Being Visible at the ICA

Reckitt, Helena. 2018. 'Being Visible at the ICA'. In: From Critical Studies to Public Programming: Public Knowledge at the Post-Democratic Impasse. Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom 18 May 2018. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Contribution to the workshop 'From Critical Studies to Public Programming: Public Knowledge and the Post-Democratic Impasse,' organised by Janna Graham, Valeria Grazia, and Susan Kelly. The talk reflected on my experience programming queer-oriented talks and public events at the ICA, London, from 1990-1997 - a period in which the concept of queer held out the promise that previously well-regulated identity categories around gender and sexual preference were becoming more porous, less pure. Issues of the politics of visibility and the dangers of surveillance are considered, along with the potential for 'consent' as a force of politically mobilisation.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Talk)

Additional Information:

The symposium charted the impetus for Critical Studies programmes in Art Schools since the 1970s, to the proliferation of discursive events in the neoliberal art world today.

The term 'public programming’, in use at least since the 1990s, has arisen as a framework to speak about pedagogical initiatives across various public cultural institutions. It continues legacies from gallery education, new institutionalism, and independent pedagogic projects, which have contributed to the formation of art audiences.

This symposium explored the trajectory of Critical and Complementary Studies courses in post-Coldstream art schools, often feminist and Marxist in orientation, to the phenomena of public programming. What does it mean today when art institutions host art school’s Critical Studies courses (eg, ICA) and when universities brand and advertise their evening lectures series as Public Programmes? What is the relationship between the discursive spaces of the gallery and the art school? How do we move from the relentless production of critical thematics, and move toward new forms of public pedagogy?

This was the third research event in the Public Programming series, which explores how the democratic and critical premises that were the basis of a publicly produced culture and debate are now becoming undone, caught in the paradoxes of post-democratic institutions and under the pervasive push of event economies.
The first study day in the series, held at Middlesex University in June 2016 sketched out the field, its genealogies and problematics. The second workshop, held at Nottingham Contemporary in 2017, explored how museum public programmes have worked with social movements in Spain, Greece, Italy, Croatia and elsewhere, and the use of public programming in social centres and autonomous spaces.

11.00–11.45 Welcome & Intro (Susan Kelly, Valeria Graziano, Janna Graham).
11.45–12.15 Naomi Salaman (Brighton University)
12.15–12.45 Helena Reckitt (Goldsmiths)
12.45–13.15 Women of Colour Index Reading Group (WOCI)
Chair: Catherine Grant (Goldsmiths)

13.15–14.15 Lunch

14.15–14.45 Yaiza Hernández Velázquez (Central St Martins)
14.45-15.15 Mick Wilson (Valand Academy)
15.15–15.45 Laurence Rassel (École de Recherche Graphique)
Chair: Gary Hall (Coventry University)

15.45–16.00 Break
16.00–17.00 Collective Discussion

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18 May 2018Completed

Event Location:

Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom

Date range:

18 May 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

28 Aug 2018 11:58

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:49


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