In April 2021 artist Alex Wilde and Ailie Rutherford met with six inspirational
women working in care roles and for social change in Govan.
We talked with women about formal and informal care, paid and unpaid labour
and personal reflections on how we care for each other, our communities and
our society. These women are passionate about the communities of people they
support and are involved with; in hospitals, community gardens, social justice
projects and housing campaigns.
Reflecting after a year of covid "lockdown" where our usual methods of
collective caring have been taken away we wanted to know how
these women; activists and carers had adapted in the face of deepening
inequalities, social separation and collective anxiety. At a time when "care" has
never been more widely discussed, what existing networks of community care
have endured and what new models of care are emerging? We were interested in
exploring the intersection of care and activism and understand how women
were working towards social change.
We talked about how would we would like care to be valued and organised
differently, and what new ways of organising we need now for a better reciprocal
system of care. How do we care better for each other, ourselves and beyond our
familial or romantic bubbles? And thought about the new systems, networks and
ideologies we need now to do this work.
The conversations we had with the women and each other, made us feel like we
need to explode the idea of the family unit and abandon the idea of monogamous
care in order to implement care for our wider world and communities. We felt a
great sense of urgency to change an uncaring system, which continuously
expects women to fill in the gaps.
Drawing on our own experiences and listening to the experiences of women who
live and work in Govan involved in collective care, caring far beyond their
immediate bubbles, a set of ideologies and demands evolved for centering a post
pandemic recovery on care.
The resulting diagram (a visual manifesto) pull together some of the key themes
and ideas we discussed with the women we interviewed, turning them into
demands for change. Our simple diagram could never convey the depth and
richness of each conversation but we hope it goes some way to highlighting the
incredible work and vibrant intellect of the women who so generously gave their
time to these conversations.
This manifesto has been created in a short space of time, with physical distancing
challenging our usual methods of a socially engaged practice. It is raw and
imperfect but reflects the urgency of the need for change.
Produced in spring 2021 for a commission by Fablevision for a project Wovan in