The Female Lineage Project
In 2015 we received funding from Arts Council England to explore female genealogies within our individual practices, and within our communities, and to develop a deeper understanding of the female activists, artists and theorists who have influenced our creative practices and lives. Throughout that project we conducted a variety of research, both practical and more traditional in form. Some of our contextual research is available to read on our blog archive.
As practice-based research, we developed two public gatherings at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. The first, Gathering (1), involved the four of us performing a score, engaging the public in conversations and showing two films. The second gathering, ‘Precarious Assembly’, was an event we curated in which 12 artists/companies presented performances that connected with our research enquiries, and that responded to the Whitworth Gallery as site. As a satellite to Precarious Assembly, we curated an exhibition at AWOL studios titled, ‘a shrine to women’s work’. The exhibits featured in the shrine were objects and installation pieces submitted by participants to the project, which represented and celebrated each of their own matrilineal ‘work’ practices.
As part of dissemination and ongoing-development of the project, we delivered two workshops – one with the Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir, and one at Plymouth University. And we delivered a research paper at the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University (CDARE). We have also begun, We Are Now, an intergenerational movement group and ongoing video series.
Our overall aims for The Female Lineage Project were:
2. To explore the lives and experiences of ordinary women and their contribution to the cultural landscape of Manchester
3. To explore the personal significance of each of our own grandmothers, mothers and sisters to our lives
4. To find methods of incorporating these findings and experiences into each of our creative practices
In order to explore these aims, we identified four broad themes that relate directly to each of our respective artistic practices – these are, ‘gendered spaces’, ‘women’s work’, ‘archival practices’ and ‘intergenerational exchange’.