We are a group of students on the MA in Culture, Criticism, and Curation at Central Saint Martins and members of the REcreative Editorial Board at the South London Gallery. We are raising funds towards a project we are organising at the South London Gallery which will explore artists' and activists' responses to gender bias at work. The events will take place on Wednesday 21st November 2018 and therefore we urgently need your support today – every donation will make a difference in reaching our target by 21st November. Please support our project and help participate in the fight for gender equality!
What is it?
‘Went to Work, Came Back’ is a series of events (a panel discussion, a workshop, and an archive display) exploring artists' and activists' responses to gender bias in work situations. The project reflects on Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry 1973-1975, an important exhibition which took place in 1975 at the South London Gallery, 1975). Together, artists Mary Kelly, Margaret Harrison, and Kay Hun observed the conditions and collected stories from over 150 female workers at a metal box factory in Bermondsey. Their study aimed to bring attention to their working conditions in light of the implementation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which had been passed in 1970 and came into force in 1975.
Why do we need to do it?
The issues raised by the exhibition Women and Work that took place in 1975 seemed to offer something incredibly valid in today's society. Since then, there may have been a lot of steps towards equality, but we still have a lot of work to do. In the UK, gender differences in the labour market still exist. For example, the male workforce is bigger than the female, and we can't forget that pay gaps between men and women are still a significant factor. The statistics suggest that institutional structures that maintain inequalities are very much at play in the creative industries. Current figures suggest that women are paid up to 40 percent less than their male colleagues in the commercial art sector, and up to 14 percent less in museums. This is one of the reasons why we want to approach this problem from our perspective as future creatives in the art world.
What will it entail?
'Went to work, came back' comprises three parts: an archival display of photographs, letters and other documents related to the original 1975 exhibition at the Fire Station, the South London Gallery's new annex in the former Peckham Road Fire Station; a workshop led by artist Andrea Francke which considers the role of the mother or those who identify their job as taking care of their children; and a panel discussion with guests such as E-J Scott, Dr Caitríona Beaumont, Adelaide Damoah and Andrea Francke, which questions how artistic and curatorial practices can impact gender equality in the workplace and in the wider cultural context.
You would help cover the costs of our project: pay the panellists, the artist for the workshop, and the archival display at the Fire Station (frames, the preparation of dossiers etc.). By funding such events, you would most importantly participate in the fight for equality between genders, and demonstrate the power the arts can have in raising awareness and impacting gender equality.