P173 Artistic representations of HIV in northern ireland: how the arts can contribute to HIV awareness, prevention and stigma-reduction in a conservative environment


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Abstract

IntroductionThe International AIDS conference in Melbourne in 2014 gave rise to a diverse set of cultural responses around HIV and AIDS, including my own practice-as-research performance installation, GL RY, in a public square throughout the conference. Using the concept of a hole as metaphor for transmission and transformation, it asked what histories, secrets, stigma, information, art, affects might slip through a small hole?MethodsIn 2016 the work had a new iteration in Belfast for the Outburst Queer Arts Festival. We worked closely with people living with HIV in Northern Ireland to find ways to convey their experiences safely in a public arena. It took up the challenge from 2014 where, working alongside long-time HIV activist and artist Kim Davis, it became clear that women are particularly marginalised in the public discourses and representations of HIV and AIDS. This resulted in a performance installation in a shopfront in Belfast city centre, focusing on the experience of women and asking for solidarity with women living with HIV through participation.ResultsThree new works on HIV and AIDS made in Belfast in November 2016 with collection of data including audience and participant feedback.DiscussionThe paper argues that art can intercede in powerful ways in public discourses, in modes that other forms of information and education cannot. In creating a sound archive based on interviews with people living with HIV, I suggest that this work could productively be used in therapeutic use in clinics and in HIV agencies and medical training.

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