By Rebecca Watkinson – 500768931
The ARTivism Lab Speaker Series; Laboratory of Feminist Memory Bar
On Tuesday April 10th, 2018 the RTA 893 class had the pleasure to experience their last class trip to The ARTivism Lab Speaker Series. This speaker series saw the presenters follow the concept of the Laboratory of Feminist Memory Bar. The event took place at Glad Day Bookshop which was a perfect setting as it is specializes in LGBT literature.
The event started with the host Meg Mackay telling the story about coming out to her mother. I felt very connected and inspired by her as she is a woman of mixed race. She explained that she is half Indigenous on her mothers side but did not elaborate on her fathers side. It was just a very nice thing to see someone that I was able to relate to in mixed Indigenous race being successful in life. Meg then introduced the first part of the event called Things Feminist Activists wrote (Or DiD) When They Were Younger (Part 1).
The Activist that I enjoyed the most from this section was Anna Willats. A brief description of Anna in the BlogTO article about her states; “Anna Willats approaches life through her political filter: from the serious, like her 19-year stint working at Toronto’s Rape Crisis Centre, to the social, like dancing in Caribana as a mischief-making Blue Devil, splashing revellers with blue paint” (Toronto Through the Eyes of Anna Willats). Anna told the story of her experience of trying to start a family with her partner when things were very difficult for same sex couples to due so. Anna explained that during the time her and her partner were starting to venture into the process of starting their own family they discovered a program in which they could collect sperm to conceive their child. This process was very extensive as Anna and her then partner had to collect the sperm from the donor and use syringes for insemination. after about 12 months they became pregnant with their first child. This story was such an amazing story as it showcased and put into perspective the struggles same sex couples had to endure and may still have to endure.
After Anna were many more amazing stories and works created by amazing people. Lessons in Baby Dyke Theory by Thirza Cuthand was an amazing video showcased at this event. The bio of this video from Vimeo explains that; “In 1995 when Thirza Cuthand was 16 she felt like the only lesbian at her Saskatoon high school. This turned out to be untrue, but the lack of visibility in her high school coupled with the lack of representation of Queer teenagers in the 90’s made her make her first video, a comedic short about teenage lesbian loneliness and trying to bribe classmates to come out with the promise of candy” (Lessons in Baby Dyke Theory). This video showcases the feelings that Thirza felt during that point in her life and feeling like she was the only lesbian. This video can and did hit home for a lot of people as some may be able to relate and understand the feelings of being alone and not having anyone to look up to or relate with. below is the Video by Thirza Cuthand.
Curfew for Men is the last piece of work I would like to bring to attention. Curfew for Men is a film created by my classmates who had the honour of presenting their work in this event. It was this film was a feminist remediation project they had completed that was built off of the works from feminist who created a fake government policy for men over the age of 13 to participate in a curfew. It was so great to see my peers being able to present their hard work and share in their passion.
This was such an amazing event that showcased so many amazing stories and works created by feminists. It was such an honour to participate in this class and learn about something I am very passionate about. A final quote that relates to this whole class and event post that I believe is very fitting to go out on is by Tania Bruguera. she states the following; I’ve seen the short-term and long-term impact of education. I’ve seen how people change, how knowledge changes how they carry themselves. As an artist interested in social change, I vouch for education, 70,000%. I believe that education is the solution to all problems (Education is always about the future: An Interview with Tania Bruguera). I would like to thank my professor Dr. Marusya Bociurkiw and TA Calla for showing up to class and being passionate while teaching us. As Education is key to understanding the world and community you live in, Marusya and Calla did a great job in inspiring me in continuing my education in this field.