Sonic Intimacies and Queer Resonances: Rebel Failures: Art, Sex, Politics and the Rebel Dykes

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The underground radical scene in 1980s London and Nottingham was a place for learning, organising and making. From art, sex, and politics, we will go through artistic interventions and methods for social organising to connect the strategies of resistance underpinning all of these.

Starting from the idea of the Rebel Dykes archive as an attempt to ‘capture’ past fragments and flashes of rebellion from the 1980s to the present, this workshop will focus on its DIY nature and the failures inherent in that. The archive centres on a group of working class people who were seen as trouble, to be feared and also ostracised in every facet of public private life. We will look at how the Rebel Dykes archive shows us that resistance is something wider than the sum total of intended acts and their success, as well as give you the encouragement to create your own projects.

The role of humour and subversive DIY tactics in both the Rebel Dykes archive and the practices of Ridykeulous curatorial initiative create the through line for a more expanded focus on rebellion, failure, and ultimately being ‘unsellable’. By bringing the archives up to date, this is a troublemaking approach to public learning based on the bold and provocative lives of the dykes that collectively organised and lived.

This event is part of Sonic Intimacies and Queer Resonances, a programme that explores sonics' transformational qualities and materialises as a series of encounters, as an ensemble of notes and voices, a score to imagine new possibilities of thinking the multidirectional and multilinear pasts and futures. It looks into the embodied and affective connections that arise from encounters across sound waves, an intimacy predicted not by physical proximity but by the commitment to articulating the dynamics of how bodies and voices interact and relate. Bringing together practices that build and tie together politics of representation and sparked a method of listening that centres queer sonic intimacies across time and space.

About the event

Free. Limited Capacity.

Booking is required.

Seating is available.


Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities here.

Speakers will use microphones.

This event is wheelchair accessible.

There are no audio descriptions for this event.

If you have any questions around access or have specific access requirements we can accommodate, please get in touch with us by emailing or phoning 0115 948 9750.

Maria Leonard is Director of the Invented Futures research platform based at Spike Island. She was adjunct lecturer at University of the Arts Berlin, is a course leader at the Bishopsgate Institute, and an independent curator and public programmer with Brecht Haus Literatur-Forum Berlin, Southbank Centre, Liverpool Museums and the Octagon Gallery. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and the Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize 2022, and her writing has appeared in Modern Queer Poets published by Pilot Press, and as part of the Young Company Soho Theatre, at ACUD Theater Berlin and Omnibus Theatre. She was awarded the Goethe Institut Curatorial Research Fellowship in 2023.

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