SHAMELESS! FESTIVAL OF ACTIVISM AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE ANNOUNCES EVENT LINE-UP
AN URGENT EVENT FROM WOW - WOMEN OF THE WORLD AND BIRKBECK, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON’S SHaME PROJECT
- A DAY LONG FESTIVAL TO ADDRESS THE GLOBAL CRISIS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE WILL TAKE PLACE AT BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE IN NOVEMBER, WITH TWO DIGITAL EVENTS IN THE LEAD UP
- THE FESTIVAL WILL TACKLE THE STIGMA OF SHAME WITH URGENT CONVERSATIONS RANGING FROM RAPE MYTHS, CONSENT, SEXUAL VIOLENCE ONLINE, THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM, SURVIVAL AND THE UNDERREPRESENTATION OF MALE SURVIVORS
- SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- EMILY RATAJKOWSKI IN CONVERSATION WITH JUDE KELLY ON HER NEW BOOK MY BODY
- WINNIE M LI, LAURA BATES, AND JUMOKE ABDULLAHI ON THE NORMALISATION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
- PROF. JOANNA BOURKE, RACHEL THOMPSON AND SARAH OZO-IRABOR ON RAPE MYTHS AND WHY THEY PREVADE THROUGH OUR CULTURE
- HELENA KENNEDY QC, MANDU REID AND ALEXANDRA FANGHANEL ON HOW AND WHY THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS FAILING VICTIMS
- JUDE KELLY, JACQUELINE ROSE, SOMA SARA AND DR AMY KAVANAGH ON CONSENT
- CAITLIN MAY MCNAMARA, LEAH COWAN AND TABITHA MORTON ON POWER DYNAMICS
- NAOMI ALEXANDER NAIDOO AND JULIA SLUPSKA ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND THE ONLINE WORLD
- CATRIONA MORTON, RACHEL NWOKORO, SABAH CHOUDREY AND TASHMIA OWEN ON HEALING AND SURVIVAL
- FURTHER HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- OLIVIA PETTER, DR MARYYUM MEHMOOD, LUCIA OSBORNE-CROWLEY AND MAMATHA ISHA SUMAH ON NAVIGATING EVERYDAY TRIGGERS
- TANAKA MHISHI AND BEN HURST ON THE HARMS OF MASCULINITY AND UNDERREPRESENTATION OF MALE SURVIVORS
- A PERFORMANCE FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING ENSEMBLE, AMIES FREEDOM CHOIR
- WORKSHOPS ON #METOO IN THE (HISTORY OR THE) ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING AS A TOOL FOR HEALING
- THE FESTIVAL, SUPPORTED BY THE WELLCOME TRUST, WILL TAKE PLACE THROUGHOUT BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE ON SATURDAY 27 NOVEMBER. TICKETS ARE PAY WHAT YOU CAN, ON SALE NOW.
Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence, a one-day in person event and digital programme, will bring together activism and art to confront and change attitudes towards sexual violence, share ideas, and imagine a rape free world. Today WOW - Women of the World and Birkbeck, University of London’s Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters (SHaME) project have announced some of the highlights from this vital event.
Taking place in South London, the epicentre of recent conversations in the UK around sexual violence following the murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard, the Shameless! Festival shines a light on the realities affecting millions of people of all genders across the world. With 1 in 3 women across the global population having been affected by sexual violence, this pioneering event aims to reposition urgent conversations and importantly eradicate the misplaced feelings of shame that prevent such a large proportion of survivors from feeling able to seek help or report incidences of sexual violence. The festival was launched at a reception last month featuring a speech by The WOW Foundation’s President HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Shameless! Festival will involve charities, artists, leading voices, survivors and wellness practitioners from national, international and grassroots organisations. Ticket holders will be able to curate their day, exploring a day-long programme of talks, workshops, performances and more. Discussions throughout the day will address topics from the normalisation of sexual violence through to the rape myths that have entered the public discourse, consent, everyday triggers and survival.
Inspired by the format of WOW’s Festivals, Shameless! will offer challenging conversations but also moments of joy, spontaneity, laughter and optimism. Festival goers can experience popups, visit the marketplace and access healing sessions. These include therapist-led sharing circles for survivors, a workshop on how to be a supportive friend and confidence tools for building self compassion. On-site support and one-on-one sessions with experts will be available throughout the festival to help support the wellbeing of speakers, audience members and artists alike during the festival and beyond.
Professor Joanna Bourke, Principal Investigator of Birkbeck’s SHaME Project commented: “The Shameless! Festival is an opportunity to explore new ways of creating rape-free worlds. The arts, activism, and scholarship can act together in imaginative ways to tackle violence in our communities. Although the Festival focuses on the prevalence of abuse, we believe in the power of hope and happiness in the pursuit of more equitable and fulfilling worlds!”
Jude Kelly, CEO and Founder of WOW said: "WOW sets out to create popular public events around even the most difficult subjects in the belief that together we can forge a more joyful and positive society. It’s a sad irony that a festival that we dreamt up two years ago is coming to fruition at a time of maximum public grief around violence against women. I fervently believe, and hope, this will be an important and strengthening day for everyone coming in person or joining us online. I want to stress that everyone is welcome to find out more, to get advice, and to think about how to lend their voice to the need for change."
A powerful and frank opening session from Founder and CEO of WOW Jude Kelly CBE and Director of Birkbeck’s SHaME Project Professor Joanna Bourke will address attitudes towards sexual violence and the dangers of it being normalised, culminating in a performance by the survivors of human trafficking ensemble, Amies Freedom Choir.
Throughout the day, The Hope Box will bring hope and celebration with performers and activists standing on their ‘Hope Boxes’ to offer optimism and joy. Appearances will include a performance by winner of the Merky Books New Writers Prize Monika Radojevic, and a powerful reflection and rejection of shame in the South Asian community by award-winning podcaster and founder of Soul Sutras, Sangeeta Pillai. Actress Ellice Stevens will also perform a dramatic retelling of the work and life of artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The day will be broken up with a period of communal Radical Rest, which will offer festival goers the chance to recharge and reflect on the morning's activities, before enjoying the rest of the day.
Survivor and award-winning author Winnie M Li (Dark Chapter, Complicit), activist and author Laura Bates (Men Who Hate Women) and co-founder of the advocacy group The Triple Cripples Jumoke Abdullahi will question why sexual violence and the sexualisation of women’s bodies has become so normalised.
An expert panel made up of journalist and survivor Olivia Petter, Dr Maryyum Mehmood, Mamatha Isha Sumah and award-winning author Lucia Osborne-Crowley (My Body Keeps Your Secrets) will explore how to navigate life without trigger warnings, and ask if there is a better way to provide due care and attention to survivors.
Exploring the power dynamics that continue after the act of sexual violence, writer and campaigner Caitlin May McNamara, author Leah Cowan (Border Nation) and the Deputy Leader of the Women’s Equality party Tabitha Morton will explore the political stratagem of sexual violence and what can be done to rebalance power.
Professor Joanna Bourke, critically acclaimed author Rachel Thompson (ROUGH) and podcast host Sarah Ozo-Irabor will burst open the myths and untruths around sexual assault that have entered the public imagination.
Movement builder for Chayn Naomi Alexander Naidoo, campaigner and writer Laura Bates and cybersecurity expert Julia Slupska will lead a session on sexual violence and the digital world, addressing online abuse and innovative frontline services for survivors as they look to redefine our ideas about the separation between the online and offline world.
Author Catriona Morton (The Way We Survive), poet, survivor and founder of Black Minds Rachel Nwokoro, speaker and activist Sabah Choudrey, and artist and survivor Tashmia Owen will lead a vital discussion around survival, the journey of healing and what happens if you don’t fit the mold of the ‘empowered survivor’.
Exploring why rape prosecutions and convictions in England and Wales fell to the lowest ever level in 2020, Helena Kennedy QC will be joined by Director of the interdisciplinary research centre for the study of Emotion and Law Amina Menon, Leader of the Women's Equality Party Mandu Reid, author and Senior Lecturer in Criminology Alexandra Fanghanel and lawyer and activist Charlotte Proudman. Together they will explore how the system is letting victims down and take audiences through the journey of reporting incidents of sexual violence through to giving legal testimony.
Poet, performer and survivor Tanaka Mhishi, and activist Ben Hurst will examine why male survivors are often overlooked and ask how we can challenge the elements of masculinity that can often normalise violence.
Jude Kelly, Tanaka Mhishi, academic Jacqueline Rose, founder of Everyone’s Invited Soma Sara and disability activist Dr Amy Kavanagh look at how our understanding of consent has changed, the limitations of the language of sexual violence and ask how we can reimagine the gradations of consent.
Interactive workshops will take place across the day for those who would like to actively take part. Dr Galadriel Ravelli, Dr Milena Romano and Dr Sandra Darocazi will look at how sexual violence and rape have been represented in visual arts from 15th century to today, giving voiceless characters a new narrative of solidarity on a shared collective canvas. Award-winning writers and survivors Winnie M Li and Clare Shaw will lead a creative writing workshop specifically for anyone who has experienced sexual violence, designed to demonstrate the power of writing as a healing and transformative act.
Concluding the day will be a separate evening ticketed event with actor, model and writer Emily Ratajkowski. In conversation with Jude Kelly, Ratajowski will discuss her new book My Body for the first time in front of a live UK audience.
The digital programme, curated in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, runs alongside the festival and will feature Live, Laugh, Rage! on 16th November. Hosted by Phoebe Patey-Ferguson with authors and activists, Chardine Taylor Stone, Jennifer Jackson and Mona Eltahawy, this lively online panel discussion will hold space to rage about the tangled mess of systemic violence, and how it enables and perpetuates violence against us.
Shameless! Festivals of Activism Against Sexual Violence are presented by WOW, which is run by UK charity The WOW Foundation. The festivals are presented in collaboration and as part of Birkbeck’s SHaME project, a research hub for scholarship exploring the medical and psychiatric aspects of sexual violence. Placing medical professionals at the heart of the debates, the project seeks to address the global crisis and help move beyond the shame often attached to sexual violence. The project will take place over three years, with 2022’s Shameless Festival! to be produced by WOW Rio curators Redes da Maré in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Find out more about the SHaME project.
For further information please contact Bread and Butter PR
Kate Hassell | firstname.lastname@example.org | 07921264564
NOTES TO EDITORS
The WOW Foundation
The WOW Foundation was created by Jude Kelly CBE in 2018 to run the global movement that is WOW - Women of the World Festivals. The Festivals began in the UK in 2010, launched by Kelly at the Southbank Centre London, where she was Artistic Director, to celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face, and discussing solutions together.
To date, WOW has reached over 3 million people in 17 countries on six continents, in locations including Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somaliland, the UK and the USA. In 2018/19 WOW was in Rio de Janeiro, Cardiff, Bradford, Bangladesh, Brisbane, Janakpur (Nepal),Baltimore, London, Exeter, Norwich, Perth, Beijing, Ghana and Nigeria. In June 2020, WOW held its first ever worldwide online festival focused on women and girls — WOW Global 24. The festival travelled around the world everywhere from the UK to Nigeria, and Pakistan to Australia exploring the intersectional impact of COVID-19 on gender inequality, and responding to Black Lives Matter.
Over the last 11 years the Festivals have developed a reputation as a space for world renowned artists, activists, thinkers and performers including Angela Davis, Malala Yousafzai, Annie Lennox, Patrick Stewart, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Salma Hayek, to come and participate, alongside thousands of women and girls who don’t have public profiles but are doing amazing things. WOW provides platforms for people of all kinds, changes attitudes, brings communities together and provides a unique space for people to work together towards gender equality in their own communities. One example of the impact the festival has had came in 2015, with the founding of the Women’s Equality Party by Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer.
In 2018 Kelly left the Southbank Centre to run The WOW Foundation full time as a charity working to build, convene and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is possible and desirable through festivals and empowering women and girls. The unique festival model creates numerous pathways for participants to take part in WOW projects, amplify their own causes, or start new initiatives which have a wide impact on communities. It is the biggest, most comprehensive and most significant festival dedicated to presenting work by women and promoting equality for women and girls.
WOW festivals and events are presented by arrangement with the Southbank Centre. The President of WOW - Women of the World is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
The WOW Foundation is proudly supported by its Global Founding Partner Bloomberg, and Global Partner Mastercard.
About SHaME spacing needs adjusting
(Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters) is an interdisciplinary research group funded by the Wellcome Trust. It is directed by historian Professor Joanna Bourke and based at Birkbeck, University of London. From multiple perspectives in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, it is unique in focussing on medical and psychiatric aspects of sexual violence. It addresses issues of child as well as adult sexual abuse, global trends and local impacts, law and medical practitioners, survivor narratives, and activism. The SHaME team have expertise in the global history of sexual violence, as well as geographical specialisms focusing on the UK, US, France, Ghana, and Kenya. They have particularly interests in global cultures of sexual harms, child sexual abuse, medico-legal responses to sexual violence in (post)colonial Anglophone Africa, the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on medics who deal with survivors of sexual violence, support for survivors in France, the uses made of psychiatric evidence in court proceedings, anti-rape activism on university campuses, and US federal policy in connection with sexual violence against Native American women. A sustained analysis of medical and psychiatric engagement with sexual violence addresses current debates about the treatment of rape survivors and the needs of justice. The aim of the project is to move beyond shame to address this global health crisis. I note that Battersea and Birkbeck have all their social media. Can you add ours as well, unless they are somewhere else?
About Battersea Arts Centre
Battersea Arts Centre is a home for radical artistic ideas. We believe in the power of performance and collective imagination to spark positive change.
We host welcoming and inclusive spaces where communities, artists and audiences can connect and be creative, and we give people the resources to develop artistic ideas that are bold and unconventional.
All shows at Battersea Arts Centre are now available on a Pay What You Can basis, as part of our ongoing commitment to finding new ways to break down barriers to engagement.
Founded in 1823, Birkbeck, University of London, is a world-class research and teaching institution, a vibrant centre of academic excellence and London's only specialist provider of evening higher education. Our evening teaching allows students to progress their life goals during the day, through work, volunteering or internships.
The Wellcome Trust is an independent global charitable foundation that seeks to ensure that everyone can benefit from science’s potential to improve health and save lives. It supports discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and are taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, infectious disease and climate.
About Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre occupying a prominent riverside location that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).