Amanda Marie Atkinson
(b.1984, Cumbria) is a Senior Researcher (sociologist), artist, feminist and community volunteer working (Liverpool John Moore’s University) and living in Liverpool.
Taking a critical and feminist perceptive she employs mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative research) to explore and critique a number of cultural spheres such as identity and consumption; media texts, representations and power; intoxication and substance use; celebrity culture; and cultural understandings and experiences of gender.
She is a firm believer that art can be used as a form of political activism. Applying her skills as a researcher she creates accessible art that is methodologically, theoretically and empirically informed to visually question and critique a number of contemporary social, political and cultural issues through the use of word, simple imagery, photography and everyday items. By basing her art works on research and involving the local community in her practice, she aims to gain more detailed, relevant and representative accounts of social phenomena, moving beyond the individual to make more socially relevant and political statements in her work.
Drawing on her own personal experiences, research data and the practices of her research participants, her art work has explored everyday experiences of street harassment (‘Not a compliment’) and the double standards and hegemony inherent in media depictions of the body (‘Hegemonic censorship’). Her recent exhibition ‘Gender Dilemmas: negotiating femininity and masculinity in contemporary night life’ (2016) took a feminist perspective, to explore public drinking environments as commercialised, heteronormative and neo-liberal contexts in which contemporary femininity and masculinity are performed, positioned and reconfigured, and spaces in which patriarchal relations are maintained.
Amanda also recently curated an exhibition addressing the social injustice of homelessness. Entitled ‘Homeless: the human cost of austerity’ the show drew attention to the issue of homelessness in Liverpool, and beyond, in the context of austerity as an ideologically choice, with human consequences. 10 artists/contributors from a number of disciplines (photography, research, illustration, installation, sculpture, poetry and performance) displayed art works addressing different dimensions of homelessness, yet together highlight homelessness as a political issue in need of addressing collectively. Amanda exhibited a number of pieces commenting on women as a vulnerable group for homelessness and homelessness as a feminist issue. She also presented a collaborative piece with Alan Willliams, highlighting the need for creating political art to address social injustice.
She studied sociology and research methods at The University of Liverpool (BA) and The University of Manchester (MRes), and is near to completing a PhD by publication in media, gender and drinking cultures from Liverpool John Moore’s University.