A Feminist Memory Bar in the Heart of Toronto

Layla Shioguchi #500 643 103

Entering the Glad Day bookstore, I had no idea what to expect from this final ARTivism Lab Speaker Series called Memory Bar. It featured a series of inspiring feminist speakers, all involved in feminist archival work, activist movements and past tales of struggle as a feminist in their personal lives.

There was a warmth to the atmosphere that enveloped the room. For a room packed with people, it gave a welcoming and accepting feeling as if your presence mattered. I was amazed by the number of people who came out to hear these wonderful speakers talk of their works and struggles throughout their personal life or professional careers. The ARTivism Lab Speaker Series has been able to create a safe space for individuals to speak their mind and has been able to bring people with all sorts of perspectives and interesting stories that others can learn from. Some memorable speakers of the night included Anna Willat’s tale of having a child as a lesbian couple during the 80’s when lesbians were not allowed to adopt or get inseminated, Thirza Cuthand’s short film Lessons on Baby Dyke Theory a tale of a teenage girl finding lesbians to relate to in 1995, and Meg Mackay’s personal story of coming out to her mother.

Prior to taking this class, I saw myself as a feminist but was not involved in a movement or was knowledgeable on the topic. It is a word that is often thrown around in my day to day life, sometimes attached with a negative connotation. After taking this course and having met and becoming introduced to feminist historical archival works as well as more recent works, I feel more confident in calling myself a feminist. To call myself a feminist means to stand or equal participation to end discrimination like sexism and racism, for myself and my other sisters. An introduction to the NFB short film, Sisters in the Struggle struck a chord in me since I first heard it, “If not for in our lifetime, then in sister’s lifetime or my children’s lifetime,” (1). It made me realize that my actions are part of a much bigger picture, and the privileged life I live today is the result of the hardships that my past sisters have gone through. As mentioned by Marusya Bociurkiw in Big Affect: The Ephemeral Archive of Second-Wave Feminist Video Collectives in Canada, there is a significant body of feminist media work is largely unknown and unavailable to the general public (2) and I hope to delve into more works in the coming future. I am part of the bigger picture, to create equality for my sisters around the world, and I aim in my lifetime to create some meaningful impact that would help to ease any problems that they make face today. For this realization, I am incredibly thankful of this class. It is an invaluable lesson that I will carry on with me into the future.



Sources Referenced:

(1) Marusya Bociurkiw. “Big Affect: The Ephemeral Archive of Second-Wave Feminist Video Collectives in Canada.” Camera Obscura, 2006, vol. 31, no. 3, pp 5-12.

(2) Dionne Brand & Ginny Stikeman. “Sisters in the Struggle”. NFB, 1991. https://www.nfb.ca/film/sisters_in_the_struggle/


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