Public

AUTO//FICTION

9 July 2019 | In conversation with Beatrice Gibson, Sally O'Reilly, Tanya Augsburg and others: 10am – 5pm

9 July 2019 | AUTO//FICTION Exhibition, Dyson Gallery PV: 5.30pm

9 July 2019 to 12 July 2019 | Exhibition continues

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Free but registration is required

A research led event organised by the Speaking of Her RCA Research Network.


Speaking in the first person or adopting the position, within a text, of an ambiguous merging of author and protagonist (Nabokov, Borges, Lessing, Woolf) has, in recent times in academic discourse (Palmer, Cattle) and literature (Kraus, Nelson, Smith, Berlin), had a resurgence. In art practice, literature and academia there is a re-emergence of thinkers who utilise non-normative writing methods to challenge the role of traditional language. This resurgence is creating revitalised discourse around pertinent questions such as:

  • What is the place of fiction in academic writing?
  • What theoretical frameworks does auto-fictional writing offer and/or restrict?
  • How can autobiography transcend the personal?
  • Is the ‘I’ gendered?
  • What is phallologocentric discourse and what is its place in art and literature today? How can it be challenged?
  • If there is a renewed call to ‘ecriture feminin’ for the 21st century, what might that look like?  
Drawing from ideas stemming from New French Feminist theory (Helene Cixous, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva) and looking to contemporary authors (Sally O'Reilly, Maggie Nelson, Chris Kraus) as well as leading artists who explore identities of self in their work (Charlotte Prodger, Beatrice Gibson) we are initiating a conference to invite practitioners, writers, academics and researchers to create inter-disciplinary discourse around writing and making in auto-fiction.

In issuing a call for papers, abstracts, art practices and performances we invite artists and researchers from all practices to come and be part of shaping this conversation. 

Suggested themes may include but not be limited to:

  • autobiography – bearing witness and telling stories
  • autoFiction – Where does 'I' end?
  • the ‘I’ that is not me – writing as another
  • altar egos / Multiple personalities
  • memoir
  • naval gazing
  • the restrictions of ‘Me’
  • the gender of ‘I’?

Open call for presentations and exhibition to autofiction@rca.ac.uk by May 20, 2019


Sally O’Reilly

Sally O'Reilly writes for performance, page and video, interleaving academic research and technical knowledges with the comic, the fantastical and the psycho-social. 

Besides contributing to several art magazines and numerous exhibition catalogues, she has written the novel Crude (Eros Press, 2016), the libretto for the opera The Virtues of Things (Royal Opera, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, 2015), a monograph on Mark Wallinger (Tate Publishing, 2015) and The Body in Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson, 2009). 

She was writer in residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (2010–11) and at Modern Art Oxford (2016); producer and co-writer of The Last of the Red Wine, a radio sitcom set in the art world (ICA, London, 2011), and co-editor of Implicasphere (2003–8), an interdisciplinary broadsheet.

Beatrice Gibson

Beatrice Gibson (b.1978, U.K) lives and works in London. Recent solo screenings and exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre, London (2019) Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2015) Statements, Art Basel, (2015) Beatrice Gibson, Laura Bartlett Gallery, (2014). Gibson’s films have screened at numerous experimental film venues and film festivals nationally and internationally including The Rotterdam International Film Festival; Experimenta, The London Film Festival. Gibson has twice won the Rotterdam International Film Festival Tiger Award for short film. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the 2013–15 Max Mara Art Prize for Women and in 2015 won the 17th Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel.

Tanya Augsburg

Tanya Augsburg is an interdisciplinary feminist performance scholar, art writer, and curator who can be occasionally persuaded to perform. She teaches at San Francisco State University, where she is Professor of Humanities.

Her research interests include contemporary feminist art and performance, art writing, feminism, and interdisciplinarity. Her 2019 survey chapter, “Ars Eroticas of Their Own Making: Explicit Sexual Imagery in American Feminist Art,” appears in The Blackwell Companion to Feminist Art edited by Maria Elena Buszek and Hilary Robinson. Her book chapter, “Performing, Again after Bob” is forthcoming in Rated RX: Sheree Rose with and after Bob Flanagan edited by Yetta Howard from Ohio University Press. Her latest book project Feminist Ars Erotica examines how multiple aesthetic strategies and themes prevalent in feminist art and performance have proposed new understandings of eroticism since the late 1960s. For that project she was a finalist in 2018 for a Warhol Foundation Arts Writers grant. Most recently, she served as lead curator for F213, a feminist protest art exhibition that took place in 2019 at Arc Gallery in San Francisco.


This event has been organised by the School of Arts & Humanities. For more information please contact autofiction@rca.ac.uk.