New Exhibition Explores Gender Relations in Bars & Nightclubs

biennial-flyer-AA-frontArtwork by University of Leicester researchers is to be featured in a new exhibition exploring gender relations in night life drinking spaces.

The piece of art, in the form of a beer label, will be on display as part of the Liverpool Biennial art festival in an exhibition called ‘Gender Dilemmas: Negotiating Femininity and Masculinity in Contemporary Night Life’ which runs from 26 – 28 August in Road Studios in Liverpool.

The exhibition, curated by artist and senior researcher Amanda Marie Atkinson, aims to draw attention to public drinking environments and commercialised neo-liberal contexts in which contemporary femininity and masculinity are performed, positioned and reconfigured.

Combat-and-cocktails-1It will explore a number of important issues present in such heteronormative spaces; the pornification of night life and the mainstreaming of pole/lap dancing clubs; young women’s negotiation of intoxication in the performance of the ‘hyper-sexual’ self; the sexist nature of alcohol advertising; sexual content; alcohol hegemonic masculinity and ‘stag nights’; and the public bathroom as a public/private sphere in which the gender binary is reinforced.

The beer label, designed by Dr Clare Gunby from the University of Leicester’s Department of Criminology in collaboration with Dr Anna Carline in the Leicester Law School and Stuart Taylor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University, will feature in the donation bar at the opening of the exhibition.

The bar compliments one piece in the exhibition which comments on the sexist nature of alcohol advertising e.g. sexist beer labels such as the House of Commons bar favourite ‘Top Totty’.

It will consist of alcohol with alternative marketing, produced by women and the feminist community (including men) and all money raised from the bar will be donated to The Homeless Period, a voluntary organisation providing vulnerable women in Liverpool with sanitary items.

Combat-and-cocktails-2Dr Clare Gunby, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Leicester, said: “We hope that our contribution to the exhibition will highlight the tensions between sexually aggressive alcohol advertising, victim-focused crime prevention messages and the emotional labour women invest in trying to reduce their perceived vulnerability, when out in the evening.”

Dr Anna Carline, Senior Lecturer in the Leicester Law School at the University of Leicester, added: “The exhibition is a great opportunity to engage with the public about the gendered dynamics operating within bar and club spaces and to do that in a non-traditional academic way.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public and runs from 6.00 – 9.00pm on Friday 26 August and 12.00 – 5.00pm on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August in Road Studios, 69 Victoria Street, Liverpool.

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