Over a period of four years I collectively co-produced a series of public events where my aim was to expand ideas about what fat identity, culture and activism could be, and develop the ways in which people might approach fat in a critical way. These events were about creating life-affirming moments, and included a matrix of themes and intersections.
Most of the events have associated blogs, produced by me, which document the organising process, and act as an archive.
The Fattylympics was a fat community response in East London satirising the 2012 Olympics. We wanted to satirise the Olympics because of its effect on East London in terms of gentrification, and the corporate intrusion, militarisation and patriotism of the Games overall. We wanted to draw attention to the ways that sport is used as a weapon in the war on obesity, and has a particular impact on kids. We wanted to do this with style and have a lot of fun in the process. Held in the shadow of the Olympic Park, we had events, stalls, specially-made torches, official mascots, home-made medals, and an anthem composed by Verity Susman and I. Our guest of honour was Erkan Mustafa, known also as Roland, the iconic fat character from the classic children’s TV programme Grange Hill.
Bombarded by Images 2011
I co-produced an artist’s residency at the Researching Feminist Futures conference. As a group, we wanted to take the mickey out of what we see as a cliché that often pops up in discussions about fat: that women feel awful about our bodies because we are constantly “bombarded by images” in the media. We wanted to show that we are also capable of producing our own images and making our own media.
Big Bum Jumble 2010
I co-produced this event with Kay Hyatt, using money that we’d made at the Fat of the Land. As well as offering an abundance of large-sized, cheap, second-hand clothes, supporting independent plus-sized retailers, and producing an amazing fashion show, the Jumble was a project about alternatives to corporatised fatshion, sustainable clothing, a celebration of looking good and showing off, and a great community get-together. We used the Big Bum Jumble to pay for the Fattylympics.
ESRC Fat Studies and HAES Seminars 2009-2011
I was part of a group of people who applied for and were awarded a grant by the Economic and Social Research Council, a government funding body in the UK. We produced a series of scholarly mini-conferences, the first major ongoing expression of Fat Studies in the UK, that were free to attend and open to all. I was responsible for the third event, which focused on fat activism.
The Fat of The Land: A Queer Chub Harvest Festival 2009
Jason Barker and I originated the idea for this wigged-out fat, queer and trans harvest festival, inspired by a small loan by NOLOSE, and we invited Nazmia Jamal to co-produce the event. We wanted to provide an alternative to the usual miserable discourse on healthy eating, and encourage people to grow their own, and participate in community and joyousness. The Fat of The Land was an unforgettable packed afternoon of tombolas, stalls, tea drinking, cake, games, vegetable monsters, allotments, performance, produce competitions, and mayhem topped off with an appearance by a troupe of lady morris dancers.
Invasion of The Chubsters
On 29 March 2009 I co-curated this film show/talk/performance/participatory event at the British Film Institute with Jason Barker as part of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. I blogged a report about it, Christa Holka took some fantastic photographs, and the event ended with an impromptu free-for-all dance takeover to Mama Cass in drag. Find out more about The Chubsters. Wotever World was there and filmed it on their phone.