The Feminist Duration Reading Group focuses on under-known and under-appreciated feminist texts, movements and struggles from outside the Anglo-American feminist tradition. The group was established in March 2015 by Helena Reckitt, at Goldsmiths, University of London and relocated in July 2015 to SPACE in Hackney, East London where it was hosted until April 2019. In June 2019, the group began a year-long residency at the South London Gallery focused on intersectional feminisms in the UK context.

FDRG sessions have been organised with Emilia-Amalia at Art Metropole in Toronto; in London at the Barbican Art Centre; Mimosa House, AntiUniversity; as part of The Table at the Swiss Church; and elsewhere in the UK at Grand Union, Birmingham; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea; and Hypatia Trust, Penzance.           

Currently the group meets once a month, alternately on the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm at the South London Gallery, and the second Saturday of the month at 4pm a non-institutional venue.

The FDRG welcomes feminists of all genders and generations to explore the legacy and resonance of art, thinking and collective practice from earlier periods of feminism, in dialogue with contemporary practices and movements.

Working Group

FDRG activities are initiated by a Working Group. Current members are:

Giulia Antonioli, Angelica Bollettinari, Beth Bramich, Lina Džuverović, Lily Evans-Hill, Sabrina Fuller, Haley Ha, Félicie Kertudo, Mariana Lemos, Ceren Özpinar, Sara Paiola, Helena Reckitt, Ehryn Torrell and Fiona Townend.

Contact us:

If you would like to join the reading group mailing list or propose a focus for a session, or invite us to lead a meeting, please contact: feministduration@gmail.com 

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee

Members of the Feminist Duration Reading Group explore Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee in a session led by Morgane Conti (right), 1 May 2018. Photo Helena Reckitt.

Members of the Feminist Duration Reading Group explore Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee in a session led by Morgane Conti (right), 1 May 2018. Photo Helena Reckitt.

Tue 1 May, 7-9pm
SPACE Mare Street
Free & all welcome

Led by Morgane Conti

The May meeting of the Feminist Duration Reading Group centres on Korean-American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee (1982). Notoriously difficult to categorise and define, Dictee has alternately been described as an experimental novel, an autobiography, an ethnic autoethnography, and a work of avant-garde art. Dictee combines registers, poetic and literary genres, as well as languages, including English, French, Korean and Chinese. Through a collage of images and fragmented texts, Dictee methodically disrupts narrative coherence and any attempts to locate an authorial position. At the same time, topics such as nationalism and imperialism, war, sacrifice and regeneration recur giving thematic continuity to the writing. In addition, certain passages include autobiographical details reminiscent of Cha’s own personal history.

Because of its thus disparate tendencies, Dictee has triggered much controversy and polarised commentary between scholars that stress the formal and aesthetic aspects of the text as characteristic of postructuralist subjectivity, and those insisting on Cha’s political position and presence in the text as a Korean-American woman. 

During the session we will read out-loud passages from Dictee and explore questions around voice and the speaking subject. Cha’s evocative and vividly sensual writing offers innumerable possibilities of interpretation that productively work together.

Background Reading
Sue J. Kim, ‘Narrator, Author, Reader: Equivocation in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee’ (2008)

Download texts here & here

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was a performance artist, filmmaker, and writer. She was born in Pusan, South Korean in 1951. In 1961 her family emigrated to the United States where Cha attended a private Catholic high school in San Francisco, the Convent of the Sacred Heart High School. The influences of this period are highly present in Dictee. Cha later went on to study film at the University of California Berkeley and the Centre d’Études Américaines du Cinéma in Paris. In 1982, a week after the publication of Dictee, Cha was brutally raped and murdered. After her death, Dictee quickly went out of print due to its complex style and form. But with the growth of Asian American Studies in the 1990s, the text received renewed critical attention and a new edition was published. Dictee together with Cha’s strong body of work has gone on to inspire a new generation of artists interested in subjects of memory, dislocation and personal experience.

This session of the Feminist Duration Reading Group is led by Morgane Conti, who is currently completing a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, of women artists’ practices of self-representation in autobiographical and literary writings.



The Feminist Practice of Affidamento (Entrustment)

The Feminist Practice of Affidamento (Entrustment)