Nuha Abdo (Syrian Sisters)
Nuha Abdo is a sociologist from Syria who worked with Danish Refugee Council in Damascus for 3 years before coming to the UK in 2016. Since arriving in Oxford she has set up a Syrian women’s group and is active in assisting recently arrived Syrian families to settle in the city.
Winsome Pinnock’s stage plays include Glutathione (Young Vic Theatre) The Principles of Cartography (The Bush Theatre) Tituba (Hampstead Theatre) Cleaning Up (For Clean Break at Oval House Theatre), Taken (For Clean Break at Oval House Theatre) IDP (Tricycle Theatre) The Stowaway (Play for young people, Plymouth Theatre) One Under (Tricycle Theatre) Beg Borrow or Steal (Kuumba Community Arts Centre) Water (Tricycle Theatre) Mules (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs and Clean Break Theatre) Can you Keep a Secret? (Connections at Royal National Theatre) A Rock in Water (Royal Court Theatre) Leave Taking (Liverpool Playhouse Theatre, National Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Lyric theatre, Hammersmith) A Heroes Welcome (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs) The Wind of Change (Half Moon Theatre) Picture Palace (Womens Theatre Group). Radio plays include Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas (Adapted from autobiography by Maya Angelou for Radio 4) Clean Trade (Radio 4), Lazarus (Radio 3), Her Father’s Daughter (Radio 4) Let Them Call it Jazz (adapted from Jean Rhys’ short story, Radio 4) Indiana (adapted from novel by George Sand) The Dinner Party (Radio 4) Something Borrowed (Radio 4) and Water (Radio 4). She co-wrote the screenplay Bitter Harvest.
Awards include the George Devine Award; Pearson Plays on Stage Scheme best play of the year Award; Unity Trust Theatre Award. She received a special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She was Senior Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and writer in residence at Holloway Prison, Clean Break Theatre Company, Royal Court Theatre, Kuumba Arts Community Centre, Tricycle Theatre, and The Royal National Theatre Studio. She is an Associate Professor in Drama at Kingston University and is currently commissioned by the Bush Theatre, London. Her new play, Rockets and Blue Lights is currently longlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award. Her play Leave Taking received a major revival at the Bush Theatre, London in 2018.
“Spoken Word Night”
Medicated feminist poet, Emily combines precise writing with bold performance. Her first full-length collection I Can’t Sleep ’cause My Bed’s On Fire confronts a search for love against the starkly humanizing backdrop of a psychiatric institution.
Poet, filmmaker, and performance maker, Paula has created numerous media and spoken word shows. Her latest poetry collection Letters I Never Sent You came out with Burning Eye.
Performance poet, raconteur, and veteran of the Edinburgh Fringe, Tina is an intermittent idealist, reluctant feminist, and recovering workaholic. Her latest show Everything Wrong With You is Beautiful is based on her recent eponymous collection.
Prolific and widely renowned New York poet, novelist, and essayist Eileen Myles is a trailblazer whose decades of literary and artistic work“set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match” (New York Review of Books). AFTERGLOW (a dog memoir), Myles’ first foray into memoir, paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a beloved confidant.
“Women in Oxford”
Patricia Daley is Professor of the Human Geography of Africa in the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. She is an African-Jamaican feminist, who has researched and published widely on aspects of forced migration, militarism, and violence in East and Central Africa. Her publications include the book Gender and Genocide in Burundi: The Search for Spaces of Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. She is a pan-Africanist, and was a delegate to the 7th Pan-African Congress in 1994. She chairs the board of Fahamu Trust – publishers of Pambazuka News, the award-winning online pan-African newsletter.
Janet Howarth studied History at Somerville College (1960-63) and taught briefly at Girton before returning to Oxford as tutor in History (and sometimes Politics) at St Hilda’s (1969-2010). She has published on women’s history and the history of education, including contributions to the nineteenth and twentieth-century volumes of The History of the University of Oxford. Her book, chiefly for students of History and Women’s Studies – Women in Britain: Voices and Perspectives from Twentieth-Century History (IBTauris) – is scheduled for publication in August 2018. Recent interests include the history of research training in the humanities at British universities.
Melanie is the Founder & Director of the Irish Herstory Movement, the Illuminate Herstory Light Festival. Melanie is an award-winning creative and social entrepreneur with a passion for justice, equality and storytelling. Starting a degree in Mathematics & Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, she decided to take a detour and enrolled in art college, leading her to work for some of the world’s best advertising agencies.
JC is reading for an MSc in Social Anthropology. She is an award-winning screen and stage writer who aims to bring to lesser-told African stories to a wider audience. Her research examines the histories of African women in an international context. She is also currently the V-LED writer-in-residence using Verbatim Theatre to stimulate local climate action. Find her on Twitter @jcniala.
René Sharanya Verma
René completed her Master’s in Women’s Studies, and shall read for the Master’s in Film Aesthetics this year. Her creative and academic work aims to interrogate race, gender and politics in cinema. A performance poet, René has performed extensively with grassroots organizations and spoken word collectives in New Delhi, India and Oxford, recently performing at Oxford’s OffBeat Festival. Her work has been featured on BBC Arts Hour, NDTV and online magazine Persephone’s Daughters. René is passionate about art’s possibility to produce comfort and discomfort, and continues exploring these themes through theatre, film and poetry.
Liz Woolley is a local historian specialising in aspects of the history of Oxford and Oxfordshire. She is particularly interested in the city’s “town” (as opposed to “gown”) history, and in the everyday lives of rural people across the county, chiefly during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Liz has lived in Oxford since 1984. She completed an MSc in English Local History (with Distinction) at the University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education in 2009, having gained a Diploma (also with Distinction) in the same subject in 2007. She is an experienced speaker, guide, tutor, researcher and writer who is keen to help individuals and groups to enjoy finding out about the history of their local area.
“Alternative Feminist Media”
Ash Sarkar is a writer, broadcaster, journalist and lecturer living in London. She is a Senior Editor at Novara Media, where her work focuses on race, gender, class and power. As part of her work, she has appeared on numerous panels, hosted live events, and interviewed frontbench politicians on everything from foreign policy to football opinions.
Ray Filar is a writer and performance artist who hosts the left-wing feminist radio show Killjoy FM. They have been published widely, and currently edit an occasional series on gender and tech for Verso. Their solo show Non-Binary Electro Hour is about desire around the queer/trans body and genderfuck drag, and was most recently at the Camden Peoples’ Theatre. They are a PhD student in Gender Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. Twitter/Insta: @rayfilar.
Wail Qasim is a writer, critic, and campaigner. Their writing has covered philosophy and politics, specifically dealing with racism, issues of queer and black social movements, and their media strategies. Much of Wail’s work has centred on the topic of policing and deaths in custody and they are currently an activist organiser in Black Lives Matter UK. Recently they have contributed work as a freelance writer to The Guardian, The Independent, VICE UK, and Novara Media. Wail lives and works in London.
Heather Widdows is the John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. She has recently completed a monograph Perfect Me! Beauty as an Ethical Ideal (forthcoming with Princeton University Press), which was supported by a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship. ‘Perfect me!’ can be read in a number of ways: as an individual’s aspiration to perfect themselves (‘I want to be perfect’), as assertion of what being perfect is (‘this is what I would be if I were perfect’), and as a command which the women feels she should obey (‘you should be perfect’). ‘Perfect me!’ explores the moral self which underlies this ideal, the location of the self in the body, (the actual, transforming and imagined body), and the problems of relying on choice and consent in determining the ethics of beauty practices. She is the author of four other books and has co-edited five volumes, including Women and Violence with Herjeet Marway and Women’s Reproductive Rights with Itziar Alkorta Idiakez and Aitziber Emaldi Cirión.
Jessica Lynn, a transgender woman from the central coast of California, is one of the most in-demand public speakers who travels internationally to college campuses lecturing about the necessity for transgender awareness in the global community. She is an advocate and professional speaker for transgender rights, and is also the co-founder and President of Your True Gender, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the community on transgender issues. Today, having lost all parental rights due to gender discrimination, Jessica is bravely speaking out and has dedicated her life to help others through her own gender journey.
Fatou Wurie is completing her masters in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and is Co-Founder of The Survivor Dream Project (SDP), a local nonprofit organisation that provides holistic support to women and youth survivors of trauma in Sierra Leone. A communicator and advocate, Fatou is passionate about gender equity and committed to building health care systems and securing economic and political freedoms for all in Sierra Leone, the continent of African and the Global South. She loves stories; reading them, writing them and telling them, she believes stories are a powerful tool for healing. She is President of Oxford Women in Politics.
Lisa Monchalin teaches in the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. She is of Algonquin, Métis, Huron, and
Scottish descent. Proud of her Indigenous heritage, and driven by personal and family experiences, she is determined to reduce the amount of crime that affects Indigenous peoples through education. Lisa is the author is The Colonial Problem: An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in 2004 and her Master’s degree in 2006, both in Criminology. In 2012, she graduated with her Doctorate in Criminology from the University of Ottawa, making her the first Indigenous woman in Canada to hold a Ph.D. in Criminology.
“Ireland’s Abortion Referendum”
Mara founded Abortion Support Network between freelance jobs and raising her daughter. Until the amazing groups campaigning for abortion law reform make ASN obsolete, she’ll continue to work towards a world where “I can’t afford to have an abortion” isn’t the only reason someone becomes a parent.
Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A
Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A. is a direct action feminist performance group that seeks to challenge the ongoing problem of Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion. IMELDA was the secret code name for abortion used by the Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group, a group of activists based in London who provided support to women travelling from Ireland to England for abortions between 1980 and 2000. Up to six thousand women travel from the Irish region to the UK each year to access abortion services. In 2013 the Irish Republic implemented a 14-year prison sentence for women who have abortions in Ireland illegally. Speaking of IMELDA was established in 2013. The group operates against the shaming and silencing of those who have had abortions and campaigns for access to free, safe and legal abortion across the island of Ireland.
Sisters of Frida
Eleanor Lisney is a founding member and coordinator of Sisters of Frida, a disabled women’s collective. She has attended UN meetings such as for CEDAW in Geneva (2013) and Commission on the Status of Women in New York City (2016) and is on the web team of the International Network of Women with Disabilities. Having lived in Asia, Europe and the USA, she enjoys opportunities to network and build on support with other global disabled women and their organisations.She is an access advisor, an NUJ member on the New Media Industrial Council and the Equality Council. She campaigns, writes and speaks on the intersections of race, gender and disability. She maintains a professional interest in media and culture and has recently started Culture Access, to promote inclusion in the community.
Zara Todd has worked and campaigned in the disability rights sector for most of her life at local, national and international levels. She has advised Transport for London, the UK government and the British Council on disability policy and accessibility. Much of her work has focused on supporting other disabled people, particularly children and youth to engage with strategic and policy level decision making. She identifies as a feminist and supports an intersectional approach to identity. Zara currently manages a team of people delivering community engagement activities for Equal Lives one of the largest disabled people’s organisations in the UK. She is a board member for the European Network on Independent Living and chair of its youth network.
Pragna Patel is a founding member of Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism. She worked as a co-ordinator and senior case worker for SBS from 1982 to 1993 when she left to train and practice as a solicitor. In 2009 she returned to SBS as its Director. She has been centrally involved in some of SBS’ most important cases and campaigns around domestic violence, immigration and religious fundamentalism. She has also written extensively on race, gender and religion.
Born in 1983 in northeast of Iran, in the province of Khorasan, Mashhad, Fatemeh Shams is a prize-winning poet, writer and literary scholar. She held a doctorate in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford, Wadham. At the age of 17, she won the silver medal in the national Literature Olympiad and later pursued her passion for literature and social science at University of Tehran. In 2012, Fatemeh won Jaleh Esfahani poetry award for the best young Persian poet. Her first book of poetry was published in Berlin in 2013 under the title of ’88’. Soon it became of the leading works of exile literature of Iran. Her second book, Writing in the Mist was published in 2014 in London and her third book, When They Broke Down the Door in 2015 in United States. This book is in English and has been translated by the leading British poet and literary scholar, Dick Davis. She won Latifeh Yarshater literary prize in 2016 for her major contribution in expanding the stylistic and thematic borders of contemporary Persian poetry.