The Feminist Practice of Affidamento (Entrustment)

Reckitt, Helena. 2018. 'The Feminist Practice of Affidamento (Entrustment)'. In: Affidamento – Creating Feminist Solidarity in Art and Curating. Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland 15 June 2018 - 16 June 2018. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract or Description

The relational practice of affidamento, or entrustment, was developed by feminists in the context of collective groups of the 1980s in Italy. Affidamento diverges from the second wave feminist focus on horizontality and equality to recognize differing levels of competence among women, which form the basis for female relationships of trust.

The adoption of affidamento represented a move away from mass campaigns for institutional reform and political equality in the early 1980s, towards the creation of autonomous feminist culture and interpersonal relationships. It responded to an impasse within feminist collectivity, where the denial of difference led to the dominance of certain voices, the passivity of other group members, and the suppression of desire.

In this talk Helena Reckitt discusses the relevance of affidamento for feminist politics and collective organising today. She considers the possibilities and limitations of affidamento, including its inherent notions of sexual difference, tactics of strategic separatism, and emphasis on one-on-one relationships. Reckitt draws on case studies including the work of the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) in Toronto, artists Celine Condorelli, Alex Martinis Roe and Raju Rage, and her work with the Feminist Duration Reading Group in London. Asking how affidamento could be reimagined for today, she explores how it might reenergise forms of artistic, curatorial, and activist work.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)

Additional Information:

The talk was given as part of a two-day meeting intended to enable an exchange across institutions and functions with the long-term goal of setting something against the permanently installed old boys network, with the excesses of toxic masculinity, something like affidamento - a term developed within the Italian women's movement. The practice was refined in the context of Libreria delle donne di Milano, an association of female/ feminist philosophers, called Diotima. Members of the group developed a policy of relations between women, which they called affidamento (Italian: to confide in one another). In the practice of affidamento, women confer authority and power to each other.

As Silvia Federici has argued the rise of capitalism goes hand in hand with the oppression of women, the devaluation of reproductive work and practices of communality. This meetings - the first part open to the public, the second comprising invited participants from Zurich and internationally - can we think about new ways to create feminist solidarity in art and curating now?

During the event discussions focused on how to generate new measures against male-dominated networks in art and curating across institutions.

Public Programme
2 pm: Welcome words by Heike Munder, director Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

2:15 pm: Introduction by Dorothee Richter
Dorothee Richter is a Professor in Contemporary Curating at the University of Reading and head of the PhD in Practice Progamme at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) and the University of Reading.

2:45 pm Helena Reckitt: The Feminist Practice of Affidamento (Entrustment)
Helena Reckitt is a curator and researcher, currently based at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is Reader in Curating in the Art Department.

3:30 pm Yvonne Apiyo Brändle-Amolo: The Decolonised incog-Negro Coconut feminist speaks!
Yvonne Apiyo Brändle-Amolo is an artist, film producer and politician.

4:15 pm Coffee break

4:30pm Lina Džuverović How to do feminism? Feminist solidarity as resistance to the atomization of work and life
Lina Džuverović is a curator and academic, currently affiliated with the University of Reading.

5:15 pm Elke Krasny Feminist Assembly. Curating Beyond Borders
Elke Krasny is professor of art and education at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria. She works as a curator, urban researcher, and cultural theorist.

The meeting is part of a series on feminist issues, initiated by Lara Perry (Brighton, UK), Elke Krasny (Vienna, Austria), Helena Reckitt (London, UK) and Dorothee Richter (Zurich, Switzerland, and Berlin, Germany). It is supported by Heike Munder, Alena Nawrotzki, Max Heinrich and Johanna Bruckner.

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16 June 2018Completed

Event Location:

Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland

Date range:

15 June 2018 - 16 June 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Sep 2018 13:50

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:49


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