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How We Live Now: Making spaces in the North East with Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gayle Meikle, Dr Harriet Sutcliffe, Sarah Ackland, Natalie Bamford, Louise Mackenzie, Kaajal Modi, Professor Ruth Morrow, Professor Alison Stenning, Dr Michael Richardson, Dr Julia Heslop, Armelle Tardiveau, Daniel MalloORCiD


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For How We Live Now 'Undutiful Spirit' considers site-specific working methods generated through women identifying subject experience. Our latest project is BALTIC Artists Archive Residency, considering ‘the archive’ as a meeting place to think about women's identities, histories, mythologies, and potential civic futures through archival methodologies. Inspired by MATRIX's radical approach to co-design and accessibility, 'Undutiful Spirit' will host a workshop using our current research site, the BALTIC Archive, as our subject. As a centre of contemporary art, BALTIC has been part of the built environment of Newcastle and Gateshead for 20 years. Its instituting has contributed to the area's urban regeneration. The archive plays an integral part in capturing the building's history and the shifting role of artists and art practices in our civic life. By developing a set of principles, the workshop aims to question what kinds of future thinking might an archive adopt to shape and provide value to women's experience of this built environment 20 years from now.The exhibition is an installation of work by the radical 1980s feminist architecture co-operative Matrix, whose four founding members met while students at Newcastle University. The installation showcases approaches to design that aim to empower groups often excluded in the design of buildings, including Black and Asian women’s organisations, community and childcare groups and lesbian and gay housing co-operatives, to explore more inclusive ways of designing, building and occupying spaces. At Newcastle Contemporary Art, the Matrix installation becomes a jumping off point for a display of contemporary projects from the North East of England, which engage with the spatial implications of questions around gender, accessibility, equality and discrimination. Developed in a range of different forums – research, arts, architecture and community activism – the projects are united by a desire to analyse the causes of discrimination in the built environment and effect change.

Publication metadata

Artist(s): Meikle G, Morris R, Sutcliffe H, Ackland S, Bamford N, Mackenzie L, Modi K, Morrow R, Stenning A, Watson S, Richardson M, Potrony A, Heslop J, Tardiveau A, Mallo D

Publication type: Exhibition

Publication status: Published

Year: 2022

Venue: Newcastle Contemporary Art

Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne