, delivered in November 2021.
Those who sign up to attend will be sent a link to the lecture in advance and we would like to ask you to watch it (duration: 1 hr, 45 min) prior to our meeting and bring one issue or question for us to discuss. In the meeting we will discuss the issues everyone brought forward and will leave time to discuss ideas for future DFF sessions.
Friday 1 May 2020 , Online
A catch-up via Zoom, gathering after lockdown.
We started by doing a rose& thorn exercise, whereby each of us shared one positive thing (rose) that had happened since we last saw each other, and one thing that was a current worry or was getting in the way of our happiness and wellbeing (thorn).
We had planned to also read the bell hooks text from the previous cancelled session but did not get to this, preferring a more personal session. We discussed plans for the forum, considering the pandemic and the fact we could not meet in person. We decided to try to meet in smaller self-selected groups to read texts of our choosing. However, 2020/21 was a challenging year for everyone and the forum paused shortly after, following a few emails.
We are now ready to restart the forum in the Spring term of 2021/22 and will post information about forthcoming sessions shortly. Please sign up to the mailing list to receive an invitation (see above).
“Uncomfortable Truths” with Alice Procter, 27 March 2020, 5 – 7pm, Peltz Gallery, Part of the (Un)processed project by MA Curating as Critical Practice Students – Cancelled due to the pandemic
Alice Procter (The Exhibitionist) joins the Decolonial Feminist Forum in a conversation on ‘uncomfortable truths’ not exhibited in British galleries and museums. Against the insurgence of
half-truths and comfortably reassuring past grandeurs, Alice Procter – known as The Exhibitionist – disrupts histories of Empire and deconstructs its sanitised images on display in British museums. With insightful wit, she takes you on in-depth ‘uncomfortable tours’ uncovering the histories and contemporary realities of museums and exhibitions. Join us for a harshly revealing discussion that may leave you with an itching sensation for artistic activism and change.
Teach-out, 20 March, 5 – 5.30pm in front of the main Birkbeck Building, Malet Street (cancelled due to Covid)
Decolonial Feminist Forum reads bell hooks – The Oppositional Gaze
Please join us for a group reading on the picket line. We will have copies of the text to circulate. Cancelled due to the pandemic.
Friday 7 February 2020, 17:00-19:00
Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square WCIH 0PD
Second meeting of this forum. We read Michelle, K. (2013). To my Eighteen-Year-Old Self, on your Departure for Cambridge. Decolonizing the ‘Cold’ War, May 19 – 23, p.24. and discussed personal experiences as follow up to the text.
First Meeting of the Decolonial Feminist Forum
Friday 22 November 2019, 17:00-19:00
Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square WCIH 0PD
This introductory meeting held at the Peltz Gallery was a discussion about the format and possible structure of future sessions. We agreed to read together and follow up with a discussion.
Participants were invited to bring material (texts, objects, images) that they would be interested in sharing or reading.