Let’s Start a Pussy Riot meets ArtsFems

Pussy Riot


ArtsFems member, Aryana, has organised for Let’s Start a Pussy Riot to meet ArtsFems on 12th May, 2014.

Lets Start a Pussy Riot is creative response founded by Free Pussy Riot, Girls Get Busy, Not So Popular and Storm In A Teacup. A collective of collectives who’s aim was to bring together voices from the arts in support of Pussy Riot. Their book “Let’s Start a Pussy Riot” was published in June 2013 by Rough Trade Records, and have been touring Universities in order to inspire activism and keep the dialogue and discussion about Pussy Riot alive. They will be discussing the story of Pussy Riot (their motives, their influence and the future of Pussy Riot) and how they fit into current contemporary feminist happenings, as well as encouraging everyone to use the idea of “Let’s Start a Pussy Riot” to create their own forms of collective.

We also have permission to screen Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin HBO 2013 documentary, ‘A Punk Prayer’ after the talk.

Please come along and spread the word!

Unfortunately, due to University of the Arts, London policy, non-UAL students and staff will be denied access to the building, so this event is open to UAL students and staff only.


Women Behind Art @ Housman’s Bookshop


We are proud to announce that ArtsFems won the Women’s Group of the Year Award at NUS Women’s Conference 2014. Our fantastic panel discussion on Wednesday only proved that the prize was well deserved. Big thanks to everyone who turned up – the room was full! We were glad to see plenty of new faces from outside the society. Please follow us, because more exciting events are coming.

For those of you who missed it, here’s a quick recap. We started promptly at 7, with our amazing guests introducing themselves. These were: Rosalind Davis, artist and cofounder of Zeitgeist Arts Projects; Carol Swords, curator at the PM Gallery; Rachael House, co-curator and director of Space Station Sixty-Five; and Rosa Bennathan, editor of student feminist website Bad Housekeeping. The speakers talked about the joys and hardships of being a woman creative, as well as of working with other women. Other topics covered during the evening included: the relationship between art and gender, the representation of women in different areas of the art world, and the importance of all-women spaces. The debate was so engaging that not even the fire alarm could interrupt it!

The audience asked about changes they see regarding gender equality in the art world, and what can be done to influence them. Rosa urged everyone to support other women, Rosalind advised that we insist on getting paid, while Rachael and Carol encouraged us all to work towards our goals regardless of any obstacles. We hope you feel as inspired as we do.

Have a great holiday, everyone, and see you back next term!

A Voice of One’s Own

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A Voice of One's Own

ArtsFems curated their first exhibition in March which showcased the work of six student and recent graduate feminist artists and three student and recent graduate feminist zine makers.

The show was a really great success with an estimated 50-60 visitors on our opening night of March 1st, and a further 15-20 visitors per day over the following week. We have some fantastic feedback from people who already considered themselves feminists and from others who had not strongly encountered feminism or art of this nature before. A guestbook was provided for people to leave their thoughts and comments  and some of the loudest feedback was calling for the opportunity to buy editions of some of the works and publications!

We’re hoping to take the exhibition to a space at University of the Arts, London in May, this time incorporating some Q&A sessions and other events.

We must say a massive thank you to Susuana Antubam for allowing us to use The Play House exhibition space at ULU, and to all the artists and zine contributors who were:

Rebecca Bartola; Jūratė Gačionytė ; Sydney Johnson; Tuli Litvak; Catherine Long ; Berta López Diáz; Phillipa Ogden; Viviana Sciara; Liv Thurley

The curation team consisted of:

Aryana Hessami; Sofia Landstrom; Rebecca Livesey-Wright; Krisztina Omoregie; Adriana Rodrigues; Rosie Rynn O’Shea; Scarlett Shaney Langdon; Anika Smit

‘Women Behind Art’ Panel Discussion at Housman’s Bookshop

ArtsFems are hosting a FREE panel discussion titled Women Behind Art at Housman’s bookshop

Housman’s, Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, N1 9DX

Wednesday 19th March, 7pm.

Open to all.

Press Release:

‘Women Behind Art’ is a panel discussion hosted by ArtsFems, the Feminist Society at University of the Arts London. The aim of the discussion will be to address questions of women’s representation and experiences in the art world. Four women speakers who work within the creative industries as creative project leaders, curators or journalists will discuss and compare the challenges they face, and the joys they receive from working within the art world as a woman.

ArtsFems were inspired to develop this event in response to East London Fawcett’s recent Art Audit, which brought to light the poor underrepresentation of women artists in galleries. ArtsFems wanted to look behind the art and develop a discourse about the future of women’s work in this area.

Speaking are Rachael House, co-curator and director of Space Station Sixty-Five in South London; Rosa Bennathan, co-editor of Bad Housekeeping, a feminist online magazine; Rosalind Davis, curator and co-founder of Zeitgeist Arts Projects, designed to support ambitious artists; and Carol Swords, curator at the PM Gallery and House, Ealing.

The discussion will be opened up to the floor to enable you to ask questions to the panel and voice your own opinions.

One Billion Rising for Justice: London


A friend of mine, Stacey Isaac is helping to coordinate the One Billion Rising for Justice: London event happening on Feb 14th. The event aims to demand justice for women and girls who experience violence all over the world. I’m going to be there – anyone joining me?

Below is the text Stacey sent me with loads more information and links:

I am a coordinator for One Billion Rising for Justice: London and I would like to invite you to join us at 12:30pm on the 14th of February 2014 at Trafalgar Square, to RISE, RELEASE and DANCE for justice for women.

We are joining with activists around the world to build upon the energy and momentum that was created on the 14th of February 2013 when one billion people in 207 countries and territories came together to rise, strike, and dance, in the biggest mass action in human history, to demand an end to violence against women and girls. You can watch a trailer for a short film documenting the amazing risings all over the world here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YS8NIBc-z0. This year, we will focus on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and ending the rampant impunity that prevails globally. Without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy, we cannot end violence against women. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces. 

One Billion Rising for Justice is a call to women, men, and youth around the world to gather safely on 14 February 2014 outside places where they are entitled to justice – court houses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.

On the 14th of February 2014, we are gathering in Trafalgar Square, one of the most popular, recognisable, historically rich and vibrant open spaces in the heart of London. It will begin with 30 minutes of short talks by leaders/representatives of grassroots women’s and community organisations as well as politicians, including Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, Shadow Minister for Business Stella Creasy and Baroness Helena Kennedy. This will be followed by 30 minutes of music with live drumming, ending with the entire crowd dancing to ‘Break the Chain’ written by Tena Clark and Tim Heinz, with choreography by Debbie Allen. You can view the video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL5N8rSy4CU

It is our hope that you share our aims, and would like to help us achieve these. We would like to invite you to Rise with us, to share your stories and to dance!

“Dancing insists we take up space, and though it has no set direction, we go there together. Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious and it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free. Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the centre of One Billion Rising,” said Eve Ensler, V-Day Founder and Artistic Director.

The impact of a thousand-strong crowd dancing as one will be enormous and will send out our message loud and clear, that we will no longer tolerate violence against women and that we want it to end. We want justice. Now.

Please get in touch with me at stassles@hotmail.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Ren Aldridge

My article about Ren Aldridge’s feminist artwork up on Soapbox Press.

Soapbox Press

“Give us a smile, love.”

Surely that jovial statement can’t be street harassment. The speaker isn’t name-calling or slut-shaming. They aren’t grabbing you or following you along the street – but this comment is more than just a comment; it is a command. Someone else is demanding that you make yourself seem more friendly, amiable and sweet for their gratification. Ren Aldridge, Fine Art graduate from Goldsmiths, recognises this underlying message and challenges it. Through the creation of a large-scale, imposing sculpture, she is turning this intangible ‘passing comment’ into an ‘asshole’ of a sculpture. I met with Ren at her exhibition at ULU Play House Project space to talk about her work and the importance of feminism today.

Give Us A Smile - Park

All of Ren’s work exhibited at the Play House Project centres round the theme of street harassment. The work ranges from the monumental sculpture to interactive maps and includes an accumulative video…

View original post 589 more words

UK Feminista Summer School ’13

So, on Saturday 17th August, I headed over to Birmingham University to attend UK Feminista’s Summer School 2013. The Society was invited to host a creative stall and so I arrived laden with magazines, scissors and fabric ready to get making badges and a scrapbook.


I was a bit worried that people wouldn’t join me… I think people can be a bit daunted by getting creative. But within about 20 mins, I couple of girls from a school in Edinburgh had joined me and made a great start to the scrapbook. On a side note, they’re setting up a Feminist Club at their school – I think its so exciting that people in schools are looking into Feminism and making it relevant to them.


Somebody at one point came over asked me if I was running a Craftivism stall. I was a bit flummoxed and didn’t want to yes to something I wasn’t sure I was doing, but I’ve just google searched and found this: http://craftivism.com/definition.html

Craftivism sounds pretty cool and it’s something I would like to look in to further, especially as a society at an arts uni. I’d read in the book Art and Feminism about women’s crafts and art before. Miriam Schapiro, a feminist artist who created works defined as femmage is featured in Art and Feminism:

“…the culture of women will remain unrecognised until women themselves regard their own past with fresh insight. To correct this situation, must we try to insert women’s traditional art into the mainstream? How will the authorities be convinced that what they consider low art is worth representing in history? The answer does not lie in mainstream art at all, but in sharing women’s information with women” – Melissa Meyer and Miriam Schaprio, ‘femmage’, 1978.

Expect more Craftivism soon then!

Whilst at the Summer School, I managed to get along to the workshop on setting up and running a powerful Feminist group I picked up a good few tips and so we’ll be working hard this year to make UAL FemSoc become more engaging and active!

I also sat in on the discussion “The Art of Activism” which had Campbell X, Filmaker; Sarah Maple, Contemporary Artist; and Suzee Morayef, Writer and Journalist on the panel. As an art student, I really enjoyed this discussion and was exposed to some fascinating work going on the feminist world. Be sure to them all out!

I’ll be writing soon with the PDF copy of the scrapbook. Until then,

Love, Laughter and Life,


Co-founder of UAL FemSoc