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Interruptions: The Intersectional Hydra

With Harold Offeh and Michelle Williams Gamaker


When we begin to ask probing questions of the institutions we participate in, we might also begin to question our place within it, our belonging. What responsibility does the institution have? And can it hold us to support who we are? Whatever our expectations of institutions, we realise that, in light of BLM, Covid-19 and the continuous need for reform of Queer, Trans and Disabled rights the institution needs to change and respond. During Covid-19 and a tumultuous 2020, we have found that our learning (and teaching) has necessarily had to continue at home, with the art school morphing temporarily into our homes, and for many into the intimacy of our bedrooms.

Over the last few months, Harold Offeh and Michelle Williams Gamaker have engaged in a series of discussions with students from Manchester School of Art, questioning our understanding of the art school today, in the age of Covid-19. These sessions have culminated in a collaborative film, made from contributions by the students.

The title references the Hydra, a multi-headed creature from ancient Greek mythology. For every head removed, two more would grow in its place, mirroring the nature of intersectionality, where every question highlights multiple new avenues of discussion. Or interpreted another way, the student group itself can be seen as the Hydra, becoming a polyphonic entity that represents many different experiences and perspectives.

Contributors: Rachel Barry, Archana Chaudhary, Anna Clough, Alice Connolly, Louise Dagleish, Nina Durban, Madeleine Emery, Sofia Geraci, Florian Hunt, Hannah Inglis, Elysia Lukoszevieze, Ella McEwan-Smith, Anastasia Morozova, Sophie Rayner, Imogen Richards, Eleanor Samson, and Tangina Taiyeba.

Film produced and edited by: Finn Browning.

The film will be launched on Friday 28 May and will coincide with a live online discussion as part of the Bunker Talks series. Speakers will include Harold Offeh, Michelle Williams Gamaker, Zoe Watson, and a group of the student contributors. The talk will be chaired by Dr. Hannah Singleton, who is Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Joint Co-Ordinator for the Department of Art and Performance. The discussion is part of a week-long programme of events celebrating practice by the Department’s staff, students and alumni, themed around EDI issues.

A video recording of the discussion will be available to watch on the Bunker Talks site after 5pm on 28 May.

Part of the Interruptions programme of free events provided by the Holden Gallery.

Watch The Intersectional Hydra
Film produced and edited by Finn Browning