Making the Margins is an interdisciplinary space where collaborative and creative practice from people with lived experience of marginalisation - scholars, students, community members and artists - focus on themes of ‘body, time, and place.’ It is a space for shared experience, creativity and innovation.
The initiative was announced on Saturday (13 July) by Dr Eades at an In Conversation event as part of the QUEERDOM exhibition presented by Making the Margins for Arts House’s Future Assemblies program.
Dr Eades said that by bringing together those who have experienced prejudice with artists, thinkers, and change-makers into a safe, collaborative, and creative space, new ideas are formed, with the potential for social change.
“2019 marks 50 years since trans and queer folk fought against police persecution in the Stonewall riots and the modern LGBTIQ rights movement was formed,” Dr Eades said.
“However, while progress has been made since then, such as marriage equality in Australia, still much more needs to be done to ensure that the voices of LGBTIQ people – and others living on the margins - are heard and brought into the centre of the conversation, not side-lined to the edges.
“Our new creative lab is a way of enabling all of us who live, work, create, and research in/from ‘the margins’ to share their experiences and create something new - with the power to bring about positive change.”
The results will add to what is already a significant digital archive ‘from the margins’, encompassing disciplines from poetry and image-making to online activism.
The lab is working to make this archive visible through the use of new technologies and the linking of established scholarly, community, and arts-based networks.
Making the Margins is being developed in collaboration with independent digital identities scholar Dr Son Vivienne; digital and comparative media studies researcher Associate Professor Anna Poletti at Utrecht University; and Tuvaluan educator, activist, artist and performer Leah Avene.
The digital lab will also be promoted at La Trobe’s regional campuses in Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura and Albury-Wodonga.
“We know that people with marginal identities living in regional communities can be particularly isolated and susceptible to mental health issues,” Dr Eades said.
“It’s therefore especially important that those living in the regions have equal access to our lab space, to the collaborative and creative potential it offers and the change it can bring about.”
Future Making the Margins projects include an international Somatechnics conference in 2021; developing ongoing partnerships with arts, business, and community organisations to deliver creative and strength-based workshops, seminars, and events in digital and embodied spaces; and the creation of new, open-access online resources in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr Eades’s longer term ambition is for the lab to also have a physical presence at La Trobe’s Melbourne campus at Bundoora - accessible to the wider community as well as University students and staff.
The project forms part of Dr Eades’s Tracey Banivanua Mar Research Fellowship, which he was awarded in 2018.
La Trobe established the Tracey Banivanua Mar Fellowships in honour of an esteemed member of the Department of Archaeology and History, who passed away in 2017. The Fellowships support future research leaders who have major care giving responsibilities.
Dr Quinn Eades is a researcher, writer, and award-winning poet whose work lies at the nexus of feminist and queer theories of the body, autobiography, and philosophy.
His work is published nationally and internationally and he is the author of Rallying, which won the 2018 Mary Gilmore Award for best first book of poetry and of all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body.
Dr Eades is a Lecturer in Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Studies in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy at La Trobe University. He is the founding editor of Australia's only interdisciplinary, peer reviewed, gender, sexuality and diversity studies journal, Writing from Below.
Find out more or express interest in joining Making the Margins here.
Photo: Quinn Eades credit: Jamie James.
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