Footnotes on Equality is an exhibition created by fifteen international researchers as part of the European Commission-funded project Gender and Cultures of Equality in Europe (GRACE). The exhibition brings together an eclectic collection of art and everyday objects that speak to cultural productions of (in)equalities across Europe.
In their gender research throughout the EU, the GRACE researchers have been encountering ongoing struggles to build equalities at community levels, through social movements and in dialogue with governmental policy and legislation. They have collected objects out of these situations as props to tell stories about the ways in which (in)equalities are both experienced and resisted.
The collection includes an array of material including field notes, audio and visual recordings, transcriptions, artworks and readymade objects, all arising from the diverse research conducted through the GRACE project. From an analysis of Hull as a City of Culture, to women’s experiences of boxing in the UK, from thinking about LGBTQ rights celebrations and their material traces, to a study of feminist and anti-racist solidarity networks; and from an exploration of war and memory of the Syrian uprising, to Islamic feminisms, the researchers share their investigations of in/equalities in European contexts.
The exhibition highlights the desire to question current mainstream notions of equality in Europe and to show that struggles are ongoing and incomplete. The title ‘Footnotes’ emphasizes the object collection as evidence, additional support, critique, alternative perspectives, diverse insights and anecdotes that supplement academic readings.
The exhibition was curated and produced with the support of Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, in Utrecht, NL. The design is the work of Rotterdam-based design collective Cookies.
THE GRACE Project is an ‘Innovative Training Network’ within the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Programme. The GRACE project enquires into the ways cultures of equality are made and remade within and at the borders of Europe. In the largest cross-European collaboration of its kind, involving 15 researchers and a wider group of 100 scholars based in over 10 countries, we have for the past three years systematically investigated what ‘equality’ means in the European context today. These studies range from the examination of documentary cinema, theatre, poetry slams and science fiction, to a focus on women in boxing, disabled and trans visual poetics and the analysis of the role of social media and reproductive health apps in social change. Together these studies provide a unique lens through which we can think about the processes and practices, as well as the challenges and dilemmas, that create, enable and contest cultures of in/equality.