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, Lina Džuverović, Lily Evans-Hill, Sabrina Fuller, Haley Ha, Félicie Kertudo, Mariana Lemos, Ceren Özpinar, Sara Paiola, Helena Reckitt, Justin Seng, 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 

Italian Feminism and the Practice of the Unconscious

Italian Feminism and the Practice of the Unconscious

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Tues 2 Apr, 7–9pm
Free & open to all

Led by Helena Reckitt

If the insights were extraordinarily far-reaching, the amount of suffering and madness that would emerge from this work were greatly underestimated. Paola Melchiori

The April meeting of the Feminist Duration Reading Group looked at the Italian feminist use of psychoanalysis. Refusing to separate individual from collective liberty, or cultural from political aspects of oppression, Italian feminists from the 1970s to the early 1980s used psychoanalysis to research patriarchy’s unconscious operations. Through ‘thinking in presence’ amongst other women, they not only dissected patriarchal knowledge, but gained a deeper sense of their subjective existences and possibilities. In addition to developing feminist approaches to speaking and listening, writing became a key tool, enabling women to find their voices and agencies outside as well as within the collective. Yet this powerful work was not without its challenges and ‘shadow-sides’. The Practice of the Unconscious provoked deep-seated feelings of ambivalence and ambiguity, rivalry, fear, complicity and guilt amongst participants, emotions that prevailing ideologies of solidarity and sisterhood were ill-equipped to deal with.

Paola Melchiori is a key figure within Italian and global feminism, the founder and past president of The Women’s Free University in Milan, and Crinali, the research and intercultural association. She is author of three books, co-editor of seven collections of oral history, and over 70 articles and reports on knowledge creation, interdisciplinary and relational learning, and education. She has produced videos on international struggles of women in Argentina, Iceland and Albania.

Together we read Paola Melchiori, ‘Psychoanalysis in Early Italian Feminisms: The Contributions of the Practice of the Unconscious,’ 2015

Deep Listening

Deep Listening

Kurdish Feminisms, Meeting 2: Sakine Cansiz & Abdullah Öcalan

Kurdish Feminisms, Meeting 2: Sakine Cansiz & Abdullah Öcalan