Making Spaces is a research project exploring feminist responses and survival strategies during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Welcome to Making Spaces!
As we publish this zine, the UK has begun its ‘roadmap’ out of the third national COVID-19 lockdown. Various levels of lockdown, at a national, regional and local level, have been in place in the UK since March 2020. Lockdowns include limiting free movement and curtailing engagement in social, cultural, sports and other activities. Travel and mixing between households are restricted, and many workplaces, businesses, schools and public spaces are forced to close.
As 10 feminists living in the North of England, our aim in ‘Making Spaces’ has been to use creativity, arts activism and collaboration, to tell our stories about life during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020-2021. It has become clear in these moments of precarity, uncertainty and crisis that those most marginalised in our societies have also been those most adversely impacted by the pandemic. Our project has focused on women, trans and non-binary people marginalised for their gender, in ways that intersect with poverty, ableism, homophobia/heteronormativity, racism and the UK’s hostile environment.
In this project, we have used various ways of expressing ourselves, including writing, art, postcards, online workshops, poetry, photography, video, text messages, Instagram accounts, diaries, and letters. We used these methods to engage with our own experiences of lockdown and to reach out to some of the women, trans and nonbinary people we know across the world. Our work has been guided by the following questions:
1. How do we experience life in spaces confined by Covid-19 lockdowns?
2. What are the precarities – things that make life harder – for us during lockdown?
3. What strategies and resources do we use for survival/ coping during lockdown? How are these being shared? How can they be better shared? What resources do we need to cope?
4. What do we all want the world, and our spaces, to become when we emerge from lockdown?
In exploring these questions, we aim to collaboratively and individually extend knowledge of women, trans and non-binary people’s lives, strategies, resiliences, and aspirations during lockdown. There is much to be learned from our stories and strategies for coping and survival and much remains to be done to identify how societies need to change to provide resources and support. We see the necessity and radical possibilities of feminist responses to connect with people in different geographical contexts to learn from one another, to release and build embodied strategies to cope and survive, and to create alternative spaces, practices and ways of living in lockdown. We hope that you enjoy learning about our (Making) Spaces as much as we enjoyed creating them.
Kani Kamil (kanikamil.com); Zenebu Hailu; Candice Purwin (candicepurwin.com); lisa luxx (lisaluxx.com); Veronika Susedkova (@VeroSusedkova); Dawn Woolley (@dawn_woolley), Nicky Bashall; and Kate Smith (pure/kate-smith), AC Davidson (@acdavids) and Grainne McMahon (@grainnemcmahon) (all three, University of Huddersfield). This list of names includes only those individuals who feel able to reveal their identity. The UK’s hostile environment makes this unsafe for some of our partners.
click to browse through the zine online
Thanks to the University of Huddersfield, School of Human and Health Sciences Strategic Research Investment Fund for rapid response COVID-19-related research seed funding. We extend our thanks to everyone who has contributed to this research, with special thanks to Candice Purwin for the design and layout of the zine and to Veronika Susedkova for the design and layout of the online version.