Sunday, November 7, 2010

Forthcoming Exhibition. 'Protected Characteristics' curated by Jack Tan

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15 - 19 November 2010
11am to 5.30pm daily
Free Admission
Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU
Public information:

Protected Characteristics is an exhibition marking the introduction of the Equality Act in October 2010. The exhibition brings together artists' responses to the Act and features video, sculptural, photographic and performance works.

The Act introduces a duty for public bodies to eliminate discrimination and victimisation against people who have a 'protected characteristic'. The duty also requires public bodies to advance equal opportunities and good relations between people who share a 'protected characteristic' and those who do not.

The exhibition examines the ideas of characterisation, categorisation, the politicisation of personal traits, and the identification of cultural and social value. The Equality Act identifies core human ‘characteristics’ that it aims to protect in law, these are Age; Disability; Gender Reassignment; Marriage or Civil Partnership; Pregnancy and Maternity; Race; Religion or Belief; Sex; and Sexual Orientation.

Policy questions have been raised about these categories and their impact on the community and the diversity of the equalities sector. This exhibition aims to bring these questions into the arena of art, giving artists the opportunity to make connections between social policy and its presentational value and ask different questions. What happens when we categorise?  What is the force in a face, the body or in a characteristic? What is the nature of protectiveness as an aesthetic or relational characteristic?  What does art tell us about inequality or diversity that law or policy does not?

The exhibition has been organised by the RCA Student Support Officer with the Students Union as part of DiverseRCA, a series of public events that examines different strands of human rights.

Curated by Jack Tan, all the exhibiting artists are RCA graduates or staff and include: a special commission by Gaea Todd, Dick Jewell, Helene Uffren, James Green, Jessie Brennan, Jo Longhurst, Karolina Raczynska, Mark Hayward, Matthew Pagett, Mia Fernandes, Nicolas Myers, Nina Mangalanayagam, Rachel Louise Brown, Robin Bale and The Methods Lab (Yanki Lee with students from RCA design departments and Media, Art & Design Facility, Genk, Belgium).

A programme of talks and discussions will also take place during the exhibition. Visit the DiverseRCA webpage for more information:


For further information or images please contact: Sue Bradburn, RCA Media Relations on 0207 590 4114 or e: