I was proud to be a part of the M/other event at the Wheeler Centre. The whole weekend was a dream program with so many amazing people discussing the politics of motherhood and parenting. I cannot recommend enough that you watch the sessions once they are up online on the Wheeler Centre website.
I had the pleasure of talking about the body as it relates to pregnancy and post-partum as part of a panel with April Helen-Horton (The Bodzilla), Frankie Valentine and Eleanor Jackson. I could have continued the conversation for hours. There just isn’t enough frank, truthful discussion about how our bodies change when we give birth or the ways that our bodies are controlled, perceived and judged in this era of our lives.
I write about being a disabled person, artist and parent. It’s rare, though, that I get to work as a disabled producer putting together an event about disability and for the disabiity arts community. In producing Meeting Place I have finally been able to do this.
Meeting Place is Australia’s annual form on arts, culture and accessibility. It is held annually and brings Deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists with disability together with industry leaders in an accessible and supported space, to present, perform, discuss and debate the latest in arts and accessibility.
This year Meeting Place took place as part of Alter State Festival, presented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Access Victoria. I was able to bring together artists and arts workers I have long admired such as Caroline Bowditch, Gayle Kennedy, Elvin Lam, Joshua Pether, Fayen D’Evie, Fiona Tuomy, Kath Duncan, Larissa MacFarlane, Meret Hassanen, Renay Barker-Mulholland, Robert K Champion and Eliza Hull for workshops, panel discussions and performances. I hope it was as enjoyable for the participants and audience as it was for me.
Yesterday an idea that has slowly germinated and grown finally reached full bloom. Our first Feminist Family Salon took place with a sold out audience and over 100 people watching the live stream of our event.
Our guests Joyce Watts, Nelly Thomas and Amy Gray spent the better part of two hours talking with me about feminist parenting and the many aspects that we consider as we go about the business of helping our kids navigate the world.
If you would like to watch the panel it is available as a Facebook video. Within the next month I will have it captioned so that our hearing impaired and deaf community members can enjoy it as well.
It was frustrating not to be able to get too deep on some of the territory we ventured into, but as my co-creator Pia and I knew, there is too much to explore to ever feel like you’ve done it justice.
After such a resounding success for our first panel we’re keen to get our next event happening soon. There are a list of topics sitting there tempting us, so as soon as we can find the right venue (if only Farouk’s Olive could fit more people in!) we will be back with a new question to interrogate and a new panel to get our community thinking.