Emily Larned

Emily Larned

has been publishing as a socially engaged art practice since 1993, when as a teenager she made her first zine. She is co-founder of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA, est. 2008), a union for reflective creative practice, which to date has counted over 400 members in 37 states and 6 countries. ILSSA explores the immaterial working conditions of impractical laborers through participatory projects, publications, and exhibitions. Through her imprint Alder & Frankia (est. 2016), Emily publishes new collaborations and reissues of feminist archival material.

Emily’s award-winning artist books, zines, & publications (including Muffin Bones zine, Memorytown USA zine, Parfait zine, & artist books under her former imprint Red Charming) are collected by over 70 institutions internationally, including the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the V&A, & the Smithsonian, & are exhibited around the world. Her work has received accolades from the AIGA (50 Books | 50 Covers), the Type Directors Club (TDC) (The World’s Best Typography), and the Connecticut Art Directors Club (CADC) (Gold & Silver awards in Book Design, Spirit of Creativity Award). She graduated from Yale School of Art with an MFA in Graphic Design and is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

The book mentioned in the interview is Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser.

A sampling of publications from Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA or Impractical Labor for short). Established in 2008 as a collaboration between Emily Larned and Bridget Elmer, ILSSA is a union for reflective creative practice. As a union for artists, makers, and creative practitioners of all kinds, ILSSA focuses on improving the immaterial working conditions of members. ILSSA publishes contemplative tools and resources; organizes participatory projects, exhibitions, and events; facilitates an annual group residency; and observes an annual holiday, the Festival to Plead for Skills. ILSSA seeks to restore the relationship between makers and their tools, makers and their time, and makers and what they make. Basic membership is free and open to all who which to join. 
Partial view of the installation “Police Others As You Would Have Others Police You,” part of “Who Governs?” curated by Frank Mitchell, Artspace New Haven, October 30-December 12, 2020. Print installation made from the archives of Kay Codish, feminist theater director turned head of the New Haven Police Academy from 1992-2008. In the foreground is a reprint of her 1996 article.

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  1. […] Emily Larned spoke to us from a room in her home in Stratford, Connecticut where she never used to spend much time before the pandemic. Now she does much of her work from this space. Before the pandemic, she had plans in place to travel for research purposes but as it became more clear that her travel plans would need to be put on hold she began to pivot. Over the summer, she learned about the Who Governs? open call at Artspace in New Haven. This led her to research whether there were any feminists who either demonstrated against or worked within the police force in the area. She learned of a woman who not only ran a feminist theater company in New Haven but went on to be the director of the New Haven Police Academy from 1992-2008. Under her direction, the academy became what Larned describes as a socially engaged art school and recruitment practices changed significantly. To hear more about this and Larned’s other work including her role as co-founder of Impractical Labor in the Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA) and more, listen to the complete interview. […]

  2. […] Emily Larned spoke to us from a room in her home in Stratford, Connecticut where she never used to spend much time before the pandemic. Now she does much of her work from this space. Before the pandemic, she had plans in place to travel for research purposes but as it became more clear that her travel plans would need to be put on hold she began to pivot. Over the summer, she learned about the Who Governs? open call at Artspace in New Haven. This led her to research whether there were any feminists who either demonstrated against or worked within the police force in the area. She learned of a woman who not only ran a feminist theater company in New Haven but went on to be the director of the New Haven Police Academy from 1992-2008. Under her direction, the academy became what Larned describes as a socially engaged art school and recruitment practices changed significantly. To hear more about this and Larned’s other work including her role as co-founder of Impractical Labor in the Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA) and more, listen to the complete interview. […]