Decorating Dissidence is an interdisciplinary project exploring the political, aesthetic & conceptual qualities of feminine-coded arts from modernism to the contemporary. It brings together art practitioners, makers, curators, activists and academics to break down disciplinary boundaries and find new ways to critically engage with feminist art history. It opens up a space for intergenerational dialogue between contemporary and modernist makers, in order to reveal the lasting legacies of marginalised women artists who worked at the dissident intersections between established mediums and modes of modern art.
In 2017, we hosted ‘Decorating Dissidence: Feminism, Modernism and the Arts’, an exhibition, conference, and workshop at Mile End Arts Pavilion and Queen Mary University of London. These events intervened in contemporary, interdisciplinary debates concerning the boundaries of modernism and the direction of feminist modernist studies. Our follow-up symposium – ‘Modernism: Making, Place, and Protest’ – took place at QMUL in November 2018. Keying in to East London’s radical history as a site where creativity, feminism, and activism meet, it addressed questions such as: how might craft disrupt the gallery space? How can we make space for a feminist genealogy of art and craft, and what might that look like? In 2018, we also partnered with Being Human Festival and the V&A Museum of Childhood to host Motherhood & Making, a day of talks and workshops exploring creativity and motherhood.