The Dissident Goddesses Network is an association of researchers and artists who wish to find new approaches to Paleolithic and Neolithic figurines in Lower Austria. Cultural-historical, artistic and feminist approaches coalesce for this very purpose. They aim to raise public awareness of this heritage and to back women in the region in their self-image and self-confidence. Rural Lower Austria might play a crucial role in the ecologically sustainable future and biodiversity of Europe—which might not least be brought about by the achievements of women in rural areas. Aspects such as the question of social, economic, and political roles of women then and now, and the pros and cons of regionality, are paramount to this project.

Lower Austria is known for its excellent archeological tradition, which explains, among other things, its impressive inventory records. This project will see a core team of archeologists from Austria and their international colleagues discuss scientific interpretations of the figurines as well as the role of women in the Paleolithic, the significance of these finds for the modern age and the present day, and their identity-giving function in their historical “afterlife.”

These discussions will interleave with artistic, cultural-theoretical, feminist, and experimental approaches: What does the Goddess say? How does she speak? What is matriarchy? What might the invocation of a Goddess look like today? What does the Goddess have to do with theology? How can the Goddess strengthen women? Do women need a Goddess? Can these figurines be considered art?

The project will be realized in multiple public and internal phases. Central to the public portion are the big conferences spanning several days, the Goddesses’ Banquet, the Goddesses’ Lectures, the Goddesses’ Performances, and the final exhibition curated by project director Felicitas Thun- There will be a number of small publications and one comprehensive book, some documentary and artistic films, a theater performance, and sound installations.

The project is conducted under the patronage of an academic committee and an honorary committee.