The Talking Back Feminist Media Conference: Track Two Session Descriptions
Illustration: Saul Freedman-Lawson
Join us at the Talking Back Feminist Media Conference on November 16 and 17 at the Toronto Media Arts Centre! Tickets on sale now
This post gives detailed descriptions of the sessions in Track Two. Please see the other tracks here:
For details on our Arts Market vendors, please see the post here.
For information on art exhibitions and lunchtime micro-talks, please see the post here.
Feminist Media as Activism
What is feminist artivism (street art, spoken word, culture jamming, etc.)? How are we creating and contributing to social movements (migrant and racial justice, reproductive justice, Black liberation, Indigenous sovereignty, etc.) through media making and consumption? What is guiding our editorial decision-making behind-the-scenes? Who is currently participating in the media and who is being left out? How can we carve out new spaces in the existing media landscape for neglected perspectives? How can we ensure that we reject mainstream notions of who is qualified to lead, and instead value lived experience? What is the role of emotional labour in media making? How can we build capacity and form deep relationships through our work? How are we creating participatory communities?
Law in Action: How to Build Your Advocacy Toolkit
Presentation with Q&A
Presented by: Caryma Sa’d
Sunday, November 17
Looking to harness the power of media? Caryma Sa’d will draw upon her experience as a lawyer to explore how media can be a tool for legal education and activism.
Since 2017, Caryma Sa’d has been featured in 100+ media segments, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and podcasts. She has successfully thwarted evictions, demanded policy change, and disseminated legal information through media advocacy. Participants will learn about Caryma’s strategic approach to leveraging media to advance her clients’ goals, as well as in support of the broader public interest.
Actively engaging with media can be an effective way to shape public perception. This session considers tactics to broadcast and elevate your preferred cause. Topics of discussion will include steps for creating an advocacy plan, suggestions on avoiding common pitfalls, and how to make the most of limited resources.
Session may include discussions of eviction, incarceration, and human rights violations in a legal context.
UNDER ATTACK: Why feminist and student media is threatened by Ford, and ways to resist
Presentation featuring activities, discussion and idea development
Presented by: Josie Kao, Sarah Krichel and Adrianna Michell
Saturday, November 16
This year, a provincial policy called the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) threatened student journalism by giving students the option to opt out of certain previously mandatory ancillary fees, including fees supporting student newspapers. Student journalists are often at the forefront of prioritizing equitable coverage of underreported issues.
In this session we will explore how this policy negatively impacts diversity in journalism by targeting one of the most vulnerable segments of media and undermining progressive efforts. Further, participants will be asked to explore their own experiences, whether in student journalism or otherwise, and how journalism can be oriented toward feminist media. Questions that will be explored include: How is the SCI an attack on free press? How can we build student voices in media? How can young people, students and others push for a reformed media landscape? What do we still need to change or improve in order to direct our work toward social change?
Participants can expect a session of engaging discourse that encourages idea and theory development and making new connections.
Discussion of student papers on topics including mental health.
The Impact of Words and Language in Storytelling
Presentations, group discussions and closing remarks
Presented by: Dianna Gunn and Justine Abigail Yu
Saturday, November 16
Presentation 1: How to Change Our Fiction to Transform Our Culture Language is one of the most powerful and pervasive ways systematic oppression is reinforced. We can choose to tell stories that transform us, but if we rely on language structures and words created to oppress, how can we expect to truly transform the world around us?
In this session, fantasy author Dianna Gunn will discuss how progressive stories sabotage themselves by relying on oppressive words and language structures. She will share how she has discovered and eliminated these words and structures in her own work and some advice for creators who wish to do the same.
Gunn will then go on to lead a group discussion about how we can remove oppressive words and structures from our language to foster truly transformative storytelling.
Slurs will be spoken by way of example to prompt discussion around the use of these slurs. The focus of the session will be on the terms “crazy” and “lame.”
Presentation 2: Living in the Hyphen: Beyond the Limitations of Language According to the 2016 census, we live in a country where 7.5 million people — 21.9% of the total population — are foreign-born individuals who immigrated to Canada. Many of these people may not speak English as their first language. Because of the way our society shames English language learners, they are unlikely to share the stories of their very significant and powerful experiences, let alone submit their writing for publishing.
As editors, publishers, media makers, and ultimately, gatekeepers, how do we ensure that the voices of English language learners are heard, valued, and amplified? How do we cultivate a culture that encourages their storytelling?
In this workshop, we will hear from the experiences of Justine Abigail Yu, founder and editor of Living Hyphen, a magazine that explores the experiences of Canadians living in between cultures. She will share Living Hyphen’s approach, the challenges faced, and the room left for growth.
In an open and collaborative brainstorming session, we will then discuss the ways we can break down the limitations of language to value all voices and create truly inclusive feminist media.
All Dude Lineup
Presented by: Sofie Mikhaylova (Sonja), Mia Salaveria (MIASALAV) and Chantelle Findlay (Vaughan) - DJ
Sunday, November 17
All Dude Lineup brings together women, non-binary, and LGBTQ DJs and performers to talk about the issues we all grapple through when trying to navigate our way through the industry. How can we be taken more seriously as performers, musicians, and DJs? How can we carve a space for ourselves amongst straight white men who, seemingly, only want to support each other? Where do we find each other and what are our next steps? These are the types of questions we’re looking to ask attendees. Instead of a panel, we’re doing a round table discussion, because everyone will be sharing their experiences and ideas, not just those at the front. Joined by DJs with both long and short-term experiences in the Toronto dance scene, we welcome both newer and veteran performers to join in on the conversation. With the networking opportunities the event provides, ideally attendees will leave with new connections to other LGBTQ/female/NB/queer DJs in the city, in addition to ideas on throwing a party that prioritizes safer spaces and a potential collaborator.
Because some folks have had very, very negative experiences with male promoters and DJs in the city (i.e. sexual assault, harassment, etc), and may want to share these stories, it’s possible that talking or hearing about these events may trigger some attendees.