The Commitments (The Achilles Heel Project)

Edition of three posters and curated display for Still I Rise, Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 3 - Arnolfini Gallery - 2019

The Achilles Heel Project:
Over the past ten years I have been interested in the gender politics and utopian ideals of the 70s and 80s. During my research into a North London Commune inhabited by a collective of men and women committed to feminism, gay liberation, the peace movement and socialism, I came across a number of archival boxes that contained material related to Achilles Heel, an anti-sexist men’s magazine produced by a collective of men that ran from 1978-99. Achilles Heel aimed to ‘uncouple misogyny and masculinity’ and ‘to challenge traditional forms of male power, supporting the creation of alternative social structures and personal ways of being.’

Here there was a group of predominantly straight men willing to look at themselves and their role in preserving inequality in the rise of the Women’s Liberation Movement. Through further archival research and conversation, I began to trace a network of individuals and collectives who were active in the anti-sexist men’s movement of the 1970s and 80s.

The Commitments:
Between 1979 and 1980, several conversations took place about the potential of the movement to produce a set of Commitments that would address the idea of what being against sexism would mean in practice. Keith Motherson, one of the main advocates of a set of a specific set of Commitments, wrote at the time that ‘it’s frightening to evolve a list which amounts to devolving the power we’ve got.’

The Commitments is part of The Achilles Heel Project. Through excavation and reconstruction, Potrony addresses Achilles Heel by re-visiting some of the intense ideals and arguments within the anti-sexist men’s movement: arguments that, over time, have resonated and reflected the struggle to combat sexism in broader social structures.