Losing Ground? A Note on Feminism, Cultural Activism, and Urban Space

Horne, Victoria (2017) Losing Ground? A Note on Feminism, Cultural Activism, and Urban Space. Third Text, 31 (1). pp. 67-78. ISSN 0952-8822

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2017.1364333


This article offers a study of the Hackney Flashers' project Who's Holding the Baby? (1976–1978). The agitprop series documented the establishment of an independent nursery in North London, while providing analysis of the profoundly gendered and classed nature of such work. This historical example illustrates with striking accuracy transformations to the urban landscape of London over the past four decades, in particular pointing towards the critical entanglement between collective art practice, liberal voluntarism and processes of gentrification. The article therefore raises a set of problems: To what extent does feminised social reproduction labour and care voluntarism assuage or challenge the normative functioning of urban public space? What is the relationship of cultural to economic capital, and how is gender relevant to these forms of value? Has the potential of creative, urban protest tactics been exhausted? Drawing from writings across cultural geography and art history, the article proposes that a historical consideration of the Hackney Flashers opens up a pressing discussion around shifts in the organisation of social reproduction since the 1970s.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hackney Flashers, documentary, photography, 1970s, feminism, activism, gentrification, urban Art, collectivism
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
V200 History by area
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Victoria Horne
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 08:27
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 12:18
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/28922

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