Panel CFP: Feminist visual activism, domesticity and ecologies of care

Basia Sliwinska's picture
Call for Papers
March 6, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Fine Arts

I am looking for 3 panelists to include in my session proposal for the seminar:

'Against the Canon: Art, Feminism(s) and Activisms Mercosur International Seminar' 



Conference session: 

Feminist visual activism, domesticity and ecologies of care



‘The workshop of the future requires many hands and hearts. […] Proletarian women, the poorest of the poor, the most disempowered of the disempowered, hurry to join the struggle for the emancipation of women and of humankind from the horrors of capitalist domination! Social Democracy has assigned to you a place of honor. Hurry to the front lines, into the trenches!’

Rosa Luxemburg (2006) Reform and Revolution and Other Writings, p. 245



Rosa Luxemburg, a writer and an activist, believed in collective action. Her sensibilities, informed by ethical feminism and care economy, and her call for social transformation and democratic renewal are significant for contemporary activist interventions. Nicholas Mirzoeff argues that there is ‘an alternative visual vocabulary emerging’. Similarly, Grace Lee Boggs discusses ‘visionary organizing’, which defines imagining change and creating changes of vision. Lieven De Cauter proposes to consider ‘subversivity’, ‘a disruptive attitude that tries to create openings, possibilities in the ‘closedness’ of a system’. There is an emerging revival of visual activism in response to changes in communication technology, digitisation, restrictions of civil liberties, the rise of populism and neo-liberalism signalling fake freedoms, threat of environmental catastrophes, changing migration patterns, and shifting ideals of identity, among other issues. Urgent local and global evets and crises motivate collective actions which engage images and bodies in novel and unexpected ways beyond representation. Those interventions raise questions around the use of strategies of embodiment enabling collective action and further expanding the ethos of consciousness raising employed by 1970s activism.


The adoption of the term visual activism is often conflated with socially engaged art which turns it into a metaphor that deflects from the urgency to explore the phenomenon with a systematic and critical approach. Strategies of embodiment, networked images and new visualising technologies demonstrate new modes of seeing and a novel approach toward visual activism, its methods and strategies of organisation and dissemination. Global activist and interventionist manifestations on- and off-line, and collaborative activist groups such as the SlutWalks and #MeToo movements, Czarne Szmaty (Black Robes, Poland), Hollaback!, #blacklivesmatter, Women’s Domestic Needlework Group (Australia) or Mujeres Creando (Women Creating, Bolivia), among many others, demonstrate the evolving relationship between activist practices, feminist discourse and contemporary visual culture.


This session, through art historical and practice-led considerations, seeks to explore the phenomenon of transnational visual activism through feminist lens. What new forms of participation and belonging within space emerge that account for the interplay of domestic feminised narratives and defeminisation of spatial metaphors while considering ecologies of care? What are the new modalities of visual activism? How can we combat the oversaturation of the image to find new visual paradigms within the field of visual activism? What strategies of embodiment are employed for collective action?


I invite performative and dialogical approaches including, but not limited to: performative actions, scholarly research, art projects and interventions. The session will be concluded with a curated discussion involving all participants.



Proposals (in English) should include an abstract (max 500 words) and short biography (max 60 words), and be sent to Basia Sliwinska ( by Wednesday 6th March 2019.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Basia Sliwinska