WHO IS GIRLFORUM* FOR?
GIRLFORUM* was set up after a series of high-profile instances of sexual harassment in the art world were made public in 2017. Though these aggressions can be characterised individually as gendered abuses of power, they are also indicative of a wider systemic problem that is present not only in art institutions, but also throughout more informal art communities.
GIRLFORUM* was started with the understanding that these specific instances of abuse have been propagated by a system that maintains privilege for those at the top, to the disadvantage of artists and art workers who are BAME/ disabled/ LGBTQIA + / women / working class. The term 'GIRL' in our name is used with irony to reappropriate and reclaim the pejorative sense of the word. We therefore intend the ‘GIRL’ in GIRLFORUM* to be a bracket under which anybody who has felt 'othered' by the current conditions of the art world can gather.
We’re always looking to learn how we can be more inclusive – if we need to change how we do anything and you feel able to, please do get in touch.
WHAT DOES GIRLFORUM* DO?
GIRLFORUM* is committed to examining the abuses of power experienced by artists and art workers and the damaging effects of an 'art world' that privileges white, wealthy, cisgendered, heterosexual men. In a sphere that trades so heavily on the cultivation of personal relationships, the blurring of boundaries between working and socialising increases the potential for abuses of power to occur. Additionally, under-regulated working environments mean that zero hours jobs, jobs without contracts and faux self-employment are commonplace, with workplaces often lacking structures of due process.
GIRLFORUM* aims to create an inter-generational network to discuss these conditions and their impact, make them visible, and find ways to effect change.
Every month (where possible) we publish a monthly newsletter, GIRLFORUM* Monthly. In each issue, we explore recent art-world occurrences and their wider implications, alongside Artists Anonymised – a series of anonymous interviews that opens up the conditions of being an artist in the hope of giving individual experiences a collective voice.
We want to work with other groups with overlapping concerns to be part of a ‘refusal from below’ – finding ways to support individuals to feel able to reject compromising and uncomfortable working environments.
See our reading list for links to writing and documents that have been helpful in shaping our initial model for GIRLFORUM*’s remit.
WHO IS GIRLFORUM*?
To highlight the privileged perspectives we may reinforce as the current artist-administrators of GIRLFORUM*, we situate ourselves as two white, non-disabled, cisgendered, heterosexual, young London-based women artists (one of whom if also an art worker) from mixed middle and working class backgrounds . We are working to put together GIRLFORUM* Monthly, update the Instagram feed, add to the website, and apply for funding to expand GIRLFORUM*’s scope and function. We see ourselves as facilitators for the network and platform that is developing. In line with this, we want to make GIRLFORUM* as open as possible so that it is shaped by the concerns of the network and is effective is addressing them.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Talk to us! Email us with suggestions for anything we should be thinking and talking about. Our Instagram feed is always open for submissions – as a platform for art works or writing or a place for thoughts, feelings etc. Extended series of posts and requests for Instagram residencies are very welcome too.
As things progress, there will be more formal opportunities to engage and help direct the agenda for GIRLFORUM*. Join our mailing list for future announcements of talks and discussions you can attend.
Funding permitting, we will be working towards a printed journal with an agenda shaped by the issues raised within GIRLFORUM and developed through GIRLFORUM* Monthly. As this becomes more concrete we are hoping to commission and support written and visual contributions. In the meantime contributions to GIRLFORUM* Monthly are very welcome.
HOW IS GIRLFORUM* FUNDED?
We are currently making applications for funding. Given our remit, it is hugely important to us that we make sure guest speakers at talks and contributors to the journal are paid, so our future activities will depend on what funding we can secure. If you can help us in raising funds we’d love to hear from you!
WHERE IS GIRLFORUM* BASED?
GIRLFORUM* doesn’t have a set base. The main artist-administrators are based in London, working between each other’s homes and studios. If we secure funding we hope to find a space to work from and invite participants to use. If this is something you can help with, or you would like to host a GIRLFORUM* discussion or event let us know.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO KNOW? EMAIL OR DM US YOUR QUESTION AND WE’LL ANSWER IT PERSONALLY AND ADD IT TO THIS LIST.