Speaking out: Survivors, artists and public services against gender violence

Created by Dr Nicole Fayard, Associate Professor, School of Modern Languages, University of Leicester

Curated by Dr Nicole Fayard and Stella Couloutbanis, Art Curator, Embrace Arts Centre.

The ‘Speaking Out’ project at Embrace Arts, the University of Leicester’s Arts Centre, brings together artists, survivors, support organisations, and local communities to creatively explore transcending gender violence.

There is an urgent need for a wider debate about the magnitude of gender violence’s effects on survivors and society at large. The focus on extreme cases in the news reduces the awareness of ‘everyday’ forms of violence such as domestic violence and other behaviours affecting children and women particularly and everywhere. The scale of the problem for disabled victims is rarely debated.

Speaking Out proposes to address the difficult issue of gender violence by moving the debate forward and offering a positive contribution to social policy. With a focus on the survivor’s perspective as the creative subject without victimising, blaming or seeking to hit back, the aim of Speaking Out is to enable a significant shift from ‘victims’ as the object of voyeuristic discourse to survivors as the arbiters of their own selves. To achieve this, we are calling for meaningful collaborations between artists, anonymised survivors, local communities, support groups and policy-makers to encourage social change. It is hoped that the opportunities for resource- and information-sharing we provide will help remove barriers to isolation.