Talk, Course / Workshop

Rebel Failures: Art, Sex, Politics and the Rebel Dykes

24 Sep 2023 2-5pm

Nottingham Contemporary
Nottingham NG1 2GB


The underground radical scene in 1980s London and Nottingham was a place for learning, organising and making. From art, sex, and politics, we will go through artistic interventions and methods for social organising to connect the strategies of resistance underpinning all of these.

Starting from the idea of the Rebel Dykes archive as an attempt to ‘capture’ past fragments and flashes of rebellion from the 1980s to the present, this workshop will focus on its DIY nature and the failures inherent in that. The archive centres on a group of working class people who were seen as trouble, to be feared and also ostracised in every facet of public private life. We will look at how the Rebel Dykes archive shows us that resistance is something wider than the sum total of intended acts and their success, as well as give you the encouragement to create your own projects.

The role of humour and subversive DIY tactics in both the Rebel Dykes archive and the practices of Ridykeulous curatorial initiative create the through line for a more expanded focus on rebellion, failure, and ultimately being ‘unsellable’. By bringing the archives up to date, this is a troublemaking approach to public learning based on the bold and provocative lives of the dykes that collectively organised and lived.

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