A LIVING ARCHIVE AND THE ETHICS OF COLLECTIVE THINKING
While “Doing Feminism in the Pandemic” may be generative of forms of public collective feminist expression (articles, manifestos, artistic expressions, diaries, logs or journals, to do lists, recipes, instructions, survival strategies, spells, poems, hundreds, tweets) it is not intended itself as a public archive. It is envisioned rather as a space for fumblings in the dark, for processing, for letting experiments take root, for thinking aloud, for rambling, for chasing a thought, for sharing, for building networks, for thinking collectively.
Because of this, “Doing Feminism” is not made up of material to be made directly public without the explicit consent of all participants. It is not a parallel social media platform. It is not primary data for research projects. It is a resource, but it cannot be mined. It is a space for open-plan thinking, without immediate ends or results. It is not knowledge mobilization, even though it may lead to forms of public expression.
Participating in “Doing Feminism in the Pandemic” is thus bound by an ethics of collective thinking among all participants, an ethics of care towards the thoughts that are shared there. Because it is a fertile ground where all kinds of things may grow, it may bear fruit in any participant’s practice and committed thinking; it is the hope of the project that it does in some way or another. To do this, however, requires robust consent structures, and committed acknowledgement of the project and the space in which those ideas, practices, terms grew, a discussion of the ends and outputs of “Doing Feminism” for the collective as a whole. After all, “Doing Feminism in the Pandemic” seeks to undo conventions of authorship, work, knowledge mobilization, productivity, and legibility, sensitive always to the unequal pressures participants face in claiming different forms of labour and outputs. These ethics of care require ongoing conversation among participants, in a spirit of co-citizenship and mutuality.
“Doing Feminism in the Pandemic” is conceived as a collective, process-based living archive. Based on the Slack platform, it invites in-process reflections, “hundreds”, keywords, conversations, prompts, and encounters amongst its participants. It is organized around four streams: “The Crisis was Already Here” (#thecrisiswasalreadyhere), “What does COVID-19 teach us?” (#emergentmodels), “What is the ‘Everyday’ of the Pandemic?” (#theeveryday), and “Reading Space” for sharing links, articles or other material (#whatimreading). Each stream includes some preliminary thoughts and questions to begin an open, process-based, collective conversation.
Alongside the living archive, the Feminist Media Studio is organizing a series of Zoom conversations, artistic prompts, and roundtable discussions with members of numerous communities (academic, artistic and activist) vital to doing intersectional, antiracist, queer, and decolonial feminisms, which participating FMS members can attend, and which will form a vital part of the living archive itself and its various collaborative contributions.