The Three Graces?
Since antiquity, the Three Graces have been widelyrecognised symbols of delicate beauty, youthful mirth and charming elegance. Often portrayed as intertwined, composed in a chain-like form in paintings and carved out of the same marble in sculptures, these figures represent an amalgamation of qualities that defined feminine grace for more than two millennia. They are considered within Greek mythology to be the divine offspring of Zeus, the King of the Gods, who, in his frequent depiction as a mature, sturdy man and an embodiment of strength, represents the antithesis of the Graces’ youth and ephemerality.Perhaps this gap in the binary between the old man and the young women is where contemporary practitioners might locate themselves in order to activate wider discourses of empowerment, equality, gender, identity and well-being in a constantly changing environment. This intersection creates a liminal space wherein qualities such as strength, activism and advocacy can collide with empathy, compassion and affection, redefining what is considered as ‘graceful’.Such intersections can also be activated within our spatial environments, by locating and constructing spaces that hold, encourage and make room for new graces. Therefore, the AA Interprofessional Studio (AAIS) will dedicate the 2022–23 academic year to addressing this topic, by seeking spaces that challenge and offset conventional criteria.Discussions will unfold around the text Trés Mulheres Com Máscara De Ferro (Three Women with Iron Masks) by the Portuguese writer Agustina Bessa Luis, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2022. To widen our research, AAIS will team up with a number of academic collaborators including The Teatro Aberto in Lisbon, the Sustainable and Environmental Design programme at the AA and IUG Institute at the Bergische University Wuppertal. Together, our task will be to develop an environment in which we can embrace new concepts of grace and enduring notions of beauty. Our collaboration will culminate in a two-week festival that will take place in Lisbon in June 2023.