ArchiveExhibition (online)

Long-covid reading group

1 Jan-31 Mar 2022


Free online sessions led by Rowena Harris exploring texts and thinking critically about long-covid, chronic illness and disability. The sessions will take place on Zoom on the following dates. Scroll down for more information on each session, along with links to further reading.

Saturday 29 January 2022, 10.30am – 12pm
Medical gaslighting and the ethics of knowing

Saturday 26 February 2022, 10.30am – 12pm
Crip time and pacing

Saturday 26 March 2022, 10.30am – 12pm
Brain fog and embracing different ways of knowing 

For their research residency at SPACE, Rowena Harris has been rethinking the term ‘care’ through drawing on their recent experiences of long-covid, and its arrival personally and politically as an entanglement with their existing condition ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) and the socio-political context and feminist concerns that surrounds it. Over three topics and sessions – crip time and pacing; medical gaslighting and the ethics of knowing; brainfog and embracing different ways of knowing – the reading group aims to bring together feminist illness and disability theory, concepts and dialogue in relation to long-covid experiences, and the socio-political terrain in which it is entangled. 

How can feminist disability studies help us to understand long-covid as a personal and always political experience? When so many have been told ‘it’s all in your head’, where is care in the power dynamics of being believed or not in medical encounters? How does the management of life and work through resting and pacing, fit or misfit with the pervading logic of productivity? Can we think of chronic illness in terms of a radical opposition to neoliberal capitalism, and what is failure, then, in those terms?  

The reading group is suited to people who are interested in thinking critically about long-covid, chronic illness and disability. There is no requirement to have prior knowledge of feminist disability studies nor any personal experience. However, people with long-covid or recent related experience that may have provoked new interest in these topics, are particularly welcome to join. As part of their interest and focus, Rowena is exploring virtual spaces and rhythms that support accessible engagements for brain fog and fatigue in particular, and will be working to develop this in practice for the reading sessions.

Each session will begin with a short introduction to the themes by Rowena, and then they will offer selected sections of the texts for collective reading as an impetus for group discussion. Reading the texts in advance is not a requirement, though it is recommended for the most fulfilling experience.

Sessions take place on Zoom, and will last 90 mins with scheduled breaks.
Suggested readings are available to download in advance from this dropbox folder.

Rowena Harris (they/she) is an artist that lives and works between London and Cambridgeshire. Their work explores the themes of chronic illness, disability and structures of ableism, often relating to the contemporary digital landscape, and spans the forms of installation, CGI filmmaking and writing. They are informed by their own experiences of ME/CFS and long-covid most recently, as well feminist, disability, queer and crip theory. Rowena is an AHRC-awarded, practice-based PhD candidate in the Art Department, Goldsmiths College, holds an MFA from the same (2010), and a BA Fine Art from Falmouth University (2008). Recent awards and residencies include the DYCP Arts Council England; Rupert Residency (LT); Sainsbury’s scholarship The British School at Rome (IT). They have recent solo exhibitions with Las Palmas (PT); The Gallery Apart, (IT); Object A; Coleman Projects (UK). And group: Trafó House, (HU); Culturegest, Fidelidade Art Porto (PT); ANGL Collective, Copperfield Gallery, Space In Between, Tenderpixel, The Bluecoat, Bloc Projects, Flat Time House (UK), Agnes Varis Centre, (NY, USA); Fondazione Memmo, Artissima, Galleria D’Arte Contemporanea O.Licini, (IT). 

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