Welcome to Interviewed, a series of interviews and conversations with creators of all kinds.
Today we’re joined by my friend Rach from The Gallective. Before Rach gets into explaining it better than I ever could, I want to briefly mention that we’ve known each other for a whole 5/6years now. We met when we were 16/17 at college, long before I began this blog, long before Rach started the Gallective.
Here we are in 2017 doing our thing online and we’re able to collab a bit with it. To me that’s totally rad!
D: Tell me a bit about the Gallective.
R: The Gallective is an ever-growing space for the discussion of modern day sexism, sexual assault and rape, and the importance of feminism. No issue too big or too small. It’s built on submissions from any and all, discouraging the incorrect exclusion of men that can sometimes be the message that people think feminists stand for.
My main aim with The Gallective is to promote the therapeutic benefits of talking about and creating around experiences and opinions.
D: What prompted you to begin this discussion?
R: Sexual harassment is something myself and most of my female friends have been tolerating for bloody ages. Last year a really important friend of mine confided in me about a particularly severe incident of sexual assault she had gone through. As you would imagine, hearing that someone I love had gone through that upset me to a large extent. Like I said, harassment is something most of us come to expect, but with regards to assault and rape I was under the illusion we’d come so far.
But I was so wrong. After that stories and occurrences around me just seemed to increase and increase, I figured if I was unaware to the prevalence, were a lot of others?
D: People don’t talk about these things because society as a whole has a very ‘victim blaming’ perspective, it’s inspiring to see you stand up.
R: The whole element of victim blaming can skew people’s perception of the relevance and severity of the issue. It’s completely understandble; the idea of being courageous enough to report an incident of sexual assault to only be blamed and guilted is completely off putting. It shouldn’t be this way.
D: It takes a lot to ‘bare’ yourself on the internet like this, do you ever feel nervous talking about such a subject when people inevitably ask personal questions?
R: The idea of putting yourself out there online, or in person, despite the anonymity of the internet is a massive deal. I kind of hope to make it seem less steep via the submissions on The Gallective. The idea that the more we talk about it, the less stigma and more positive change we will see.
I get slightly apprehensive when talking about it to people I don’t necessarily know well, and even more with the peopel I do know and respect, due to the chance I get some off hand, ignorant comment along the lines of ‘oooo you’re a feminist’ or ‘oooo don’t you just hate all men?’ or ‘Boys will be boys’. Thankfully it’s not something I’ve experienced yet, with regards to the Gallective everyone has been super supportive.
D: What is it that keeps you working hard on this project?
R: Simply put- I give a shit.
It’s just something I’m passionate about. My motivation to start it may have been because of someone close to me, but we should care as equally and deeply about anyone it happens to, regardless of whether we know that person.
Too often we have to make something relevant to us to understand it, often we hear ‘imagine if that was your daughter, sister or mother’. Even though statements like that try to make instances of assault or harassment more comprehensible, it still minimises our contact with it. So the Gallective makes other people’s experiences and opinions just that bit more accessible so people can really see the breadth of the issue.
D: What has been the most shocking thing you’ve realised/come across in doing this?
R:The frequency of incidents of sexual harassment and abuse gets me every time
D: It must be scary hearing how prevalent it is, however it’s good your turning it around into an expression of art and defiance.
R:Thank you! I’m constantly amazed and grateful for the wonderful submissions I receive. It’s great seeing people use creative expression in a positive and healing way
D: It’s such a nice project! Do you have any standout moments thus far? I ask this knowing you have tons, that’s well cool.
R: I think the exhibition (a physical art exhibition held in Liverpool) has definitely been a highlight so far! I loved the challenge of taking what has been created online, and physically interpreting that. It was also a fab opportunity to talk to a whole range of people who came to view it on opening night! It was great to hear everyone engaging in conversations, and exchanging opinions, on the topic of sexual abuse and inequalities of today’s society.
D: It looked so amazing, I’m so sad I couldn’t make it! Amazing that this went from a concept to a full blown exhibit in no time.
R: I know I’m still a little shell shock about it myself!
D: Is there anything you’ve found really hard about running the Gallective?
R: The logistics of uploading submissions and formatting things on the website (parts of which are getting a makeover, oooo) is pretty time consuming, and I often forget to update the Instagram! But I honestly love it all. It’s great sourcing and receiving the things i show on the Gallective!
D: It’s a big task! What future plans do you have?
R: Pennies providing, maybe another exhibition somewhere else. And I’m always on the hunt for creative collaborations (hint hint). Just to continue spreading and sharing the message and love really!
D: What things, people, whatever have been big influences on the way you’ve done this?
R: I tried to keep the concept as original as possible so I didn’t and haven’t really looked too much at other things. I had a lot of ideas when setting up so just spent a lot of time planning and playing around with thoughts! And still am!
D: What one thing would you like people to take away from the Gallective? What do you want its legacy to be?
R: I guess just the point that you can turn something negative into something beautiful and positive. And that you don’t have to feel alone. Basically that people are kick ass and can get through the worst of times by talking and sharing, and hopefully in doing so we can bring an end to bullshit sexual/gendered inequality and abuse!
Big thank you to Rach for joining us and for doing what she’s doing! Check out her Twitter, the Gallective on Instagram and the Gallective online.
Catch up on last week’s interview here, and all of them here!