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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.46
(Re)voicing solidarity for women in shipbuilding: walking through the lines of the dominant heritage narrative
This paper examines two creative projects which have worked durationally to increase gender equality within existing heritage narratives. We discuss challenges they have encountered related to the representation of gender, and the potential of creative interventions to nuance dominant narratives (Smith, 2009). Specifically, we explore the potential of walking and other peripatetic methodologies as sites of embodied knowledge production, and employ intersectionality to problematise these challenges of representation. We explore the risks of epistemic privilege and the positionality of creative researchers within these processes. Using feminist-inspired framings as vehicles which can trouble dominant narratives, we examine ‘enactment’ through walking and first-person testimony as key tools to reframe the landscape of discourse. The sites of our analysis are creative projects focused on two maritime protest movements: the 1980 Solidarity strike in Gdansk, Poland; and the 1971 UCS Work-In in Govan, Glasgow, Scotland. We consider the role of artists and researchers in the active transmission and reframing of these herstories and critically investigate specific examples of participation within the co-creation of gendered heritage narratives, where ‘communities of interest’ are working within established heritage institutions and simultaneously straining against their management systems. We will consider how these developing ‘tensile systems’ might create layered representations of gender, acting both within and alongside existing narratives. We argue that the representation, revision, and refraction of existing heritage narratives, which these projects assert through the lenses of both feminist theory and embodied knowledge, are useful iterations which problematise the construction of gender in dominant cultural discourses.