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Jun 8, 2017

The Joint Annual Conferene of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV & the Society for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Ireland

Artistic representations of HIV in Northern Ireland: how the arts can contribute to HIV awareness, prevention and stigma-reduction in a conservative envrionment

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Alyson Campbell

hiv and performance

stigma

women living with hiv

the arts and hiv

Abstract

Abstract

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Keywords

hiv and performance

stigma

women living with hiv

the arts and hiv

Abstract

Alyson Campbell, University of Melbourne GL RY: a (w)hole lot of woman trouble. The International AIDS conference in Melbourne in 2014 gave rise to a diverse set of cultural responses around HIV and AIDS, including my own practice-as-research performance installation, GL RY, in a public square throughout the six days of the conference. Using the concept of a hole as metaphor for transmission and transformation, it asked what histories, secrets, stigma, information, art, affects might slip through a small hole? In 2016 the work had a new iteration in Belfast for the Outburst Queer Arts Festival. During this time we worked with people living with HIV in Northern Ireland to find ways to convey their experiences safely in a public arena. It took up the challenge from 2014 where, working alongside long-time HIV activist and artist Kim Davis, it became clear that women are particularly marginalized in the public discourses and representations of HIV and AIDS. This resulted in a performance installation in a shopfront in Belfast city centre, focusing on the experience of women and asking for solidarity with women living with HIV through participation. It is well-documented that HIV and AIDS has always been marked by intense stigma. As a way of responding to this, the work in Northern Ireland sought to find ways to put the work in public spaces, rather than in a theatre, and seek conversation with the general public about what they know and think about HIV. The paper argues that art can intercede in powerful ways in public discourses, in modes that other forms of information and education cannot. In creating a sound archive based on interviews with people living with HIV, I suggest that this work could productively be used in therapeutic use in clinics, HIV agencies and medical training.

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All rights reserved.