Looking towards our own event in September reminds me of some of the amazing feminist carnival we attended earlier this year. The Carnival of Feminist Cultural Activism was organised by the University of York’s Centre for Women’s Studies. It was an unequivocally wonderful three days!
Seven of us were able to make the trip and we went down with all kinds of excitement for film-making, bad-art, radical feminist burlesque, the panels on methods from the second wave, queering politics, Iraqi women writers – and – and – and …. the list goes on and on. Rarely – too rarely in fact – have I been so immersed in feminist art, academics and activism. It was everywhere we went – in everything we did – and in everyone we talked to. So much so that it felt like the whole of the university was exploding with feminist activity. To roam around the campus in between events or to the treehouse for lunch was to be surrounded by pockets of conversation and laughter and thoughtfulness. It was both awe-inducing and comforting – like we’d come a party full of people we didn’t know but desperately wanted to meet and become friends with.
In many cases we divided up and went to events on our own – coming back to the treehouse excited about the film we’d made or the poem we’d written. The event was three days long so there was much of that – ‘did you see that session on feminist zines?’ ‘…no but the one on street theatre in Tehran was amazing…’. There was soo much to see and soo much to do that even with seven of us there we didn’t quite manage to cover it all. It gave me the feeling that there is a never-ending sea of feminist activism and art out there to explore – and even now that fills me with excitement!
What I did see had a sort of electric feel to it. So much about the three days seemed to spark new ideas and new exchanges. It made me remember things I’d forgotten and opened up new ways of seeing the world. There was something else too – maybe it was hopefulness – as if the transformative potential we see in feminism was really truly at work there. Like it was a real thing – not a dreaming thing – not a thing for the future – but a way to be in the world today.
I really can’t thank the organisers – Ann, Geneva, Joan and Jo – enough for all their hard work. I loved being there and my memories of it fill me with a sort of giddy excitement – like I can’t quite convey in words how exciting it was – so I just sort of ramble on and smile and laugh and make big hand gestures as a way of saying ‘look see – see – it was WONDERFUL’!!