Welcome to MAI Issue 4: 'Feminist New Materialist Practice - The Mattering of Methods'

Dearest MAI Readers,

It is not without excitement that we invite you to have a browse through MAI 4—the first ever Focus Issue of our journal and also the first one with its own title.

The articles presented here have been commissioned by our three guest editors, Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths, University of London), Tara Page (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Helen Palmer (Kingston University). About a year ago, they approached leading academics and artists with an interest in new materialisms to contribute to this unique collection.

And, we call this issue ‘unique’ for a good reason: using multimedia platforms to present their often pioneering research and creative practice, MAI 4 authors expand the horizons of available feminist thought, not shying away from their adventurous intent. In fact, editing and preparing MAI 4 for our online audience often felt a bit like an academic escapade. But as we ventured into the unknown, gradually we have become convinced of the great significance of this robust article selection.

Defining philosophies and methods for new feminist work, these contributors introduce ‘entangled research as doing’, and therefore, step out of traditional ways of understanding feminism. Although they often draw on classic feminist discourses, in playful and creative ways, their work pushes the known boundaries and most definitely sparks interest. Broadly speaking, they all excel at examining material aspects of life, showing how patriarchal ideologies and logical rationalisations organise our every day, which we often fail to notice.

Among other subjects, the articles in this issue discuss such activities as painting, clowning, performing, poetry writing, filming, colouring, walking, archiving, and game playing. Yet, they do not separate these social or cultural practices from scholarly conceptualisations, opening feminism to fresh, transdisciplinary approaches. In other words, everyday practice becomes research and vice versa. Uncovering how we tend to take things for granted, MAI 4 contributors encourage us to resist dominant conventions in our study, leisure activities and creative work.

We hope that you will experience the same sense of novelty that we have found in this collection. Perhaps, you’ll even feel inspired to re-think what you do every day and find the freedom to express who you are and where you stand, simply via your interaction with materiality. And, as this issue demonstrates, it can become an act of resistance against oppressive patriarchal ideologies.

Please dig in, and, as says Rebecca Coleman, one of our three guest editors, ‘follow the glitter’!


In Sparkling Solidarity,


Anna Backman Rogers & Anna Misiak


P.S. To get the best of MAI 4, we invite you to start your adventure with reading ‘Feminist New Materialist Practice: The Mattering of Methods’—our guest editors’ introduction to this Focus Issue.

Feminist New Materialist Practice: The Mattering of Methods

by , Tara Page & Helen Palmer

Focus Issue: Intro

Coleman, Page & Palmer brought together feminist academics and artists to examine the relevance and productiveness of the new materialist methods in doing and/or making research. Here, they reflect on the contents of this Focus Issue of MAI.


The Making of the Kremer Pigmente Series: Risk and the Paradox of Digital and Analogue Painting


Critical Reflection

In this visual essay, Bolt ponders on the risks and paradoxes in analogue and digital painting, tracing through the affordances offered by watercolour and iPad painting tools.


What Can Methods Do? Using Drama Methods To Explore Embodiment Of Gender On Campus

by & Julia Coffey

Critical Reflection

Coffey & Cahill work with drama methods to explore with young women their everyday embodiments and productions of gender on their university campus.


Bodies Ad Absurdum and The Queer Clownifesto

by & Helen Palmer

Creative Practice

Chalklin & Palmer explore the potential of queer clowning as a method for feminist new materialist practice.


Glitter: A Methodology of Following the Material


Critical Reflection

Outlining some indicative routes via which glitter might be followed, Coleman considers its material properties and the affects it elicits.


‘Those that resemble flies from a distance’: Performing Research


Critical Reflection

Taking up and following the figure of the fly as it appears in an essay by Jorge Luis Borges and the poems of Aracelis Girmay, Gunaratnam describes experiments with empirical performance developed from qualitative research.


Moving, Shaking and Tracking: Micro-Making in Video, Performance and Poetry

by , Stacy Holman Jones & Jonathan Wyatt

Creative Practice

Harris, Holman Jones & Wyatt’s use their collaboration ‘micro-making’ ethnographic video to write meditations on their method which range across theoretical, methodological, personal and practical realms.


Three Ways of Knowing Failure


Critical Reflection

Anna Hickey-Moody’s focuses on the feelings of failure that are produced through an ethnographic research project involving people of different faith backgrounds.


Holding the Herbarium


Creative Practice

Hunter’s poetic-visual text is a part of an ongoing artistic-research project shaped by a series of encounters with organic materials such as minerals and rocks, algae, and fossilised remains of extinct species.


Feminist Colour-IN: An Aesthetic Activism of Connection and Collectivity

by & Katve-Kaisa Kontturi

Critical Reflection

Donaldson & Konturri reflect on their collaborative Feminist Colour-IN project.


Sensing Smog on Social Media: Rethinking Tracing as the Self-tracking of Originary Humanicity


Critical Reflection

Analysing debates around errors in smog data on Sina Weibo, the most popular social media platform in China, Xin Liu explores how new materialist approaches might refuse anthropocentrism.


Embodied Poetic Methods to Learn Placemaking


Creative Practice

Through individual and collaborative embodied poetic practice, Page enables the capturing, learning and sharing of hidden, subtle ways of knowing and learning place.


JARring: Making PhEmaterialist Research Practices Matter

by & Jessica Ringrose

Critical Reflection

Renold & Ringrose develop a phEmaterialist approach to examine how gender and sexuality matter for children and young people today.


Walking Research-Creation: QTBIPOC Temporalities and World Makings

by & Sarah E. Truman

Critical Reflection

The three research-creation events discussed in the paper disrupt chronological time through queer and trans theories of time, Afrofuturism, and Indigenous futurism and consider time as intensive and inventive.


New Materialisms in The Archive: In The Mode of an Œuvre À Faire


Critical Reflection

Tamboukou asks how to conceptualise the researcher and the archive as an assemblage rather than as separate and independent entities.


Eco-Poetics for a Pluriverse in Transit

by , Larval Rock Stars , Elin Már Øyen Vister & mirko nikolić

Video Essay

This eco-poetics experiment brings other-than-human bodies into conversation with one another, as well as human-like bodies.



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The team of MAI supporters and contributors is always expanding. We’re honoured to have a specialist collective of editors, whose enthusiasm & talent gave birth to MAI.

However, to turn our MAI dream into reality, we also relied on assistance from high-quality experts in web design, development and photography. Here we’d like to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the feminist cause. Our feminist ‘thank you’ goes to:

Dots+Circles – a digital agency determined to make a difference, who’ve designed and built our MAI website. Their continuous support became a digital catalyst to our idealistic project.
Guy Martin – an award-winning and widely published British photographer who’s kindly agreed to share his images with our readers

Chandler Jernigan – a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website
Matt Gillespie – a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work
Julia Carbonell – an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention
Ana Pedreira – a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura
And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey