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Child, D., Reckitt, H., Richards, J., 2017.

Labours of Love

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Third Text
Publisher:Informa UK Limited
ISBN/ISSN:0952-8822
URL:thirdtext.org
Volume/Issue:31 (1)
Pagination:pp. 147-168
Repository URL:e-space.mmu.ac.uk/618562

2017 Third Text. Taking the form of a discussion among an art historian, a curator and an artist, the article explores the assumption that it is love, rather than material gain, that motivates art and cultural workers. Addressing the internalisation of the ideology that one loves one's labour, the interlocutors consider the gendered and class conditions of work in the cultural and academic sectors. Reading 'theory' against 'practice', they reflect on their own work experiences and upbringings, their curatorial research, and their readings of feminist and Marxist theories of artistic and feminised labour. The discussion considers how the precarious conditions of cultural labour today divide and isolate workers, immersing them in antagonism and competition, and how reflections within feminist art history and theory have possibly downplayed the ongoing (rather than historical) importance of class as well as reproductive labour. Highlighting the dangers of over-identifying with work, the three contributors consider the potential of dis-identifying from work roles and from institutional conventions as one strategy that can potentially challenge the exploitation of the self as well as others. The article concludes with a consideration of how 'labours of love' might be collectively revalued and prioritised.