Acatia Finbow

Age: 26 Occupation: PhD Student, Collaborative Doctoral Award Student at the University of Exeter and Tate Place of Residence: London Place of Birth: Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk

Why did you choose this place for your picture?

I’ve engaged with feminism a lot more through visual arts over the last eight years, since I started as an undergraduate student at the University of Leeds. I started learning about all these amazing women artists working across different media. In particular I chose the Suzanne Lacy room in the Performer and Participants gallery because my research looks at performance art and I’ve always been amazed at how many women there are working in that field, doing feminist work. But also women that wouldn’t necessarily identify as feminist but they’re working on women’s bodies or just being pioneers in their own area. Suzanne Lacy’s work spans forty years now and she not only is a woman artist, prevalent in her field, but she also works with other women, to tell their stories or to allow them to tell their stories. So I find her work really interesting from that perspective. I have learned a lot through looking at her work.

How do you express your feminism?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the last couple of years, moving to London, being in a different context and having different opportunities. For me it’s been about becoming more active more recently. For a long time my feminism was about figuring out where I stood and what I thought but now I’ve tried to step that up into actually doing something. I teach English to a small group of young girls who’ve moved to the UK and who don’t speak English as their first language. I’m thinking of ways to help them integrate into their schools so that they can get the education they deserve and go on and do things. This is with an organisation in South London called the Baytree Centre. They do classes just for girls and women that focus a lot on mentoring and helping girls with education but also helping migrants or refugee mums and empowering them to be able to grow in the society they now find themselves in. I’m really interested in equipping girls for the future through education.
I started going to marches recently this year, given the current political climate. I went on the Women’s March in London and to the March on Downing Street against the ‘Muslim Ban’.

When did you first consciously feel like or defined as a feminist? Was there a reason for it?

I think it was when I was at about 13 or 14. We started doing a history of the suffragettes at school. I began to notice some different ways that girls and boys were treated in school. About the same time I decided to be a vegetarian. I was learning more about politics and history and I realised I’m quite a left leaning person. I think it was a convergence, the more I learned the more I was realising these things. Almost a process of growing up. It felt quite natural as a stance to take.

 

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