Upcoming Events

The Waitresses in Scotland, 1978

Research Lunch – Harry Weeks

  • 26 June 2020
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • This talk will be given online via a Zoom Webinar

This talk will look at The Waitresses’ Performentation by L.A. Women Artists, performed in Edinburgh and Glasgow in September 1978. Emerging out of the Los Angeles Women’s Building, The Waitresses – founded by Anne Gauldin and Jerri Allyn – produced public performance work between 1978 and 1984 rooted in its members’ shared experiences working as waitresses. Here their work will be situated as an essential corrective to a significant oversight in contemporary art-historical discourses on art and labour, which have almost exclusively focussed on the labour that goes into art-making directly, at the expense of consideration of the labour performed outside the field of art which financially supports and facilitates art production. The Waitresses’ practice will be discussed alongside more recent examples of artists producing work informed by their ‘second jobs’, including Shona Macnaughton, Mark McGowan and the low__demand Instagram account. This research sits alongside more sociological research I’ve recently been conducting into art in the gig economy, looking at art practitioners who support their work through ‘second shifts’ in the gig economy.

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About the speaker

  • Head and shoulders portrait of Harry Weeks

    Harry Weeks is Lecturer in Art History at Newcastle University. His research looks at the politics of contemporary art production, with particular focus on socially engaged practices, activist art and the labour of art production. He co-edited the May 2019 special issue of Third Text entitled ‘Anti-fascism, Art, Theory’, which also included his article ‘The Weapons of our Adversaries’ on Georges Bataille’s theorisation of community and fascism. He is currently working on a long-term project looking at art production in relation to the gig economy. He was previously IASH Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-16) and Teaching Fellow (2016-19), both at the University of Edinburgh.