Kiera James Anderson
January 15 - August 15, 2016
University of Dundee
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
Kiera James Anderson is an artist-researcher and activist based between Scotland, and Vancouver in unceded Coast Salish territories. Their research focuses on narratives of trauma and resistance within social movements. They are utilizing a range of methods to explore collective memories of state repression and sexual abuse in the grassroots environmental network Earth First! in Oregon, in the early 2000’s. They are also looking at the privileging of state violence above that of interpersonal violence as it pertains to the Scottish Highlands during the Highland Land War of the late 19th Century. Also known as the Crofter’s War, this was a tenant farmer’s uprising concerned with basic rights to land and protection from the worst abuses of landed power.
Their work explores how forms of collective memorialization allow for the privileging of particular forms of trauma (at the hands of the police or the prison system) over others (such as sexual violence or abuse) within the narratives of social movements. They seek to demonstrate the impact that systemic inequalities have on which narratives are privileged or erased. This is tied to a consideration of the impact that government repression has had on memorialization, and ways those particular acts of memorialization challenge mainstream/dominant forms of representation.
They are also considering the impact that trauma has on the development of collective memories within particular communities, and the need to incorporate this into feminist organizing that is resistant to both state repression and interpersonal violence. Alongside their theoretical research, they are also carrying out creative work and community engagement activities to promote previously marginalized narratives. They have been working with younger generations of Earth First! activists to help them gain a fuller understanding of how survivors have been silenced in the past, in the hopes that this can strengthen current efforts to challenge abuse within social movements.