Getting cancelled by the Craft Potters Association (CPA) is quite a feat. You would think that to earn such an honour it would be necessary to re-enact a Greek wedding at one of its exhibitions. But ceramicist and author Claudia Clare has been told she’s been stood down, despite being booked some time ago to deliver a lecture at the Ceramic Art London event.
The letter Clare received from the CPA reads:
I know what you are thinking — that Clare had planned to talk about something to do with the gender wars, and the organisers, as per usual, have caved into threats from trans activists. However, it would appear that Clare has been cancelled for being a SWERF as opposed to a TERF. A SWERF is, according to the cool kids, is a ‘sex worker exclusionary radical feminist’. In real terms, it actually means any feminist that considers prostitution to be abusive and harmful to women. But the blue fringe mob twists this critique of commercial sexual exploitation to mean ‘whorephobia’, as though we despise and exclude prostituted women rather than pimps and punters.
Clare, an artist of some repute, had planned to give a lecture at the event about her joint project with Women@thewell, an organisation based in King’s Cross that provides support and services for prostituted women. The project in question is a series of pots decorated with images of the women breaking free of the sex trade and fighting back against their own oppression. The lecture would have also included details about the HOPE campaign, led by sex trade survivors who are campaigning to have all criminal records relating to street prostitution expunged.
The survivors that inspired the artwork, many of whom I know, have loved being part of the project. The pots would have been displayed at the event, and the images and words would have been seen by a large audience of artists. The voices of these women have now effectively been silenced.
Clare wants an apology from the CPA, and for them to sign up for training from the Index on Censorship about how to deal with conflict and controversy. She is also asking for a donation to HOPE.
It is obvious that feminism is under siege here, and that the trans activists that managed to get the likes of Clare de-plaformed are the same crew that also hates any critique of prostitution. It really is as if these people are misogynists, and that male privilege is being elevated over the rights of women.
Along with other artists such as Jess de Wahls, Clare is refusing to go quietly. That the CPA appears to have caved into threats from bullies rather than defending an artist who gives a voice to marginalised and abused women, is shameful.