WOMEN IN A BOX
A PICNIC WITH SPECULATIVE FEMINIST UTOPIAS
Speculative project, Feminist Utopias, Critical design, Pop-up installation & exhibition
September 2017 - May 2018
Newington Green, London
Project initiated & led by / Ankita Trivedi
Executed as a Major project at Central Saint Martins, UAL, London
towards an MA Narrative Environments degree.
Team involved / Maithilee Suryawanshi, Kirsten Wehner, Rhiannon Williams, Annisa Dyah Lazuardini
Women in a Box was a pop-up installation that explored contemporary women’s utopian dreams and the societal issues against which they were shaped. Taking the form of a ‘picnic’, the installation exhibited a series of intimate self-portraits, in which women spoke of their hopes, struggles and unique visions for a better world.
Inspired by the writings of an 18th-century resident of the site Mary Wollstonecraft, the project opened a conversation about the value of personal experience and the imagination in envisioning women’s lives beyond current social norms. Despite improvements in their social position, many women continue to face significant barriers to equality and self-determination.
By bringing individual narratives together to help foster a new community of feminist action, Women in a Box highlighted some of these challenges and questioned how feminist imaginings of alternate futures might contribute to creating a more just society.
The pilot event took place in Newington Green, which remains historically one of London’s centres of social dissent as well as home to the Unitarian church where Mary Wollstonecraft, also known as the ‘Mother of Feminism’ was active. The idea was to get visitors to think about the normalization of the daily struggles of women living around them and acknowledge the idea that a woman’s speculative imagination is an exemplary expression of her resistance.