From its inception the network has also been engaged with arts and arts practice as a means of articulating powerful but obscured relationalities of global coloniality in institutional space. Shona’s five year association (first as a research associate and then as Visiting Associate Professor) with the Research Centre for Visual Identities in Arts and Design (VIAD) led by Associate Professor Leora Farber at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa grew out of the South/North collaborations nurtured through the South African based activities of the Challenging Institutional Whiteness project.
This association and the related collaborations came out of shared interests in the development of relational theorising around power and positionalities that dovetailed VIAD’s core thematic: namely, ways in which positionality is key to the workings of power in the formation of racialised and gendered identities and subjectivities in visual representation, as operative in historical and contemporary South African contexts. From the point of view of White Spaces arts collaborations resist the siloing of bureaucratic and feeling worlds as a reproduction of coloniality.
Events, exhibitions and collaborations where WhiteSpaces participated include:
Intimate Archives//Autobiographical Acts: Personal Surfacings as Expressed Through Material Culture
Involvement in these various activities led to three inter-related thematics for further exploration:
1. The role of the visual practices and representation in political transformation, particularly its importance in the everyday resistance efforts of those who do not have institutional power;
2. The interrelationship between differently located trauma and loss to the decolonising impulse, and the relationship of these differences to global colonial relationalities;
3. The methodological possibilities of practice led research in social and political transformation.