11 June 2018
Last day of ‘class’. We were asked to write a feminist manifesto but there is something about a manifesto that just doesn’t sit well with many of us. I remember asking the young people I work with, in February 2017, about what they thought about the Manifesto for the Arts (2013) and whether this still resonated with them. Although there were many broad points of agreement, several youths felt that the Manifesto could be framed in a way that sounded less absolute. One said:
Young artists need spaces to create, experiment, fail, succeed. I’d make the manifesto not so clichéd. Art isn’t a bed of roses and it isn’t going to solve world issues. But it can connect, let people have an experience like no other…Art in Singapore is already very rigid…Instead of framing [The Manifesto] into rules…unframing it…would make it more open and free. (VN 2017)
I agree. So this is a non-manifesto for practice research that Cathy Sloan and I put together:
We commit to:
Challenging what counts
as ‘We the People’ and Who.
Recognising the messiness of bodies
Sticky with Affect
(not just logical rhetoric).
(so this is not a manifesto but the beginning of conversations).
[Borrowing from Judith Butler]
For ‘it is true that there are no demands that you can submit to arbitration here…If hope is an impossible demand then we demand the impossible’ (Butler 2011).
I will miss the Monday Research sessions at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central). To all the PhD candidates who’ve generously taken the time to listen to my research anxieties, share their research insights with me and throw thorny and challenging counterarguments my way: thank you for these conversations and for being a crucial part of my learning at Central. You have taught me so much about what it means to create a supportive learning environment, one where I’m constantly challenged to be the best version of myself and exceed the limits of self-doubt to do what I thought was impossible.