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Disabled women at Feminism in London 2015

Video

We were asked to organise a disabled women’s panel at this year’s Feminism in London Conference in October.

A big thank you to Lisa-Marie Taylor, FIL’s organiser, for inviting us!

We did some publicity by having a stall and we ‘re grateful to Annabel, Zara, Jacqueline and Sophie for helping us with the stall!

(Click on photos to get a bigger photo)

Real Media came to do do a short video feature on it – many thanks!

transcript FIL SOF panel (Word doc)

Frances Ryan also wrote a piece for the Guardian on the event A Disabled Woman’s struggle is any woman’s struggle

Obi was kind enough to video the whole event – if you wish to follow it in its entirety

http://bambuser.com/v/5877942

great additions from Nidhi Goyal and Asha Hans Part 1

http://bambuser.com/v/5878073

with Q&A from audience

Individual videos

Asha Hans video

TRANSCRIPT Asha Hans (Word doc)

Nidhi Goyal’s video

TRANSCRIPT Nidhi Goyal (Word doc)

Frances Ryan’s video

TRANSCRIPT Frances Ryan (Word doc)

Becky Olaniyi s video

TRANSCRIPT Becky Olaniyi  (Word doc)

Rebecca Bunce’s video

TRANSCRIPT Rebecca Bunce (Word doc)

Kirsten Hearn’s video

TRANSCRIPT Kirsten Hearn (Word doc)

Thank you all for having taken part in the event!

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Sisters of Frida: Disability & Sex/uality Workshop, Part 1

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Disability & Sex/uality

Workshop, Part 1  

Sisters of Frida invites you to the first Disability and Sex/uality workshop on 19 September 2015 at Unity Church Hall, 1-5pm. This workshop is for self-identified disabled women who want to create a space to talk about disability, sex and sexuality.

The workshop

As disabled women we have a wide range of experiences, positive and negative, around disability, sex and sexuality. Disabled women are sexy, sexual, passionate, loving, caring, desirable, hot, beautiful, strong and much more! Our experiences of sexuality are also affected by different kinds of oppressions as ableism, racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism and age.

This workshop is the first meeting of the project Disability and Sex/uality we are developing. In this workshop we will explore the different themes around sex and sexuality that arise from our experiences. We will also look at what we want to explore more and what work needs to happen to develop this project.

The project

The idea for this project arose from a screening of the documentary AccSex, which showed how a group of disabled women in India experience their sexuality. This project is part of Sisters of Frida. We are setting up this project out of a need to create a space where we can safely discuss our sexuality in a supportive and empowering environment.

Registration

The topics we will discuss can be sensitive, for this reason, please contact us directly to register and discuss participation as this will be a closed meeting: sof.disabilitysexuality@gmail.com. Note that places are limited, please get in touch as soon as possible. Deadline for registration is 6 September.

Accessibility and needs

The venue is wheelchair accessible. There is an accessible toilet, but without a hoist. There is a small room that people can use for quiet-time. Please get in touch as soon as possible if you need BSL, transcription or if you have other access needs. If you have any concerns or queries about the nature of what might be discussed in the workshop and how it could relate to your experiences, please get in touch. This is a peer-support group, we cannot offer professional support.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Date: 19 September 2015

Time: 1pm – 5pm

Where: New Unity Unitarians

Address: 277A Upper Street, Islington, London N1 2TZ

Contactsof.disabilitysexuality@gmail.com

Deadline for registration: 6 September 2015

Accessibility: Please get in touch to discuss your needs

At the Four Fridas!

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Annabel and Eleanor were at the Sisters of Frida’s stall at the Four Fridas, ( excerpt from website below) part of the Greenwich and Docklands Festival.

Annabel and Eleanor

Annabel and Eleanor

The Four Fridas will be a spectacular, outdoor theatre production celebrating the life and work of the legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Audiences will be immersed in a visually thrilling experience, integrating elements of ritual, music, narration, contemporary dance and aerial choreography, played out against stunning video projections in the sky.

Taking inspiration from Frida Kahlo’s lifelong empathy with indigenous Mexico, The Four Fridas will feature a rare opportunity to see the breathtaking ritual flight of the Voladores. The production brings together an exciting creative team led by GDIF’s Artistic Director Bradley Hemmings, including a specially commissioned appearance by Shechter Junior, a new young ensemble of talented dancers from Hofesh Shechter Company, alongside an innovative collaboration between leading UK aerial dance company Wired Aerial Theatre and BAFTA Award winning film maker Tal Rosner, together with film animation by artist Rachel Gadsden. The production is designed by Georgia Lowe with an original script by award winning writer Jay Griffiths, music by BAFTA Award winner Dan Jones and lighting by Olivier Award winning Natasha Chivers

We asked if we could have a stall to give information on Sisters of Frida. The crew there kindly gave us a space at the front of stage and we shared between the cocktail van and the stand which sold Mexican sweets. We had lots of interest and even some friends visiting! We had quite a few enquiries and interest in our badges and postcards.

postcards write to sisofrida@gmail.com if you would like badges or cards

postcards write to sisofrida@gmail.com if you would like badges or cards

badge

badge in two sizes

At 4fridas with Sophie Partridge and friend, Taharah

At Four Fridas with Sophie Partridge and friend, Taharah

Here are some photos from the spectacle!

Four Fridas

Four Fridas spectacle  

Four Fridas

Four Fridas

 

Michelle Daley: Mainstream feminism ignores the voices of disabled women

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This is Michelle Daley’s speech at Disability and Feminism at the WOW Festival

Michelle Daley

Michelle Daley

Thank you for inviting me to speak at this years WOW event.
A lot has changed over the years for women. We now see a few women in leadership roles. And, yes a few women. But this is not equality! Now ask yourself these questions:
1. How many of these women in leadership positions are white disabled women?
2. How many of these women in leadership positions are black disabled women?**
We would struggle to answer the second question. I searched the internet and it did not generate the desired result. I did find information by black disabled women sharing their own personal stories. I can only think that this is their way to get attention out there about black disabled women’s experiences.
Through my engagement with disabled women they have told me that as a black disabled woman the way in which they interact with society is different to a white disabled woman and that their experiences are different. To demonstrate this point I will share an example from a speech I delivered in Scotland last year titled: Lived experience as a BME disabled person. I wrote “when an assessor presents their client’s case to their manager requesting support for extra time above the agreed hours for a Black Disabled Woman to maintain her hair and skin care this is likely to be rejected because of the Managers lack of understanding about Afro textured hair and skin sensitivity and the experience of dryness.”
Many disabled women are having to fight a lonely battle with no one to advocate their experiences and the situation is made worse if you are a black disabled woman.
Really, the situation should not be like this for our disabled women. I say this because, the purpose of the feminist movement is to remove barriers. But, this is not the view of some disabled women. They are of the view that mainstream feminism ignores the voices of disabled women – why?
– There is a lack of understanding about disabled women’s rights
– There is a lack of understanding about black disabled women’s experiences

By excluding the voices of all disabled women results in:
– Agendas failing to address disability issues
– Makes the feminist movement weaker
– Does not help to address discriminatory practices
– Does not help to address the abuse and violence experienced by many of the silent voices

I want to take you back to the opening question to show how through the lack of involvement of disabled women results in poor quality of services and in the worst cases exclusion from society. The feminist movement cannot continue to ignore some women’s voices. Every attempt must be made to address the barriers and bridge the gaps between theory and reality for all women and not just the few.

Thank you!

** I am describing black women as people from African, Caribbean and some Asian descent.

Sisters of Frida’s new Steering Group

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After the AGM in January we have a new steering group. We would also like to congratulate Zara Todd for her new role as Chair of Inclusion London.

They are Armineh Soorenian, Becky Olaniyi, Eleanor Firman, Eleanor Lisney, Lani Parker, Maria Zedda, Michelle Daley, Sarah Rennie and Zara Todd.

These are the topics we would be focusing on this year

Intersectionality
Working with young disabled women
Inclusive sex education and reproductive health
Interpersonal violence and building resilience in ourselves
Partnership working with other groups
Educating society about disabled women’s issues
Fundraising – recording experiences of disabled women
Speaking with pride
Older disabled women

 

Joining the Sisters Uncut Valentine Day’s Revolt – Saturday 14th February

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Two Sisters of Frida joined the Sisters Uncut Valentine Day’s Revolt direct action in London on Saturday which started from Green Park Station.

Eleanor holding the Sisters of Frida banner

Eleanor holding the Sisters of Frida banner

 

We marched to Picadilly in the rain where some laid flowers in memory of women who died as a result of domestic violence. ( We were not able to go up the steps to do it.) We also kept a minute silence. The manifesto was also read out

Sisters Uncut Feministo

We are Sisters Uncut. We stand united with all self-defining women who live under the threat of domestic violence, and those who experience violence in their daily lives. We stand against the life-threatening cuts to domestic violence services.We stand against austerity.

In the UK, two women a week on average are killed at the hands of a partner or ex-partner. The cuts make it harder for women to leave dangerous relationships and live safely. Safety is not a privilege. Access to justice cannot become a luxury. Austerity cuts are ideological but cuts to domestic violence services are fatal.

Every woman’s experience is specific to her; as intersectional feminists we understand that a woman’s individual experience of violence is affected by race, class, disability, sexuality and immigration status.

Doors are being slammed on women fleeing violence. Refuges are being shut down, legal aid has been cut, social housing is scarce and private rents are extortionate.

What’s more, local councils are selling out contracts to services who are running them on a shoestring – putting the safety of survivors at risk and deteriorating the working conditions for those who work with abused women.

To those in power, our message is this: your cuts are sexist, your cuts are dangerous, and you think that you can get away with them because you have targeted the people who you perceive as powerless.

We are those people, we are women, and we will not be silenced. We stand united and fight together, and together we will win.

 

Demands

  • No more cuts to domestic violence services
  • Restore funding that has been cut
  • Secure funding for specialist domestic violence services; this should be ring-fenced* at a national level.
  • Local Authorities to fully meet the demands of their communities, recognising that different women have different needs.
  • Guaranteed access to legal aid for women experiencing domestic violence.
  • Provide access to safe and secure social housing for women who otherwise cannot afford to flee.
  • Panic rooms should not be classified as a spare room under the Bedroom Tax.
  • Safety should not be subject to immigration status; extend access to safe housing to women with no recourse to public funds.
At Picadilly, in memoriam for women who died as a result of domestic violence

At Picadilly, in memoriam for women who died as a result of domestic violence

We took off from there to Oxford Circus where we formed a circle and stopped the traffic, blocking buses and taxis on a very busy junction and women were chanting and shouting for sisters who died from domestic violence.

Sisters stopping traffic at Oxford Circus

Sisters stopping traffic at Oxford Circus

It was good to be there. We hope to be able to join them at their meetings and invite them to our events and campaigns in the future.

 

Sisters of Frida at the Showroom in discussion about identities : Saturday 27 September 3–5.30pm

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at the showroom: people sitting on the floor

 

There is BSL signing 

Sisters of Frida have been invited by Patrick Staff to public discussion events exploring disabled and queer identity, austerity, illness and flexibility. Particularly on Saturday 27th where we will be leading it.

Since summer 2013 Staff has utilised a range of choreographic strategies in order to explore and question how bodies are presented, produced, represented and assessed within the fields of performance, healthcare, technology and labour. This has included research at the Trinity Laban archives; discussions with groups of practitioners, researchers and activists; and physical workshops with other artists, members of local groups such as Opening Doors London (which supports older generation lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) and DreamArts (a youth performance group), as well as public participants. From 20–28 September, Staff will display a series of large format posters on the exterior of The Showroom’s building which will feature an interview between the artist and one of the project’s collaborators. A series of public discussions, led by invited practitioners, will respond to the text in relation to their own work and lives. Invited guests will include the research group Manual Labours, choreographer Hamish Macpherson, members of Opening Doors London and the disabled women’s co-operative Sisters of Frida.

The discussions are free and open to all and will take place outside The Showroom gallery building, 63 Penfold Street, NW8 8PQ on:

Thursday 25 September 3–5.30pm: discussion led by Opening Doors London

Friday 26 September 6–8.30pm: discussion led by Manual Labours and Hamish MacPherson

Saturday 27 September 3–5.30pm: discussion led by Sisters of Frida

http://www.theshowroom.org/programme.html?id=1829