Brown Bag Talk: Creative Research Design for the Resistance with Bri Wiens & Shana MacDonald

Thursday, February 27, 2020 2:30 pm - 2:30 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

event poster

This research talk draws on new materialist and intersectional, trans, and queer feminist modes of social inquiry to situate all bodies, human and nonhuman, and affects in relations of matter and mattering. Through a discussion of three of our projects–-Reconstruction (2016), Feminists Do Media (2019–present), and Let Us Speak (2020)––we will explore how our existing research creation methodologies developed through our work with public participatory art and have shifted for digital and online spaces. We will outline how these methods help in articulating our goal to engage in work that actively intervenes into racist cisheteropatriarchal dominant structures both online and offline. Our projects are designed with the intent of co-opting the functions of the “master’s tools” (Audre Lorde 1984) via decidedly aesthetic modes of exploratory knowledge production that do not have predetermined, tangible deliverables––what we call a feminist hack. Ultimately, we argue that creative "intra-actions" (Karen Barad 2003) in (non)mediated spaces produce knowledges that need to be more carefully and critically taken up in both the academy and industry. We demonstrate how we do this through deploying social media networks as spaces of critical intervention and resistance.


Bri Wiens is a doctoral student in Communication and Culture at York University. She holds an MA in Communication focusing on Rhetoric and Culture (2016) from the University of Colorado Boulder and a BA in Speech Communication and Women’s Studies (2014) from the University of Waterloo. Her research interests sit at the intersection of critical cultural studies, continental philosophy, intersectional feminist politics, affect, and new materialist theories. Her dissertation work takes up these bodies of research to explore and apply feminist practice as a form of techne to ask about the potential of feminist technologies. As first an activist and second a scholar, Brianna is committed to research that challenges relations of power and systems of domination in the pursuit of social justice.

Shana MacDonald is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo. Her interdisciplinary scholarship, situated between film, media and performance studies, examines intersectional feminist social and digital media, popular culture, cinema, performance, and public art. She is an internationally curated artist who explores the community-building potential of practice-based, site-specific art interventions in public space. She is founder of the Mobile Art Studio (MAS), a transitory creative lab space that brings art out of the gallery and into public participatory spaces. Her creative and scholarly work is committed to finding new platforms to publicly circulate women’s intersectional lived experiences and histories. She has published in leading journals within the fields of feminist and media studies including most recently Feminist Media Histories, Performance Research, Media Theory Journal, and Ada: Journal of New Media, Gender, and Technology (forthcoming).