The Department of Feminist Conversations at Tate Exchange

The Department of Feminist Conversations is an intervention into contemporary criticality that seeks to broaden conversations about life and art through the perspective of contemporary feminisms.

Founded by myself with writers Mary Paterson & Maddy Costa, The Department of Feminist Conversations embodies feminism as a political stance and a historical discourse. It approaches art as the symbolic and material terrain that both represents and influences the concerns of culture at large. We want to understand criticism as a plural, collective engagement, to consider what might constitute a contemporary cultural discourse, and widen access to both. We want to establish a feminist framework for speaking beyond women’s issues, about art, performance, politics and social organisation.

Through discussions, events, roaming assemblies and a series of published pamphlets, The Department of Feminist Conversations will create a visible, embodied and inclusive practice of feminist discourse in public space.

Our approach builds on the thoughts and actions of our feminist predecessors, while attempting to avoid the pitfalls of the so-called third and fourth waves. We pay attention to personal experience in order to expose the assumptions at the heart of patriarchal society, but recognise the limitations of our worldview as a more-or-less homogeneous group (all living with white and middle-class privilege), and make intersectional awareness and inclusivity key strategies for learning and thinking. Neoliberalism fuels debates surrounding questions of privilege, identity and co-option: we seek to develop criticality towards these issues, while creating a space for productive discourse related to difference, visibility and autonomy.

The Department of Feminist Conversations will be talking on the theme of ‘exchange’ as part of The Give & Take, a festival of talks, discussions and mini-panels curated by the artist Tim Etchells at Tate Modern, Thursday 29th September to Sunday 2nd October.

We will be talking at 6.15pm on Friday 30th September.

For more information on our work, you can visit the Department’s page on Medium:


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