That Sparkly Feeling: Collective Learning and Exchange in the Feminist Duration Reading Group

Reckitt, Helena. 2023. That Sparkly Feeling: Collective Learning and Exchange in the Feminist Duration Reading Group. In: Lisa Baldissera, ed. Person/ne. Vancouver, Canada: Griffin Art Projects. [Book Section] (In Press)

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This essay considers the Feminist Duration Reading Group (FDRG) as an example of long-term research and engagement within a collective context. It discusses group’s process, both in terms of the content of meetings and the methodology for sustaining participation. Providing a support structure for research and enquiry, sessions foster a mood of informality, curiosity and intimacy, restoring texture to movements, groups, and texts reduced to stereotype through retrospective simplification.

The FDRG’s modest budget and scale, and its emphasis on group exploration, counter prevalent approaches to public programming in the UK, which have tended to perpetuate hierarchies between “expert” presenters and “passive” spectators, alongside targeting audiences along pre-existing demographic lines. In contrast, the FDRG supports the emergence of discursive communities, connected by shared commitments and values. The potential for collective learning to stimulate political emergence and transformation is beautifully evoked by Paola Melchiori in an article about the 150 Hours School, which provided the focus for an FDRG meeting in 2016. “The first striking event is the reawakening of desire, a ‘sparkly feeling’ as one woman defined it, like an awakening.”

The group’s approach has implications for curatorial and archival practice, the essay suggests, underscoring the value of durational modes of research and engagement, commissioning and programming that revalue overlooked ideas and movements. Recognising and attempting to make space for difference as well as antagonism, the FDRG nurtures the slow process of building mutual recognition and support.

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Durational Feminism, Feminist Reading Group, Second Wave Feminism, Intersectional Feminism, Feminist Group Work, Feminist Pedagogy, Italian Feminism

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15 February 2023Accepted

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Date Deposited:

14 Apr 2023 09:36

Last Modified:

15 Apr 2023 01:30


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