Credit: Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Art Is Not Enough [Seize Power through Direct Action]"  The New York Public Library Digital Collections . 

Credit: Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Art Is Not Enough [Seize Power through Direct Action]" The New York Public Library Digital Collections

When art is not enough: Activism for the transgender Community

Art in the public sphere denotes discussion and openness, a need to be active, a need to command a space; not just to exist but to live. But when is art not enough? When do we need more?

This symposium, When Art is Not Enough: Activism for the Transgender Community, accompanies Dylan Fox's solo exhibition A Manipulation of Terms at NN Contemporary Art. The symposium focuses in on the aims of Dylan Fox’s artistic practice by bringing together practitioners from the transgender and queer community to contemplate their individual experiences. The day investigates: what it means to be actively queer today, what needs to be communicated to activate a change in how society views gender, and what kind of change that activism strives to achieve. Naturally, this discussion also questions how this activation could be communicated to a wider public, and how techniques of communication can be employed in the public sphere, online, and through the mode of open form.

The exhibition title, A Manipulation of Terms, stems from the overinflated truths within many forms of advertising and signage at British seaside towns. This manipulation, or miscommunication, of facts, is then related back to issues with transgender healthcare; by displacing aspects of seaside iconography, and resituating these in the Midlands, these issues can become relatable to a wider public.

Dylan Fox will be speaking at this symposium, with London based experimental choreographer Malik Nashad Sharpe, London based artist and performer Liv Wynter, and flying in from Canada Montreal based Youtube activist Chase Ross.


Event Programme:

Registration opens at 10:30, all guests must arrive by 10:50.

Introduction by Catherine Hemelryk, Artistic Director, NN Contemporary 11:00-11:15.

Lecture by Chase Ross 11:15-12:00.

Artist talk by Dylan Fox 12:00-12:45.

Break (guests are free to visit the exhibition and get lunch during this time).

Artist talk by Malik Nashad Sharpe 14:00 -14:45.

Closing panel discussion led by Liv Wynter, with Chase Ross, Dylan Fox and Malik Nashad Sharpe 14:45-15:30.

Closing summary and questions 15:30-16:00


About the Speakers:

Chase Ross // Instagram // YouTube // Twitter

Chase Ross is a trans activist, speaker, educator, academic, and YouTuber, from Montreal, Canada. He makes videos about: transitioning, safe sex, mental health (how he overcame depression and anxiety by running), videos reviewing prosthetics and other items geared towards transmasculine people. He is currently studying an MA in Sociology at Concordia University. Chase has presented talks in the Utah, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York, Montreal, and Toronto.


Dylan Fox // Instagram // Twitter

Through a practice that is largely dialogical and participatory, Fox explores the physical, medical, emotional, and social aspects of gender transition; specifically, the frustration felt with inefficient transgender healthcare pathways. His work is hinged on how social constructs effect people, aiming to question and shift these constructs, generating work through social interaction, working with other artists and the public. His participatory pieces are designed to replicate feelings of frustration and lack of control felt through the transition, with a focus on waiting, developing projects where participants endure a similar experience of ambivalence. These works are comprised of, but not limited to, printed matter, found objects, moving image & sound.

Since graduating in 2016 he has been featured in Aesthetica magazine online and holds an award for Best In Show at Free Range in The Old Truman Brewery, London. For the past year he has spent time as an associate artist working with Freee Art Collective on Citizen ShipCity Club, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes. He has also partaken in group and solo exhibitions across the UK.


Malik Nashad Sharpe // Instagram // Vimeo

Malik Nashad Sharpe is a London-based choreographer and dancer making performances under their alias Marikiscrycrycry. Operating with an expansive and emotional choreographic proposition, their work is about the socially radical practice of imagining new worlds; dances that motorise the conditions necessary for possibility and futurity; performances that double as survival rituals; performances that drip with meaning, texturising all the affective and infective material left behind.  Their work integrates pessimism and optimism, minimalism and maximalism, soft and sweet, hyperreal and absurdist ontological propositions with various dance and choreographic practices. Their identity is often central to their work as the site and receptacle of maintained racial and gender based violence, frequently recalling, reneging, and reifying their experiences being Black, Vincentian/Caribbean-American, gender non-conforming, femme, Queer, immigrant with a felt transgenerational history of displacement, alienation, and allostatic load, in order to humanise another possibility, worlds of ulteriorly. 

They have performed their work in various venues across the UK, USA, and Canada, and have been supported by Arts Council England, Canadian Council for the Arts, a-n, Fierce Festival, Hackney Showroom, Chisenhale Dance Space, Live Art Development Agency, and Marlborough Theatre and Pub, and have performed with various artists like Last Yearz Interesting Negro, Rachael Young, Project O, SPIT!, Randy Reyes, Dalston Ballet, amongst many others.  They’ve also taught workshops and courses around their dance practice at University of Illinois (USA), Glasgow School of Art (UK), Otion Front Studio (USA), The Workroom (UK), Gibney Dance (USA), Goldsmiths University (UK), CLOUD at Danslab (NL), Leeds Beckett University (UK), Tate Modern (UK), and School of New Dance Development (NL). Their newest work (in collaboration with Ellen Furey) "SOFTLAMP.autonomies" premieres at Theatre La Chapelle (CA) in April 2018. 


Liv Wynter // Instagram // Twitter

Liv is a queer, working class, female artist from South London. Through her anarchic and punk exploration of language, live performance and text based practice, Liv uses unique forms of story telling to create discussions around class, sexuality, gender, recovery from violent relationships and the rebuilding yourself post trauma. Liv’s work is socially and politically demanding, holding both herself and her audience accountable. Liv’s work demonstrates a fluidity which allows her to move from established art institutions, to youth clubs, community centres and protests all the way to museums with the same committed conviction. Liv uses emotive language without fear and embraces ideas of hysteria as a subversive way to tackle capitalist and patriarchal ideas of how women/femme people should behave.

Liv graduated from BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths in 2015 and has since become a notable voice within the political art scene. She was Artist in Residence at Tate Britain and Tate Modern on the Education Programme for 2017–18, and Artist Facilitator with Indigo Youth at Hackney Museum August 2017–March 2018. She recently led a group show at David Roberts Art Foundation (May–July 17) and completed an Arts Council England funded residency at The Royal Standard, Liverpool in 2016. She is a founding member of WHEREISANAMENDIETA and stands in solidarity with Sisters Uncut, London Anti Raids, Action for Trans Health and any other grassroots organisation fighting austerity and oppression. She is also in feminist punk band Militant Girlfriend.


A Manipulation of Terms by Dylan Fox is on view from Saturday 7 April-16 June 2018 at NN Contemporary Art, Number Nine Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP. NN Contemporary is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11.00-18.00. Admission free. The exhibition is open specially to coincide with the symposium from 10:00-18:00 on Tuesday 10 April 2018.

This project is kindly supported by Arts Council England and NN Contemporary Art.

NN Contemporary Art is support by Arts Council England, Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council, Northamptonshire Community Foundation, The Compton Fund, First for Wellbeing Fund and The University of Northampton

 Credit: Chase Ross

Credit: Chase Ross

 Credit: Dylan Fox

Credit: Dylan Fox

 Credit: Malik Nashad Sharpe

Credit: Malik Nashad Sharpe

 Credit: Yasmine Akim

Credit: Yasmine Akim