Close-up of assemblage art, featuring paintings of revolutionary women with live plants

Decolonising Women’s Studies

A series of events exploring the decolonisation of women’s studies.

From 31 May – 21 June 2022 the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University will host a series of events that will contribute to the decolonisation of women’s studies through celebrating the political, literary, artistic, spiritual and reformist achievements of women of colour, especially those who are affiliated with other marginalized communities, such as the disabled, or LGBTQ+ communities.

It will begin with a hybrid interdisciplinary symposium, Bearing Untold Stories from 31 May – 1 June, hosted by the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing.

This event will be followed by a three-week public exhibition at the Lancaster Priory, Queering the Dream, in honour of LGBTQ Pride Month from 11–21 June, sponsored by the Lancaster Friends.

The exhibit will feature the work of Rev. Dr Angela Yarber: a leading LGBT+ theologian and feminist artist.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, Rev. Dr. Yarber will lead a public workshop, Decolonizing Women’s Spirituality, at the Lancaster Priory from 11am – 3pm on 11 June, sponsored by the FASS Decolonising Lancaster University Events Fund.

We hope you will join us in celebrating the lives and achievements of women of color, both virtually and in-person, across the month of June.

If would like to know more about these events, please contact the lead-organizer, Dr Azelina Flint, of the Department of English and Creative Writing.

Registration details are below.

Bearing Untold Stories

31 May - 1 June, Lancaster University

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you”. So wrote Zora Neale Hurston on her 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, a story of the untold lives of three generations of African American women.

Responding to the growing movement to decolonise the curriculum, the Department of English Literature and Creative writing is holding a cross disciplinary symposium celebrating the lives of forgotten women through showcasing research in the fields of literary studies, art history, creative writing, performing arts, history, and area studies.

The event will endeavour to “allow space to what would otherwise be hidden, crossed out, mutilated” (Meena Alexander) by promoting the untold stories of female practitioners whose contributions to influential creative and cultural movements have been obscured on account of their race, sexuality, economic background, or disability, as well as their gender.

The event is open to creative practitioners, researchers, and students of all levels, and will feature the work of Lancaster University students/postdoctoral fellows, independent researchers from across Britain and North America, and museums and archives professionals.

It will be held in LUMS West Pavilion, Management School, LT17, 9am–6pm on 31 May and 11am–2pm on 1 June.

A complementary lunch will be served with coffee/tea on 31st May and a complementary breakfast will be served on 1st June. Livestreaming will be facilitated through MS Teams on both days.

Click here to register for 31st May (either online or in-person): https://lancaster-uk.libcal.com/calendar/english-literature-creative-writing/bearing_untold_stories_day_1

Click here to register for 1st June (either online or in-person): https://lancaster-uk.libcal.com/calendar/english-literature-creative-writing/bearing_untold_stories_day_2

Queering the Dream

11-21 June, Lancaster Priory

An art exhibit and retreat coinciding with Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber’s 8th book, Queering the American Dream.

The exhibit explores how sixteen revolutionary women of colour from history and mythology inspired the artist’s own queer spiritual journey, beginning with the legalization of gay marriage by the Supreme Court and ending with a road trip through the American landscape in search of a revitalized “queer spirituality”.

From Vermont to Hawai’i, family, vocation, grief, and the beauty of the American landscape bear witness to the wanderings of a faithless clergywoman who rediscovers grace in the revolutionary women who paved the way. Their stories will embolden you, too, and if you follow in their wandering footsteps, you just may find your own subversive version of the American dream.

Celebrating revolutionary women from history and myth, this series includes an art exhibit, mini retreat, and book signing benefiting the Tehom Center, a non-profit teaching about revolutionary women through art, writing, and events.

The art exhibit of framed 16 x 20 assemblage art, featuring revolutionary women painting collaged with lived plants, will be displayed from June 11-21 2022. Admission will be free of charge.

All paintings, prints, and books will be for sale in the space and all sales benefit the non-profit Tehom Center.

Decolonising Women's Spirituality

11 June, Lancaster Priory

On June 11 from 11am-3pm, Rev. Dr. Yarber will offer a mini retreat: “Decolonizing Women’s Spirituality”. During the retreat, there will be a presentation, discussion, a guided drawing process, ritual, embodied exercises, guided reflections, and Q&A.

Admission £5.98 (all profits donated to the non-profit Tehom Center). Lunch and Refreshments included.

During the presentation portion of the mini retreat, Dr. Yarber will present an engaging lecture alongside art on the topic of Decolonizing Women’s Spirituality. Deconstructing the role of art in #whitewomensspirituality, she will unpack the differences among appropriation, appreciation, and what it means to engage in spirituality alongside otherwise underrepresented perspectives, in addition to exploring understandings of queerness and queering.

The same quote by black feminist author, bell hooks, that anchors her book, Queering the American Dream, grounds her presentation: “Queer not as about who you’re having sex with (that can be a dimension of it); but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.”

With both decolonization and queering in mind, Dr. Yarber examines what it means for women’s spirituality to be at odds with everything around it, and how, together, we can invent and create places to speak, thrive, and live. After the presentation and discussion portion of the retreat, participants will engage Dr. Yarber’s Intentional Drawing Process.

With creative writing, drawing, embodied exercises, and ritual, “knowing” is decolonized by approaching women’s spirituality with more than written and spoken words. Participants create their own art as a place to speak, thrive, and live differently than merely within #whitewomensspirituality. Following the Intentional Drawing Process is a time of guided reflection, a closing spiral dance, and an opportunity for Q&A before a book signing and pop-up shop of books, art, and prints, with all sales benefiting the Tehom Center non-profit.

Click here to register: Decolonizing Women's Spirituality Tickets, Sat 11 Jun 2022 at 11:00 | Eventbrite

About Rev. Dr Yarber

Rev. Dr Angela Yarber is the author, artist, and founding Executive Director of the Tehom Center, a non-profit teaching organization about revolutionary women through art, writing, academic courses, and retreats.

An ordained clergywoman, she holds a PhD in Art and Religion and has been both a Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, as well as a professor at multiple divinity schools.

Four of her eight books were listed in the Top LGBTQ Religion Books of their respective publication years. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Progressive Spirit, Ms. Magazine, Maya Angelou’s memorial celebration, and on the television show Tiny House Nation. Her recent memoir, Queering the American Dream, was featured in Forbes.

You can learn more about her work at The Tehom Center.

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Supporters

Queering the Dream Exhibition sponsored by the Lancaster Friends and FASS Decolonising Lancaster University Events Fund. Decolonising Women's Spirituality retreat sponsored by FASS Decolonising Lancaster University Events Fund and ELCW’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.