One of the major feminist festivals in Sydney, the International Women’s Poetry and Arts Festival is directed by poet, filmmaker and Asylum Seekers Centre Ambassador, Saba Vasefi. It is hosted by member of the NSW Parliament Dr Mehreen Faruqi, and will be MCed by performer, writer and activist Candy Royalle. The Festival strives to honour and support female poets, writers and artists to reclaim their rightful place in literature and art by building coalitions based on solidarity, inclusion and diversity.
Sydney International Women’s Poetry and Arts Festival joins with the Women Poets International Movement (MPI) for the third year in a row to bring the Woman Scream Festival 2016 to Sydney. The Festival will take place at NSW Parliament House on March 16, 5:30-9:30pm. Woman Scream events are held in countries worldwide during the month of March. Last year the Festival was part of UNESCO’s 2015 International Year of Light.
Prominent writers, commentators, artists and scholars — such as Prof. Sahara Amer, chair of Arabic and Cultural studies at Sydney University; Jane Caro, author, novelist, commentator and award-winning advertising writer; Candy Royalle, performer, writer and activist; Adjunct Prof. Eva Cox, commentator and activist and Dr Leslie Cannold, researcher, public speaker & educator on gender, value-driven leadership and respectful relationships — will take part in a panel discussion chaired by writer Ruby Hamad.
Past festival participant, Michele Seminara, will also have her first poetry collection, Engraft, launched by Festival Director Saba Vasefi.
Wiradjuri elder and poet Jenny Munro, award winning poet Judith Beveridge, Human Rights Award finalist Yarrie Bangura, Associate Professor of English at Sydney University Dr Kate Lilly, Peril Magazine’s Poetry Editor Eleanor Jackson, and coordinator of Writing Through Fences Janet Galbraith, plus Hawraa Kash, Gloria Demillo and Gabrielle Jones, will recite their poems. Hip hop artists Sarah Anne Connor and Zainab Kadhim, as well as the classical Indian choreographer Aruna Gandhi and the Axis Wind ensemble from Tara Anglican School for Girls, will be performing.
The Festival is a showcase of diversity, including performances by Indigenous, migrant, LGBTI and refugee, as well as Australian-born, women. It aims to foster a supportive atmosphere empowering women to stand up against racism, sexism and violence. It will shed light on the intersectional discrimination, masculine and racial biases which disempower women and damage society, while simultaneously emphasising the need to create new power structures and redefine what matters.
The Festival is partnered by distinguished academic, human rights and feminist organisations such as Daily Life, Sydney Peace Foundation, Sydney University, Amnesty International, Asylum Seekers Centre, Settlement Services International, Word Travels, Peril Magazine, Women Say Something, Full Stop Foundation and Bridge for Asylum Seeker Foundation.
The event will support donations and promotion for its partners and will be advertised in Persian, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish and English. Twenty complimentary tickets will be offered to women of Indigenous, refugee and asylum-seeker backgrounds.