DIY 13: 2016 - Jade Montserrat & Ria Hartley ‘The Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement’


Celebrate social media’s power to transform cultural currency into empowerment: a supportive virtual collective and a 72 hour online intervention

Project summary

The Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement will create a supportive virtual collective - a remote coming-together of individuals from a multiplicity of backgrounds in an exploration of social media’s ability to celebrate, support, empower or denigrate.  With expert social media advice, in October 2016 it will launch a 72 hour online campaign in a 21st century virtual recreation of a groundbreaking 20th century social experiment:

Josephine Baker, possibly the first Black superstar, called her 12 showcase children, adopted from the four corners of the world, The Rainbow Tribe. Baker, a freedom fighter with fairytale aspirations, through the Rainbow Tribe, initiated a social experiment performed publicly, mixing celebrity spectacle with political determination. Baker’s family experiment was her simple, flawed, solution to a global problem - how to transcend race. 

Affectionate Movement is a term coined by Jade Montserrat (in a paper for an anthology on gender construction, published by Cambridge Scholars Press) to describe an approach to exploring shifts in freedom, agency, ethics, care, and being in community.

The Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement aims to investigate the implications of Baker's experiment; revealing subtleties, exploring how her exclusive micro-scale model presents possibilities for inclusivity, understandings of negotiation and how different bodies can be together, through Affectionate Movement in virtual space. 

Baker created a new way of operating in space. Time notwithstanding, her obstacles remain our obstacles. In contextualizing her triumphs we can share understandings of our own Affectionate Movement.

Participants will work individually and collaboratively to research and create a series of online interventions - videos, images and texts for an intensive 72 hour online campaign.  Working remotely, but supported by regular online meetings, both individual and group with lead artists and advisors, participants will explore how to harness social media as a tool of empowerment. 

Participants will be challenged to be actively creative, producing, sharing content and publishing their exploration online. 

Through the intensity of this self-reflective, self-creating/producing/publishing enquiry, artists can experience a shift in consciousness as they engage in the concept and contradictions of community in isolation, exploring how different bodies can be together on this global stage. Emphasis is on process rather than production. 

The Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement is not restricted to ‘live’ manifestations but acts as a catalyst for multiple mediated understandings in virtual space. Participants will work through strategies for dismantling systemic oppression in an effort to get to grips with their own power in community. Participants will get an opportunity to interrogate systems of power so public understanding and negotiation of individual value and worth can be mobilized to empower.


Participants will be people who expressly do not see themselves as part of a homogenized society. Participants will be from a multitude of artistic disciplines at all levels of experience whose interest in this is the cross-fertilization of ideas, through exploration of practice in the context of collaboration, engaging with issues of identity politics in an innovative, radical way.

Participants will need basic working knowledge of, and the means to upload image and video content to the internet.

The application asks the following:

  • why you want to participate in the project and what you hope to gain; 
  • and what you feel you can bring to it;
  • how and why you currently use social media;
  • link to video clip/tweet/photo/other online content (existing or in response) that best introduces your personal understanding of Affectionate Movement;
  • Biog/CV and links to previous practice

Dates, times and location

July - October: individual and collective remote-working, supported by a schedule of online meetings, social media seminars and ongoing private Facebook group. During this supported development period participants will create a series of creative materials for online publication and collectively devise the October social media campaign. 

October w/c 17 or 24 October (TBC): intensive 72 hour social media campaign

December  3rd: DIY picnic, London - first physical meeting of the Rainbow Tribe

NB: time commitment is negotiable and participants will receive a one-off token honorarium for contribution

This DIY is supported by hÅb.

The artists

Jade Montserrat is a research-led visual artist whose practice progresses through performance and includes publishing, painting, film, collage, print, sound, installation. Performing the body is a political tool used to articulate the ideas and ideals of freedom underpinning The Rainbow Tribe. The Rainbow Tribe looks at freedom: of expression, of speech, to actively participate as community, especially within a rural context, covering sex and sexuality, gender, race, class, celebrity, mass identity, colonialism, civil and human rights and the role of recording and preserving history.

Ria Hartley is an interdisciplinary artist, working across the field of contemporary performance; devised theatre, site-specific, durational performance, live art, installation, video, one-to-one, photography and socio-political performance. Hartley's practice pays close attention to memory, identity, human relationships, and shared narratives and often invites participation and exchange between artist & audiences, seeking to blur the relationship between performer and audience, space and situation in order to open new spaces of thought and exchange. Overall, Hartley's practice is a contextual life enquiry exploring the embodiment of liminality and intersecting identities and how these can be activated as political sites of radical agency, action, empowerment and possibility. 

Part of DIY 13: 2016 Project List