Art played a pivotal part in the forming of my identity. The walls of my teenage bedroom were not covered in 1980’s pop band Duran Duran posters but postcards of art and artists. I am a fan of art. I acknowledge the term fan derives from a fanatical attachment, an unquestioning adoration often of a popular cultural phenomenon, greatly expanded by the use of social media and the internet. Star Trek’s Trekkies, pop music’s Beatlemania, Justin Biebers’ Beliebers. As C. Tate puts it in her article Fans of Feminism ‘To be a fan of something often indicates an over-attachment, an excessive engagement that goes beyond the intellectual (Tate, 2011)’.
Like Tate in her approach to feminism I occupy that space and look at that tension between ‘fan’ and ‘critical distance’ as an educator without abandoning the idea of fan but inhabiting that position which ‘focuses on attachment and desire’ as a point of exploration. In his work on representation Stuart Hall makes clear the emotional component of representation, identity and attachment. ‘Culture is about feelings attachments and emotions as well as concepts and ideas (Hall, 1997, p. xix)’. He reminds us that ‘[i]t is by our use of things, and what we say think and feel about them -how we represent them- that we give them meaning… Meaning is what gives us a sense of our own identity, of who we are and with whom we ‘belong’ (p. xix)’.