On 3rd May Bergen Kunsthall will host the last of a series of gatherings that have grown out of collective research and dialogue as part of the ongoing project ‘Hvileåret: hvile, vest 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 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 project at Bergen Kunsthall has continued to explore “the ally” as an individual position and institutional one through collective thinking, dialogue and questioning. The workshops are 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 texts and exercises from Lola Olufemi, Kehinde Andrews, Theodore Kerr, Akwugo Emejulu and Leah Bassel, Mun Yah Lee and others. The first two workshops have gathered those working as activists, community carers and those using their institutional access to enable change to join the project as co-researcher. We have explored the language used around activism and how this can encourage performative allyship, the now exhaustion appears in community care work, the strings, conditions, gaslighting and excuses that come with institutional allyship and the tactics we develop that enable hope, imagination and change to crow.
Hvileåret has looked at the links between activism, dedication, exhaustion and education and how the need to constantly educate and argue for the value of the work you are doing can be isolating and steal time and energy. We have discussed the balance between education and changing a system that doesn’t serve everyone and focusing on building new, nurturing structures within. Through these gatherings we have gained new perspectives, ideas and tools by turning away from education and towards support and community. For the third gathering, the co-researchers are inviting others working as activists, community carers and those using their institutional access to enable change to join us for support, community and developing tactics of survival together. Through the third event, we will share some of the research from previous ones, get to know each other’s practices, get to know about different projects and initiatives in Bergen and how they organise, and share a meal together.
If you are interested to attend, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org