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Talks & Events Information

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IMMA presents a keynote lecture by internationally renowned writer and scholar Sara Ahmed, who offers critical reflection on the role queer methodologies play in disrupting the normative use of our public institutions, with a lecture titled Complaint as a Queer Method.

In continuing her work and participation in wider critiques of utilitarianism as an educational framework to interrogate what is useful knowledge Ahmed’s most recent book What’s the Use: On the Uses of Use (2019) explores what “I call simply ‘queer use,’ how things can be used in ways that were not intended or by those for whom they were not intended”. In the conclusion of the book, she argues that it is not enough to affirm the queerness of use: to queer use often requires a world-dismantling effort. This lecture begins where the book What’s the Use ends, exploring the work of dismantling institutions as the work of complaint. Complaints teach us how institutions are built for some to use, as well as what we need to do to open-up institutions to others.

Building on the powerful blog series ‘feministkilljoys’, Ahmed’s work is inspired by scholars working on questions of race, colonialism, gender, sexuality, and disability who write from or about “bodies out of place”, “misfits”, or “troublemakers”, including Judith Butler, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Aimi Hamraie, Alison Kafer, Heidi Mirza, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Nirmal Puwar, Shirley Anne Tate, Gloria Wekker, as well as many others.

Presented in the context of CHROMA – a public programme that brings together artists, creative practitioners, educators, activists and designers to respond to methodologies of queer thinking and ideas of ‘intersectionality’ and ‘Protest’ as it relates to IMMA’s current programme Desire: A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age; Derek Jarman, PROTEST! and IMMA Archive: 1990s, From the Edge to the Centre.


About Speaker

Sara Ahmed is an independent feminist scholar and writer. Her work is concerned with how power is experienced and challenged in everyday life and institutional cultures. Her books include What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use (2019), Living a Feminist Life (2017), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included (2012), The Promise of Happiness (2010), Queer Phenomenology (2006), The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2014, 2004), Strange Encounters (2000) and Differences that Matter (1998). She blogs at feministkilljoys.com.

The book What’s the Use: On the Uses of Use (2019) published by Duke University Press, draws on cultural studies, gender and sexuality, feminism and Women’s Studies and Queer Theory to suggest queer use as a way of reanimating the project of diversity work and the painstaking task of opening up institutions to those who have historically been excluded. See more details here