Last weekend was the first Feminism in London conference. Charlotte Cooper reflects on the day in this guest post. You can also see Jess’ photos from the day on Flickr
While the word conference would normally rouse feelings of fear and
boredom in me, there’s something about the prefix Feminist that alerts
me to the opposite. As a not-too-internet-based feminist, I miss out
on a lot of the group discussion that takes place in online forums, and
so the occasional trip out to any part of the physical world I inhabit
means I get to catch up on big ideas and debates.
The Feminism in London conference, held on Saturday 11th October, was
run by the ever-swelling London Feminist Network in the iconic Conway
Hall, famous for encouraging free speech and progressive thinking. I
couldn’t really think of a better place to push the feminist psyche.
Though I wasn’t flushed with excitement at the prospect of another
workshop on “what’s wrong with pornography” or 90 minutes on
objectification, there was plenty to be thrilled about. Women and
asylum, masculinities in peace and war and media training workshops
stood out to me – the latter demonstrating the movement’s reaction to
an ever pressing media interest in feminist perspective (perhaps
cemented by the presence of the BBC film crew).
Of the two workshops I attended the women and UK asylum workshop was
interesting and invigorating, and once the group has established the
legal background – the UK screws people seeking refugee status in our
country – we were quickly looking for ways to get active and make a
difference. People were searching for ways to make real positive
changes by buying shares in detention centres to help rock the boat
and volunteering as medical, legal and companion aids.
At the very least, the day offered an opportunity for people to
socialise and build bridges and strengthen the feminist community in
its many guises. But, the best things that occurred was that people
left energised and excited, committed to direct action in its many
forms, and that’s exactly what we need.