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Feminartsy Ideas Fest: the power of creative women

Zoya Patel

When you think about the arts, where does your mind go?

Do you think about visiting a gallery, maybe, or booking tickets to the theatre? Do you glance at the paintings on your walls, or the books on your nightstand?

It’s unlikely that you reflect on how crucial the arts have been to humanity, throughout history, as the arena where we have constructed our ideals, morals and beliefs as communities.

Here’s the biggest myth about creativity and the arts – that they’re a luxury, not a necessity.

In the 21st century, the arts have been undervalued in numerous different ways. Take a look at the funding cuts to the Australia Council, or the way we all (yes, even you) have ripped images off the internet for personal use without considering the rights of the artist.

Art can feel like a ‘nice to have’, not something that’s essential. But creativity is the life force behind most successful social movements. Think about campaign slogans, impassioned speeches, placards at rallies – none of this could exist without the part of us, as humans, that thrums with the need for expression.

I started Feminartsy, an online feminist journal in 2014, because I felt a desire to connect the stories of women and other subjugated groups under one umbrella. I firmly believe that sharing stories is integral to enacting positive social change.

Since its launch, Feminartsy has published hundreds of writers from across the country, hosted monthly events for three years, and now offers paid professional development through our annual writing residencies.

All of this time, as I’ve watched the journal grow, it has occurred to me that feminism owes a lot to the arts and to creativity – and that our activism can be informed and enhanced by our creative passions.

That’s why we’re hosting our inaugural Feminartsy Ideas Fest this year, with the support of Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres. It’s a day-long event bringing together creatives and artists from all mediums to explore the intersection between feminist activism and a creative practice.


The day will feature amazing local and interstate women such as Rosanna Stevens, who is a feminist writer using humour to enact change; Caterina Giorgi, who uses her background in policy and advocacy to build skills in the not-for-profit sector with her business For Purpose; Chiara Grassia, who empowers young women through the Girls Rock! Camp; and Jo Langdon, who is an editor for Mascara Literary Review, creating a diverse and inclusive publication.

Our keynote speaker is Hani Abdile, a young Somali woman poet who, was a detained as a refugee before settling in Australia, and who now uses her feminism and voice to speak out about the rights of refugees and asylum seekers through Writing Through Fences.

I can’t wait to spend a day listening to these amazing women, and engaging in discussions with our audience – and I hope to see many Canberra women there!

the essentials

What: Feminartsy Ideas Fest
Where: Gorman Arts Centre, Main Hall, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon
When: Saturday 20 May 2017
Tickets: Book through Eventbrite
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Zoya Patel

Zoya founded Feminartsy in 2014, following four years as Editor-In-Chief of Lip Magazine. She has been writing about feminist issues for over a decade, and has had work published in a number of publications including Right Now,, Junkee and more. Zoya was Highly Commended in the Scribe Publishing Non-Fiction Prize 2015, was the 2014 recipient of the Anne Edgeworth Young Writers’ Fellowship, and was named the 2015 ACT Young Woman of the Year. She is represented by Curtis Brown Australia. @zoyajpatel More about the Author