Proposition 7, Productive Refusals

Reckitt, Helena and Martinis Roe, Alex. 2018. Proposition 7, Productive Refusals. In: Alex Martinis Roe, ed. To Become Two: Propositions for Feminist Collective Practice. Berlin: Archive Books, pp. 199-201. ISBN 9783943620580 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The proposition was developed in dialogue with artist Alex Martinis Roe, at her invitation, and published in her book To Become Two.

In their initial conversation about the project Helena Reckitt explained her interest in feminist tactics of refusal and withdrawal, and her hunch that saying “no” can help to make visible and potentially stop destructive relational habits and patterns that maintain inequitable power relations. Martinis Roe then wrote the first draft of the proposal, based on these ideas and her own work around the Libreria delle donne di Milano (Milan women’s Bookstore) cooperative. Following some revisions from Reckitt, the Proposition was shared with the twenty one other participants of the four-day workshop ‘Our Future Network,’ which formed the basis of Martinis Roe’s film 'Our Future Network' (2016)

Participants discussed the proposal in small groups and role played instances of times where they had agreed to a situation which, with hindsight, they should have refused. Some of the role plays were included in the film. The text here was written up by Martinis Roe as one of a series of political tools to generate feminist collective practice.

“I organized this meeting as a way to continue a dialogue that had already begun, a meeting point between each of their practices and my research. Each of them brought their own knowledge, projects, and methodologies to the project of creating these methodologies to the project of creating these propositions, and each proposition is the elaboration of strategies, ideas, research, and forms that come from the particular practices of these women. In relation to one or more of the historical practices I have been researching, we then designed ways that these practices could be done collectively, by more people, as a way to explore each of them as a model for a collective political practice.”
Alex Martinis Roe (2018) To Become Two: Propositions for Feminist Collective Practice, Berlin: Archive Books, p.159

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Book Section

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To Become Two: Propositions for Feminist Collective Practice offers a narrative of artist Alex Martinis Roe’s research into a genealogy of feminist political practices in Europe and Australia from the seventies until today. These practices include those of the Milan Women’s Bookstore co-operative; Psychanalyse et Politique, Paris; Gender Studies (formerly Women’s Studies) at Utrecht University; a network in Sydney including people involved in the Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative, Feminist Film Workers, Working Papers Collective, and the Department of General Philosophy at Sydney University; and Duoda – Women’s Research Centre and Ca la Dona, a women’s documentation centre and encounter space in Barcelona. Drawing from their practices and experiences, Martinis Roe’s research forms a proposal for a transgenerational approach to feminist politics. This is further developed as a practical handbook of twenty new propositions for feminist collective practice, which were formed in collaboration with a network of contributors through experiments with these historical practices.

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9 October 2017Accepted

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Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2023 15:24

Last Modified:

12 Apr 2023 15:24


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