February 6, 2019 - Instituto Susch - Promise No Promises: The Podcast
February 6, 2019

Instituto Susch / FHNW Academy of Art and Design

[1] Promise No Promises: The Podcast. [2] Promise No Promises! Women in the Arts and Leadership, Master Symposium, Art Institute HGK FHNW in Basel, October 2018. Photo: Alice Wilke. [3] Muzeum Susch. Credit: © Studio Stefano Graziani & Art Stations Foundation CH / Muzeum Susch.

Promise No Promises: The Podcast
The Art Institute and Instituto Susch / Art Stations Foundation CH launch a new joint podcast series

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Promise No Promises is a new series of podcasts released by the Women’s Center for Excellency, a research project between the Art Institute at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel and the Instituto Susch—a joint venture with Grażyna Kulczyk and Art Stations Foundation CH. The Women’s Center for Excellency is conceived as a think tank tasked to assess, develop, and propose new social languages and methods to understand the role of women in the arts, culture, science and technology, as well as in all knowledge areas that are interconnected with the field of culture today. Entangled by a common interest in reviewing the role education in the arts plays to define the language and position of women, the research aims to situate crucial historical and current questions, to produce new forms of teaching and debate around the subject, and to publish and explore how this work can be displayed, shared, implemented and generously developed in future, equal coexistences. 

The notion of the voice is a crucial one in the historical development of women’s consciousness and their position and agency in society. How to discern when women are speaking in their own voices goes hand in hand with the question of how to know who we are and doing what we really want to do. The spoken and the unspoken are two dimensions of the inquiry into “Who benefits from our silence or what are the effects and consequences of our voices?”  Mostly unspoken practices of gender-based exclusion and discrimination favor the interests of others. 

Does art education play a role in future forms of inequality? The core liberal values of freedom and equality are at work both in conceiving art education and in the role of women in the Western art world system, but should we seriously reconsider their premises? Are the different art worlds correctly interpreting the impact of labor and the economic structures on the situation women face? How can a woman’s attention to sexuality and to the disparities of power that pervade in heterosexual relationships and in patriarchal cultures be amended? How can this go hand in hand with the radical need to reconsider the identification of sex-class membership that happens at birth and allow for the development of an individual’s personalities and preferences without the coercive influence of any socially-enacted value system? Crossing all these questions lies another: how are all these experiences of gender simultaneously informed by class, ethnicity, race…? Mainstream feminism has historically belittled the voices of women of color, queer women, women of different classes, disabled women, and the other non-normative identities that play a fundamental role in the experiences of women in the world. We are seeing the necessary resurgence of the term “intersectionality,” and the need to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. We know one thing: we must refrain from articulating one singular voice. We need a chorus!

The podcast series Promise No Promises is an ongoing endeavor to address these issues. Produced in collaboration between the Art Institute in Basel and Instituto Susch, they originate from a series of symposia initiated in October 2018 in Basel and moderated by Chus Martínez and Quinn Latimer, with the next edition happening on April 4–5, 2019. Part of the Women’s Center for Excellency, the symposia and the podcasts are the public side of this research project aimed to develop different teaching tools, materials and ideas to challenge the curricula, but also to create a sphere where to meet, discuss and foster a new imagination of what is still possible in our fields. The episodes that are being released today are launching this ongoing series that intends to reach a general audience but also artists in order to create a productive climate of encounter and reflection on the matter. 

With thanks to the Stiftung für Erforschung der Frauenarbeit for their support.

Subscribe to the channel on Apple Podcasts
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Listen/download podcast on the Art Institute's website
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Instituto Susch / Arts Station Foundation CH
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