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Feminist future art

A one-day workshop on exploring feminist futures through care, urban planning, and leadership took place on 8 September 2023 at Palace Green, Durham University, organised by Dr Hanna Ruszczyk (Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, IHRR, Durham University, and Gender Responsive Resilience and Intersectionality in Policy and Practice, GRRIPP) and Dr Emma Ormerod (Newcastle University).

This 'Exploring Feminist Futures through Care, Urban Planning and Leadership Workshop' was a provocation and experimental gathering in which Dr Hanna Ruszczyk (IHRR and GRRIPP) and Dr Emma Ormerod (Newcastle University) consider: A) what the UK can learn from Latin American perspectives and experiences with care and urban planning, and B) how we can think about place leadership from feminist perspectives.

A: Engaging with concepts of care
A talk from Olga Segovia Marín (University of Chile) on ‘Urban Planning, Care and Gender Perspective’ outlined a rights-based approach and called for care to be ‘defeminised’. Olga shared her insights from the GRRIPP network.

Belén Desmaison (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, GRRIPP LAC) spoke about ‘Untangling Multidimensional Care and Territories in Latin America and the Caribbean: Learning and Pathways’ deconstructed the terms ‘care’, ‘urban planning’ and ‘leadership’ in relation to the GRRIPP project, outlining that women are not vulnerable but ‘vulnerablised’. Many local groups are self-organised around networks and led by women. A key point from the discussion:

  • Territory in Latin American (indigenous) contexts is an ontological perspective, it is life; it incorporates a holistic understanding of care that intertwines human, animal, environment, well-being, collectivism.

Panel Responses, from Maureen Fordham (GRRIPP), Simin Davoudi (Newcastle University), and Rachel Pain (Newcastle University) provoked a discussion on why care is not often joined with urban planning in our thinking, key points being:

  • Planning recognises justice (as public, rational and universal) and risk, but not care (as a private embodied ethics); care does not order chaos in planners’ thinking.
  • Care can be a feeling, an act and a principle we might consider more in urban planning, especially in relation to ecology, but it is also a contested idea that can be co-opted in neoliberal contexts.

B: Care, Leadership & the Future
Laura Roth (Pompeu Fabra University) talked about learning from the ‘Feminise Politics Now!’ toolkit and questions of leadership in relation to: what kind of leadership we have or need? What is political power and how do we build it?

Emma Ormerod (Newcastle University) followed with a set of questions on what we mean by place leadership and how to see gendered power dynamics within this, does place leadership shape future imaginaries in the North East? A key point from the discussion:

  • Examples of feminist leadership are here, but less visible. How do we see and value this?