equal play is a new commission by artist and educator Albert Potrony, featuring a number of sculptural elements and an immersive gallery design that brings the space to life through play. The project explores themes of non-gendered and non-prescriptive play, and takes inspiration from Dutch architect, Aldo van Eyck, to specifically consider the role of men and childcare in relation to feminism.
Architect Aldo van Eyck’s playground designs strived to find ways to ‘democratise’ the use of public space, giving citizens (young and old) the agency to decide how to inhabit it.
van Eyck was invested in a ‘horizontal’ approach to design; where decisions on how to use the space and its physical elements would be collaboratively shared by its users.
Albert Potrony’s Equal Play installation celebrates van Eyck’s approach. At its heart, is the desire to offer a space for non-gendered, non-directive play, where decision-making is in the hands of its players.
Reading, Resting and Working Space
EQUALITY BEGINS WITH CARE
This open-ended space invites visitors to explore ideas of care and equality through the lens of childcare, and men’s involvement in it. Here you will find a selection of writings, poems and films by members of the Achilles Heel Collective, articles published in their magazine and various materials related to Crèches Against Sexism.
“For a while now, in my practice, I have been drawn to small utopias and movements from our recent past that, in one way or another, have managed to affect some degree of change in our daily lives. I am interested in exploring with others the relevance and possible uses of some of these ideas and strategies to our lives now.
Of special interest to me are the anti-sexist men’s groups that sprang up all over Britain during the 70’s and 80’s. Formed in response to the Women’s Liberation Movement, they attempted to create a space to rethink masculinity and support feminist goals. These were men trying, collectively, to move beyond traditional masculine stereotypes and towards a more sensitive, emotional and anti-sexist way of being.
The Anti-sexist Men’s Movement attempted to support women at a time when most men were explicitly hostile to the growing Feminist Movement.
They offer us a window to look back, in order to move forward.”
– Albert Potrony 2021
Work and Play:
From November 2021 to March 2022 a group of young fathers from the North East Young Dads & Lads project will meet here to work and play with former members of the Achilles Heel Collective, Crèches Against Sexism and artist Albert Potrony.
Together, we will work to produce a compendium, collection or toolkit of ideas exploring and comparing the experiences of some of the men that were part of the Anti-sexist Men’s Movement and the contemporary experiences of childcare and fatherhood of this group of young fathers.