Queer British Art #2 Masculinities

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The second meeting of the Queer British Art sub-group will address the topic of ‘Masculinities’, inspired in part by the Barbican exhibition ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’. Through the medium of film and photography, this major exhibition considers how masculinity has been coded, performed, and socially constructed from the 1960s to the present day.

As suggested by the title, masculinity can, and has been, performed in multiple ways throughout history, challenging the binary and fixed set of ideals traditionally considered ‘masculine’. During the meeting, spread out over several sessions, we will explore how artists have played with and subverted ‘masculinity’ in their work, consider the implications of the language we use, and how we might queer masculinity and the gaze.

How to take part 

Most sessions will take place over Zoom. Full details, invites and passwords will be emailed to those who sign up nearer the time, along with a fuller itinerary.

New to Zoom? Have a look here - https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us

We understand the challenges many of us currently face in balancing professional and home lives, and that virtual events such as this one can be overwhelming and demanding too. We will record some events for later viewing by members unable to join us in real time, but others, owing to the nature of the discussion, won’t be. We hope you can understand our reasons for this.

We will also be scheduling frequent breaks within each session and encourage people to drop in and out as they need to.

Please note, some sessions will have limited capacity owing to their participatory nature and pre-booking is essential. When you RSVP, please can you indicate if you wish to attend all events, or which sessions you would like to book on to.


10 June 2020
10am – 11.15am

Virtual tour of ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’

Alona Pardo, curator of the Barbican’s exhibition ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ will give a virtual tour of the exhibition, followed by a Q+A to draw the session to a close.

11.30am – 1pm
In focus.

A collection of short 20 minute ‘in focus’ talks considering artists who have addressed themes of masculinity in their work, both historically and more recently, with time for questions and discussion.

2.30pm – 4.00pm
Masculinity and Language workshop led by Jon Sleigh

This live session explores with participants their experience of language while engaging with queer art. Here we specifically reference the glossary of terms used in the Barbican exhibition ‘Masculinities’. Together we work to share best practice advice on using the definitions and terminology used in queer art spaces. From this we consider the implications of language on engagement. This session will result in a toolkit for future use by participants and sub-groups to guide their use of language within their practices.

We welcome each participant at the start to introduce themselves to others and briefly (in one short statement please) address the following question –

Provocation: “In your view, how accessible generally is the language used in queer arts and exhibitions?”

11 June 2020
2pm– 3.30pm
Queering the Gaze: panel discussion chaired by Anna McNay, featuring artists Sadie Lee, Campbell X and Aneta Bartos.

This panel discussion will explore a range of topics, including representations of ‘masculinity’ by non-male artists, how such artists have set out to challenge the male gaze in their work, and the possibility of queering it.

4pm – 5.00pm
Queer British Art Happy

Hour Join us for a virtual post-meeting happy hour for a chance to network and take part in our Queer History Quiz, with a copy of the ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ exhibition catalogue up for grabs for the winner.