Image: Robert Sinfield

Image: Robert Sinfield

Free one-day symposium, 1 June 2013
CSM, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA

We are interested in dissent and protest, collaborations between artists and activists, the spectacle of organised protests, the improvised ‘uniforms’ of protesters,  design activism, but also the everyday refusals to conform often expressed through a range of bodily gestures, dress and subversion of spaces and objects.

‘They’re attempting to invent what many call a ‘new language’ of civil disobedience, combining elements of street theatre, festival and what can only be called non-violent warfare…’ (David Graeber, The New Anarchists, 2002)


From counter-cultural art practices to defiant forms of style and dress, the subversive use of social networking to the street theatre of protest, this interdisciplinary symposium considers how aesthetic practices re-imagine and transform social structures, both historically and in the present.

The symposium will explore how dissenting narratives have drawn on material and visual culture to make the case for change. Artworks and screenings; speakers including Occupy London and the curators of the V&A Disobedient Objects exhibition (2014), and:

Practices of Dissent
Britta Schulte (NTU) This is Not a Protest: humour and parody in contemporary protest
Rhiannon Williams (University of Derby) Critical Cloth: needling with the needle
Maria Portugal (Goldsmiths, University of London) Fake Protest: dissenting and non-dissenting action

Spaces of Protest
Carl Fraser (University of Sheffield) Temporary Transformations of the Public Realm
Bill Balaskas (RCA) Expanding the Critique: Hybrid Spatial Practices and the Crisis of Capitalism
Kristine Samson (Roskilde University, Denmark) Becoming Public: critical interventions and emergent practices in Sao Paulo

Sounds of Disobedience
Matt Lewis (Central Saint Martins) Acoustic Dissent: sound as a weapon of resistance and oppression
Elena Marchevska (London South Bank University) The One Who Sings Means Well: self-organised choirs and performative street actions in Macedonia

Protest on and through the body
Anna Bunting-Branch (independent) Shattered Bodies: the slashed Venus and the space of the feminine in the militant suffrage campaign, 1906-1914
Annebella Pollen (University of Brighton) Sandals from Fabians to Feminists: walking your talk in protest footwear

Convened by Jane Tynan and Victoria Kelley; to register contact Victoria Kelley: v.kelley@csm.arts.ac.uk