Producing social agency and feminist knowledge in an animation “A short story about feminism in Russia

Mari Johanna Mäkiranta, Outi Kristiina Ylitapio-Mäntylä

Tutkimustuotokset: KonferenssiesitysKonferenssipaperiTieteellinen


The aim of this paper is to examine what kinds of knowledge and political engagement is produced in an art-based animation of Russian women. The animation was produced in 2012 in the art-based memory-work workshop held in Reykjavík, Iceland and Rovaniemi, Finland. Our teaching method in the workshop was based on the memory-work method developed by Frigga Haug (1987). Inspired by Haug, we describe our working as art-based memory-work; our method has a connection in feminist pedagogy, feminist thinking and knowledge. In the workshop, our goal was to create the space for critical thinking and biographical awareness with the respect of differences and shared knowing. During the workshop, we also paid attention on how to challenge normative gender and sexual policies and practices through art-making and recollections. In this paper, we ask what kind of political engagement and feminist knowledge is produced in the Russian women animation? The Russian women animation was made by a female student who studiedin her artistic work the questions of women’s status and position in Russian culture and society. The animation is a biographical story told with drawings, stories and music. It also reflects on aspects on representing women in media, in women’s and men’s public and private lives, and their positions in religious and in educational fields. Our theoretical viewpoint emphasizes the feminist post-structural ideas of multi-voiced knowledge and possibilities to make a difference by art-making and research. In our paper, we consider how it is possible to enhance critical understanding about self and society through art-based narrative. We interpret the animation as a space for political engagement and agency; the animation makes it visible the private and public inequalities of the societies and deconstructs the stereotypes associated in Russian women. In our analysis, we pay attention on the tension between the stereotypical and patriarchal representation of Russian women in the animation and our critical reading of the data. We balance between the questions of “powerless women” and “violent and drunken men” in relation to our theoretical aim to give voice for knowing subjects and political agency.


KonferenssiConference: ESREA – European Society for Research on the Education of Adults Life History and Biography Network Annual Conference


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