Pranks in Contentious Politics

An Interview with Pauline Pantsdown (AKA Simon Hunt)

in Contention

There is often a division between scholarly publication and activist knowledge—something that Sarah Maddison and Sean Scalmer (2005) suggest may be countered by taking the knowledge produced by activists seriously. In this interview, Simon Hunt reflects on the genesis of Pauline Pantsdown, a drag persona that he developed in the late 1990s in reaction to Australian Conservative politician Pauline Hanson, who generated controversy for her racist and divisive views. The introduction briefly considers the importance of activist accounts and contextualizes Hunt’s practice in relation to arts activism and networked societies. From there, Hunt discusses a range of significant considerations for activism, notably the significance of using persona as a means for activism, the affordances and challenges of using social media, and methods for activating participation in a changing media landscape.