This spring Bergen Kunsthall will host workshops which have grown out of collective research and dialogue as part of the ongoing project Hvileåret: hvile, vekst og aktivisme (The Fallow Year: rest, growth and activism) by artist Amber Ablett. Over the last year, this research project has been exploring how those who are othered by – or are dissidents of – the dominant social ideology/identity can reframe rest as an active tool for change and growth in our society: one that allows for sustainable, mentally and physically healthy long lasting change and that incorporates flexibility, adaptability and evaluation as part of its framework for growth.
Hvileåret has also been a place to explore the dual position of being seen as the oppressed and oppressor simultaneously, both internally and externally. Within the research project, invited co-researchers have discussed how their identities and privileges intersect and the complexities of being an activist and an ally within different communities.
The workshops at Bergen Kunsthall continue to explore “the ally” as an individual position and institutional one through collective thinking, dialogue and questioning. The workshops will be based around a series of tools, prompts and exercises, including quotes from early research in the Hvileåret project with the four previous guests, Ro Averin, Eva Rowson, Isak Bradley and Vikram Kolmannskog and video and texts from Sonya Renee Taylor, Akwugo Emejulu and Leah Bassel, Mun Yah Lee and others.
The first of three workshops will focus on the ally from the perspective of activists and social justice causes. It will gather those working as activists and community carers within social justice work who will be invited to the project as co-researchers. Through a series of prompts and questions we will use the workshop to explore the role and title “ally”: what place do allies hold in the work that we do? How can the privilege and access of allies be helpful? What is ally fatigue and do we believe it? Are they a distraction and take up too much space?
This will be a series of intimate and intensive workshops over spring and a public event in May to present and share the research. There are some places available for those who are interested in joining the conversation. If you have an activist or community care role within social justice work and questions and thoughts on ally ship, or questions about the workshop, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.