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Preview: Undressing Identity – exhibition and micro-symposium

Monday 30 September brings something a little bit different to Blackpool.  Sophie Fuce, of SEE, has curated an exhibition and mini-symposium on feminist subjects which will take place at the Palatine Road campus of Blackpool and Fylde College.  Undressing Identity is an exciting step for the town in terms of academic debate and there is sure to be plenty of interest, both locally and further afield, in the event.  Altblackpool interviewed Sophie to find out what her organisation does and what we can expect from Undressing Identity.

Who are you?
My name is Sophie Fuce and I am the founder and director of Blackpool based education organisation SEE (Self Esteem and Empowerment through Education).

What do you do?
SEE equips students with the skills to critically engage with their environment, helping them to deconstruct society and culture and re-create a world which is progressive and in which they are empowered and can thrive.

Weprovide workshops and events to schools and colleges across the country on subjects that are non-compulsory in the national curriculum but which are integral to personal and social development and rooted in the social sciences; such as, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Gender and Equality Studies, Media Literacy Studies and Body Image.

As part of our Further and Higher Education programme we curate and hold events relating to important social issues and topics.

Where do you do it?
SEE delivers workshops across the country. We are, however, extremely passionate about empowering and supporting local young people, young adults and women of all ages in Blackpool.

Why do you do it?
Education is fundamental in shaping a person’s identity; it informs our belief systems, aspirations, self image and world view. Throughout a child’s school career there is an emphasis placed on core subjects, whilst equally valuable but non-compulsory subjects are dismissed or marginalised as irrelevant or frivolous. This could not be more detrimental to the personal and academic development of young people in education.SEE’s workshops bridge the gap in national curriculum led education and, through exploring topics such as gender, race and ethnicity, culture and diversity, body image and media literacy, aim to equip young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate contemporary society and culture.

In a globalised and technology centric world in which cultures, communities and societies are merging, tolerance, understanding, self esteem and empowerment are crucial ‘key skills’ that every young person should be armed with.

SEE events are aimed at further and higher education students and all adults who are interested in learning about the subjects and key issues we tackle. Each event is focused on a specific topic, with the format reflecting the subject matter. Past events have included ‘About Face’, a photography exhibition; ‘Alternatively Abled’, a sports event for disabled young people; and academic conferences.

What else should we know?
Workshop programmes are flexible, we have a number of programmes available which can be tailored to the school, college or youth group’s individual needs and aims. We offer one off workshops or a number of workshops broken down into modules, which we deliver over a longer period of time. Workshops are interactive, utilising group tasks and group discussion in addition to individual tasks.

What are you doing next?
SEE’s upcoming event on Monday 30th September at Blackpool and the Fylde College is titled Undressing Identity. The event is aimed at students and guests aged 16+, and will combine an art exhibition and micro-symposium, merging visual and verbal language to create a comprehensive dialogue on women, agency and the media. Undressing Identity will dissect the harmful disconnect between diverse, authentic female identities and the ‘one size fits all’ media representation.

The work in the exhibition will serve to illustrate a range of concepts and ideologies based on the representation of women in the media, whilst the co-existing micro-symposium will provide theoretical discussion. Speakers are both local and from further afield, offering insight from a range of backgrounds and viewpoints including local community groups, national organisations, education and research.

Undressing Identity will explore key issues such as: the hyper-sexualisation of girls and women; the ‘Beauty Myth’ and body image; gender roles and the deconstruction of cultural expectations of femininity; feminism; consumer capitalism and the ‘new’ agents of power and control; ‘lad’ and rape culture; the rise of casual sexism. The event will investigate the lack of agency women have over their bodies and identities, and look at the relationship between the mass media, capitalism and female subjugation.

What should we do?
Get connected – Follow SEE on Twitter @see_org. Also follow affiliated project ‘Love You Project’ @LoveYouProject. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for updates on the soon to be launched new website.

Also have a read of the press release here: www.see-org.com/undressingidentity.html.

For workshop e-brochures or to ask any questions email [email protected].

Who/what inspires you and why?
University was an enlightening time for me and I was fortunate to have tutors and lecturers that were passionate, empowering and truly invested in their work. Dr Kate Bacon, Ann Marie Gallagher and Tom Smith at UCLAN, in particular, encouraged independent and innovative thinking; they have inspired me greatly.

I am inspired by the women’s communities that have emerged in recent years over the North West. Feminist Webs is both an online and real-world ‘women and girls work space’ that acts as an archive and a resource for practitioners, volunteers and young women involved in youth and community work with young women.

Author Joe Hayman, British Voices, is also an inspirational figure; he is extremely passionate about empowering young people and is currently the director of the PSHE Association.

Although she is often a controversial figure, feminist Naomi Wolf continues to be a prominent source of inspiration through her activism, journalism and feminist discourse. Her strength, poise and confidence are most inspiring, whether one agrees with her viewpoint or not.

 

The SEE/NMP3 exhibition and micro-symposium takese place at Blackpool and Fylde College’s Palatine Road campus, in the gallery, on Monday 30 September, 6pm to 9pm. To be seated for micro-symposium at 7pm.  It is a free event.  Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

 

 

Featured image: Inculcate by Corrine Streetly (2009)

 

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