‘Reviving Struggles, Growing New Worlds’ symposium

Symposium​, June 13 –16, 2024

The four-day symposium explores historical and contemporary feminist, queer, decolonial, militant and experiential engagements, emphasising the significance of intertwining a transgenerational perspective on various experiences and learnings. The point of the departure is the struggle for Wages for Housework, launched in Padua by the International Feminist Collective in 1972. Within the framework of Marxist feminism, it aimed to highlight how capitalism exploited and profited from reproductive labour, extracting value from the ‘social factory’ of the home and communities. The demand to compensate women’s work that regenerated the male workforce with a wage paid by the state, provoked varied reactions of scepticism and defence within feminist circles in the 1970s. Today, the campaign con­tinues to inform and inspire contemporary feminist movements. In the face of the care crisis, climate extinction and capi­talist extraction, the programme wants to explore and interconnect current approaches across academia, militancy and art in the efforts to maintain and care for all lives in a troubled world.
Saturday, June 15, 12.00–16.00, The Feminist Library
A workshop led by Meris Angioletti
Through a series of bodily exercises, breathing, resistance, vocal emission and contact, the artist shares an explo­ration of the vocal as a place of prac­tice for the uniqueness and extension of each voice, of metamorphosis and reinven­tion of language. Phonemes, sounds, vocalisations and words are the material for the reappropriation (incorporation) of slogans (texts), a form of choral, volatile, temporary sound poetry that is realised when each becomes the ear for the voice of the other.
Meris Angioletti is a researcher and artist. After earning a diploma in photography from Cfp Bauer in Milan in 2004, she completed her studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. She is currently a researcher at the APESA doctoral school, Université Paris I. Rooting her career in the history of art and cinema, particularly the first forms of abstraction, as well as cognitive science, psychology, and esoterism, Meris Angioletti’s works explore the mechanics of perception, memory, and the psyche. Her recent exhibitions include: La vérité n’est pas la vérité, MABA, Nogent-sur-Marne, 2019; Couteau sans lame et dépourvu de manche / Le jour des esprits est notre nuit, CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, 2018; Forme-pensiero, Otto Zoo, Milan (solo), 2018; Lunaria Annua, Luis Adelantado Gallery, Valencia (solo), 2017; L’anneau et le livre, YGREC, Paris (solo), 2016.
Saturday, June 15, 17.00–20.00, The Feminist Library
Installation Opening
The archival installation combines selected materials – documents, pamphlets, leaflets and photographs – outlining the richness and complexity of how women organised the struggle for Wages for Housework. With an emphasis on the Italian context, the documents illustrate the intricacies of various aspects such as maternity, social services, education and more. Minutes of conversations, theoretical analyses, conversations, com­muniqués and strategic reflections trace the paths that led, for example, to the organisation of the demonstration in Mestre from 8-10 March 1974. Finally, posters highlight the resonances of the campaign with contemporary feminist uprisings. An audio piece explores the meanings of embodied fem­inist memory through voice, visualisation and sound, gathering testimonies from the 1970s Wages for Housework campaign in Italy. The installation is juxtaposed with Sophie Utikal’s leather artwork entitled Growing New Worlds (2023). The artwork reminds us that social reproduction and care are vital for surviving the uncer­tainties of life on planet Earth amidst the threats of capitalist extraction, extinction and destruction. Utikal inspires us to envision ourselves as profoundly interconnected and interdependent beings. In the spirit reminiscent of the Wages for Housework movement, Growing New Worlds emphasises the importance of unearthing the joy in creating new material, temporal and spatial bonds of communal ­and collec­tive togetherness, with care at its core.  
Sophie Utikal is a textile artist who lives and works between Berlin and Vienna. She was born in Tallahassee, US and grew up in Mainz, Germany. She studied contextual painting with Ashley Hans Scheirl at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (2014-2019) and co-edited the book Anti-Colonial Fantasies/Decolonial Strategies (2017). Her artworks have been shown throughout Europe, including Kristinstads Konsthal (2022), Kunsthalle Vienna (2021), Mediterranea Biennale 19 in San Marino (2021), and Museion Bolzano (2018). Her most recent solo shows were at Kunstraum Innsbruck (2023) and Galerie im Turm, Berlin (2020). Her work is part of the public collection of the Federal Republic of Germany and the private collection of Museion, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bolzano, Italy.
Barbara Mahlknecht(Goldsmiths University/CHASE) curated and organised the symposium and installation in collaboration with the Feminist Duration Reading Group, Feminist Library, Goldsmiths for Palestine, MayDayRooms, and SOAS Global Labour and Activism and Inequalities Research Cluster.
Sunday, June 16, 12.00–14.30, The Feminist Library
Workshop and conversation with Leopoldina Fortunati and Barbara Mahlknecht
This event is part of and in solidarity with Goldsmiths for Palestine.
Please see the workshop description for Thursday, June 13, 18.00–20.30. This event has two parts, drawing on distin­guished archival materials and themes. Each can be attended separately.
Please register via www.feministduration.com.
The symposium stands in solidarity with the UCU’s call for a global academic boycott of Goldsmiths, defending the interests of staff and students. The proposed cuts, which would eliminate over one-sixth of the academic staff, severely threaten the quality of education and the livelihoods of dedi­cated faculty members. In support of the UCU call for action, and thanks to Alessandra Mezzadri (SOAS Global Labour and Activism and Inequalities Research Cluster) and the Feminist Library, we could move events initially planned at Goldsmiths elsewhere. Please consider donating to the fighting fund to support members involved in the dispute: https://goldsmithsucu.org/support-fund/ .
This event series is supported by CHASE, Goldsmiths Graduate School funding, and the Goldsmiths Research Support Award. The Austrian Cultural Forum London has generously transported Sophie Utikal’s artworks.