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International seminar "(In)visible bodies: gender, sexuality and cultural institutions in a New Europe"

2 July 2019


During this one-day seminar, leading international academic researchers, artists and curators explore the dynamics of gender and sexuality, their representations in contemporary art, and implications for cultural workers in the context of the Russian Federation and Europe.

The one-day event aims to revisit and reimagine gender and sexuality for the twenty-first century by considering the notion of queer art and practice. We will examine how the programme of transgressive action and subversive aesthetics is currently being employed by a diverse range of artists, artistic communities and institutions. Their local, translocal and transnational collaborations will be central to our discussion. In addition to surveying these practices, we will point a critical lens at the cultural institutions themselves, enquiring about their role in constructing (in)visible bodies in terms of curatorial practice, workers’ conditions and role of ‘audiences’. The emphasis will be put on ‘a New Europe’, a constellation of countries which experience social and political challenges such as the refugee crisis, the rise of populism, austerity regimes. Some of these countries are EU members; some counties border the EU (Ukraine and the Russian Federation), and others on the brink of joining or leaving the EU (the UK).

The event builds on the success of a seminar held at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow) in November 2018. It explored the dynamics of gender, its representations in contemporary art and implications for cultural workers in the context of the Russian Federation.

The event is organised by Rita Kuleva (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg) in collaboration with Vlad Strukov (Leeds University). It is supported by Mimosa House, an independent, non-profit gallery space in the centre of London that promotes artists interested in gender and sexuality. The event is funded by DAAD (grant operator is the Centre for German and European Studies St Petersburg State University and Bielefeld University), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), and the University of Leeds.


Clare Barlow, curator of Queer British Art, the Tate.

Bridget Conor, Senior Lecturer, King’s College London.

Maria Engstrom, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages at the Department of Modern Languages, Uppsala University.

Nikolay Karabinovich, independent artist and curator, he previously worked as an assistant curator of the Odessa Biennale.

Margarita Kuleva, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Chair of Department of Design and Contemporary Art; Affiliated Research of the Centre for German and European Studies.

Michal Murawski, Lecturer in Critical Area Studies, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.

Vlad Strukov, Associate Professor in Film and Digital Culture at the University of Leeds.

Sasha Obukhova, the Curator of Garage Archive Collection at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

FRAUD (Francisco Gallardo + Audrey Samson) Artist duo that develops forms of art-led inquiry into the multiple layers of power and violence that flow through physical and cultural spaces.

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