In 1969, radical feminist Carol Hanisch wrote a short text entitled ‘Personal is Political’. The title referred to the idea that when you share your personal issues with others in a closed circle, that is, with “your kind of people”, you realise that the problems that you are stuck with are not only yours, but they are embedded in the structures of society. Silvia Federici, an Italian feminist scholar, refers to a group where it is safe to share personal issues with likeminded people as an autonomous group. People take part in autonomous groups willingly. The meetings are not only important to the individuals who participate in the group discussions, but they also have a wide-reaching impact on society (groups that want to keep the issues and values shared within the group amongst themselves are called separatist groups, according to Federici).
In my research, I organise and take part in sessions that are called Feminist gatherings. I am interested in the notions of gathering and sharing; processes where something that touches you personally turns into something political.
We organised two public open gatherings at the Research Pavilion in Venice. The first gathering was held in May 2019 together with Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (KuvA) and Annette Krauss and Tiong Ang (HKU Utrecht) as well as students from both universities. We also did a walk at Giudecca Claudia Faraone (Luav, Venezia) with feminist perspective.
The second gathering was organised with some of the members of our research cell Disruptive Processes and additional participants.