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Stuart Hall Library Research Network: Duties of Self-Care

29 Mar 2018-01 Apr 2019

In a society dominated by capital, we are used to measuring our health in relation to our productivity. What strategies can artists and activists use to oppose this?

This year’s Research Network, selected through open call, will revolve around how artists attend to self-care in an economic climate of austerity and instability. It will address tactics for reclaiming control and responsibility as a way of rejecting institutional exploitation, when financial, mental and physical precarity is the accepted state of being for artists. This public programme will alternate between artist-led presentations and open reading groups, where attendees can begin to develop/explore the possibilities of structures for support and self-care.

Iniva Public Programme

at the Stuart Hall Library

March 29 2018

Artist Ada Xiaoyu Hao presents The Mask of Sanity, with curator Annie Jael Kwan as respondent.

This performance lecture will explore the self-care mechanism developed by the artist after migrating to the UK. Hao will investigate the impact of language barriers upon the body and how their restrictions play out in the form of bodily trauma.


April 19 2018

Stuart Hall Research Network Reading Group, Thinking with Care.

This new series of reading groups will critically engage with issues underpinning the ‘Duties of Self-Care’ Research Network programme. This first session will read and discuss ‘Thinking with Care’, chapter 2 of Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds.


May 31 2018

Research collective Fresh New Anxieties present their long-term project, Luxury.

This presentation and discussion will explore their practice attempting to design sustainable self-care and professional frameworks in relations to chronic health conditions, disability and neurodiversity in the face of austerity and accompanying micro-aggressions that operate in creative contexts.


June 21 2018

Stuart Hall Research Network Reading Group: Self-care and Politics of Cure.

This session will discuss the concept of ‘cure’, and its relationship to radical self-care, through the writings of Black lesbian poet Audre Lorde and queer disability activist Eli Clare. The group will read from Audre Lorde’s prose diary entries, from A Burst of Light: Living with Cancer and Eli Clare’s Brilliant Imperfection.


July 19 2018 (Postponed)

Artist and writer Sophie Hoyle presents Burnout and Healing, in conversation with Dr Stephanie Davis.

This event will address artists’ mental health and the community’s access to support in the face of austerity. It will explore the necessity for networks of support and healing for the survival of marginalised groups when dealing with physical and mental exhaustion.


September 13  2018

Stuart Hall Research Network Reading Group: Whose well-being?.

This session will focus on extracts from Sylvia Wynter‘s 2003 essay “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation — An Argument”, and cross-reading this with fiction or poetry.


October 25 2018

Curator and writer Maria Walsh presents The Difference that Difference makes: Therapeutic Discourse in Artists’ Moving Image, with artists Rehana Zaman and Oreet Ashery.

This talk will explore the themes within Walsh’s new research project, Therapeutic Aesthetics: The Performative in Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image, through a screening of Rehana Zaman’s Sharla Shabana Sojourner Selena (2016) and Oreet Ashery’s Revisiting Genesis (2016).


November 29 2018

Performance company There There (Dana Olărescu and Bojana Jancović) present their practice through the prism of immigrant identities, with curator and academic Lina Džuverović as respondent.

The panel discussion will look at facets of identity and will investigate if the self-care of such practices is annulled by institutional frameworks – which push ‘diversity’ classifications, create competition between ‘minority’ artists and establish hierarchies of marginalisation through curating. How can artists create practice-driven communities of self-care?


January 10 2019

Stuart Hall Research Network Reading Group: Europeanness?.

Following on from our previous Research Network event, we will be reading about identity and self-representation as self-care in migrant communities. We will be focusing on extracts from Stuart Hall’s 1997 essay ‘New Ethnicities’ and Anikó Imre’s 2005 essay ‘Whiteness in post-socialist Eastern Europe: the time of the gypsies, the end of race’.


January 31 2019

Stuart Hall Research Network Reading Group: Cultural trauma and art led by artist Seecum Cheung.

This session focuses on Timothy P. Brown’s essay Trauma, Museums and the Future of Pedagogy’ (2004) in conjunction with the zine ‘Yam and Other Hard Food’ (2018) produced through narratives and text by Saint Lovie aka Georgina Johnson in collaboration with photographer Adama Jalloh.


February 21 2019

Artist Anna Walker presents on ‘when artists get it ‘wrong’. The repercussions of crossing a line: vitriol, shame and trauma” with a screening of some of her moving image work ‘Fragments’ and Breathe Wind Into Me”.

This screening and discussion will focus on her research about collective and intergenerational trauma and traumatic diasporas.


March 6 2019

Artist Helen Benigson will present her project Tongue-Tie, with Professor Lisa Baraitser as respondent .

The performative lecture will explore economies of mothers, bodies and pain, online and in real life with particular reference to breastfeeding trauma, tongue-tie, public breastfeeding and mastitis. It will traverse between a medical, maternal body and that of the sexualised, productive body in relation to the Internet and how breastfeeding is performed in contemporary space.


Listen to the events here:


Duties of Self-Care Reading Group

April, June, October, December 2018 and February 2019.

The Stuart Hall Library is hosting a new Research Network Reading Group beginning Thursday 19th April and meeting monthly usually on the third Thursday of each month 6.30 – 8:30pm. We want you to get involved.

The Duties of Self-Care Reading Group is an opportunity to find out more about our unique library collections to and to take part in a series of discussions that expand on themes discussed in the Research Network. The selected cultural texts will look at physical, emotional and mental well-being through the lens of race, class, gender and other intersectional thought, in order to develop critical discussion around art, activism and self-care.

Texts will be handed out to attendees and no pre-reading is required. The Reading Group is free and open to all – we welcome all participants to join.

Image: Ada Xiaoyu Hao, Mask of Sanity, Film, 2018 (in-progress)
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