Skip to main content

On the Materiality of Feminist Resistance. Textile Agency against Sexualized Violence and Femicides

Event Label
Online talk and book launch
Organisational Units
Education in the Arts
Location Description
Online via Zoom

The annual period 16 Days against Violence against Women* , which takes place in November and December, marks misogynous socio-cultural and socio-political conditions in society. In cooperation with the feminist art space alpha nova & galerie futura (Berlin) , the art scholar Sarah Held organizes a series of events at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, which deals theoretically, artistically and activistically with sexualized violence.

In the context of current developments, nationally as well as internationally, Sarah Held explores the question in her book: How can sexualized relations of violence not only be discussed on a level of visibility, but decidedly generate strategies of agency for those affected by means of artistic and participatory art practices.

It looks at the prevailing social power and violence relationships that create and perpetuate a misogynistic climate in the first place. But it is decidedly about "What's next?" What can the collective we and especially artistic activism do to bring about a socio-cultural and socio-political shift and to change social conditions and create structures of solidarity.

Short description of the book:

Textile handicrafts and feminism have traditionally been seen as a pair of oppositions; likewise, art and craft(ing) are often negotiated as opposites. At least this is what the first and superficial impression evokes. But when the (scientific) view penetrates deeper into the (research) matter, many traditional patterns of perception and points of view prove to be questionable, if not obsolete. The limited attributions of textile handicrafts and femininity are deciphered in Critical Crafting as feminist activism and become a strategy for making femicides visible and for agency building in sexualized violence against women or persons read as women.

The ephemeral textile art interventions form into the resistance of things and agitate in the (partially) public space against sexualized forms of violence as well as the associated social stigmatization of those affected. The book is a feminist epistemological contribution to the study of critical design movements positioned at the intersection of material and visual culture.


Sarah Held, Ph.D., is an art/cultural scientist who researches and teaches as a senior scientist at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and is a lecturer in Fashion/Gender Studies at the Linz University of the Arts. She also teaches on queer-feminist pornography/post-porn at various universities beyond her research focus.

Recent publications:

right-wing attacks - toxic effects. Transformations of the extreme right in fashion, feminism and pop culture . (Ed. with Elke Gaugele) Transcript. 2021.
On the Materiality of Feminist Resistance. Textile Agency against sexualized Violence and Femicides . Metzler, 2021.


Meeting ID: 949 5461 0336
ID code: ?$16&8