You may have seen the recent news about a statue being unveiled in London, England commemorating Mary Wollstonecraft. And you may have seen a lot of mixed responses to the final design that was chosen. Angelika and Rosanna are asking you to share your thoughts in a creative, visual, or textual format for a zine called 'Re-Designing the Mary Wollstonecraft Statue’.
The deadline for contributions of a 1-page A4 pdf is the 1st of December 2020. All details and a bit more context are available either in the text below or at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12-vGQ1BioD57nx6KDPZF36UqYK2WC3J_mChh9nYw6T8/edit?usp=sharing<https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fdocument%2Fd%2F12-vGQ1BioD57nx6KDPZF36UqYK2WC3J_mChh9nYw6T8%2Fedit%3Fusp%3Dsharing&data=04%7C01%7Cangelika.strohmayer%40NORTHUMBRIA.AC.UK%7C87b490d682c947a6e94308d8865dd1bb%7Ce757cfdd1f354457af8f7c9c6b1437e3%7C0%7C1%7C637407084795943007%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=0z634LjtHZXuoCQUPHAQnhvf5vysokC60lnWBfvH0T4%3D&reserved=0>
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions either!
Angelika Strohmayer and Rosie Bellini
Dr Angelika Strohmayer (she/her)
Lecturer in School of Design
Founding member of fempower.tech<http://fempower.tech> (@fempowertech)
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Call for Contributions for our zine: Re-Designing the Mary Wollstonecraft Statue
Recently, there has been a lot of chatter<https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-54886813> about the newly unveiled statue of Mary Wollstonecraft in North London<https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mary-wollstonecraft-statue-north-london-feminism-b1720207.html>. The statue is of course long overdue as it has been 200 years since her untimely death and a result of a long and arduous ten year campaign to have the writer and philosopher’s contributions to feminist thought and actions remembered. She has served as an inspiration to many for her determination to promote education and rights for women; opening a girls boarding school at just 25 years of age. However, we note that the decision to manifest a (highly expensive) statue of ‘every woman’ rather than of her specifically, and the physical manifestation of this ‘every woman’ as a naked person on top of what looks a bit like a silver wave, is not welcome. This has come as a disappointment and a shock to those involved in donating to the £143,300 fund that could make her image a reality. While we acknowledge representation is a small achievement for ensuring the rights of women and girls, it is part of a larger spectrum of measures that seek to dismantle the hegemonic dominance of male thought and action represented across our cities.
After seeing the silver statue, our first thought was that we wanted to make some clothes for Mary, and to give her a hat! But alas, we live in the North East and it’s not safe for us to travel down South to put those clothes on her. We’ve seen photos of Mary wearing a cape made of face masks<https://twitter.com/EEWomensMuseum/status/1326471792236654592?s=20>, so we’re glad to see that others had similar ideas to us. There are no faster workers than angry women after all.
With this zine-project, we take a feminist approach to the reproduction of the statue, giving artists and non-artists alike the chance to re-design Mary’s statue. We particularly want to welcome design fictions of what this statue *could* be in alternative futures. Using the existing statue as a starting point, how would you alter, adapt, de-construct, or re-construct this silver wave of the ‘every woman’? How would you best respect the legacy that Mary has provided in material form, using the existing statue as a starting point?
We are looking for 1-page contributions reflecting on, designing-with, or thinking-with Mary Wolstencraft’s feminist thinking through creative practice based on the new statue. This may look like essays, design fictions, poems, sketches of clothes, or other visual de-constructions of the statue. Some topics you may want to cover might include, but should not be limited to:
Potentials for clothing the statue - with links to fashion history, feminist discourse, or cyberpunk alternatives that bring the past into the future
What does it mean to have a statue of ‘every woman’ given the diversity and multiplicities of femininity and women’s experiences? And how can visual reproductive techniques be useful in expressing polyvocality and multiplicity?
If you live in London and have a safe way of visiting the statue in-person, we would of course also welcome photo-essays of your direct (though non-destructive and respectful) alterations to the statue itself.
While we regret having to make this clear, we very clearly want to state that this is an explicitly trans-inclusive project. We state this as we note that frequently a nude female form is taken as a canvas for promoting trans-exclusionary arguments about what constitutes being a ‘woman’; we do not wish to promote these dog-whistles in any way. We as such will not accept any work for this project that promotes trans-exclusionary arguments.
Submission, deadlines, and next steps:
By the 1st of December 2020, please submit a 1-page pdf document in A4 format to us via e-mail (both to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> and to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>). Please make sure to cite any images you are using. Please also ensure you put your name(s) (or any pseudonyms you wish to be published under), affiliations, contact details, etc. onto the submission pdf as you would like to see it published
We may come back to you with some comments about how your contribution could be further developed prior to publication
We will collate these submissions into a finished zine, with a cover-page, introductory section, and back-cover
The finished zine will be made publicly available as a free, downloadable pdf online
Depending on interest, we may also create a physical print version of the finished zine, selling it at-cost or with all proceeds going to contemporary feminist organisers
We are really excited to see what you come up with and want to say thank you in advance for contributing to this zine!
In feminist solidarity,
Angelika Strohmayer and Rosanna Bellini
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