Sean Coyle – F**CK IT UP SIS: Representation and agency in the work of FAFSWAG collective


Sean Coyle

Victoria University of Wellington

F**CK IT UP SIS: Representation and agency in the work of FAFSWAG collective

This presentation explores how the Auckland-based Pasifika, queer, interdisciplinary art-performance collective FAFSWAG, through their diverse and radical body of work, have forged a new understanding of creative space making/taking which challenges the prevalent hegemonic art and theatre structures in Aotearoa. The queer spaces they birth and inhabit can be understood as counterpublics, a term made popular by Nancy Fraser and later Michael Warner. Counterpublics offer a space for disruption and resistance against the cultural, societal and institutional hierarchies they inhabit. 

One of FAFSWAG’s key principles is to invoke social change through creative practice by activating spaces that are cutting edge, culturally responsive and socially relevant. These spaces span multiple platforms including both digital and conventional (theatres, galleries, community centres, nightclubs etc) resulting in exhibitions, performances, vogue balls and talanoa (conversation). 

This presentation looks at the history and significance of this collective and how their kaupapa is reinventing a creative future for Aotearoa that is radical, queer and brown. 

Dr Sean Coyle is a performance designer, photographer and theatre lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington. He was previously Head of School at the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) in Auckland for 12 years. In 2018 he completed a PhD at the University of Tasmania where he also lectured in theatre. He has been a designer for theatre throughout New Zealand and Australia for nearly 30 years.