Tickets Sales Are OPEN! The 2021 Talking Back Feminist Media Conference

February 11th, 2021     by Team Shameless     Comments

Illustration: Saul Freedman-Lawson

TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Purchase here:

Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14, online via Zoom

Please see the schedule in a table format here:

General Admission: $25
Youth/student/unwaged/underwaged: $10


The 2021 Conference theme is: Feminist Media as Social Justice

Shameless is thrilled to announce we will host the our second annual Talking Back Feminist Media Conference online on March 13-14, 2021. This conference is funded by the Toronto Arts Council.

The conference theme is Feminist Media as Social Justice. This will be a space to collaborate, co-create, imagine, celebrate, scheme and dream about the radical potential of feminist media as it relates to building a better, more just world.

This year, we’re going virtual! We are hoping that this shift in format allows new presenters and audiences to access and contribute to the conversations in exciting ways.


The conference will take place virtually using the Zoom platform. Participants may choose how much they wish to engage; having your video on is completely optional.

Both live captioning and ASL interpretation will be available for all sessions.

Please get in touch with us at if you have any access questions or requests.


To view the schedule in a table format, please click here:

Saturday, March 13 – Day 1

9:00-10:00: Track 1 Session: Access is Love: Making Your Digital Media Accessible [Presentation] - Julia Métraux

10:00-10:15 BREAK

10:15-11:15 Track 2 Session: The Door’s Still Closed: Addressing Ableism and Accessibility in Progressive Spaces [Presentation and Discussion] - Denise Reich // CW: Discussion of ableism

11:15-11:30 BREAK

11:30-12:30 Arts Talk: Presenters TBC

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK

1:30-2:30 Track 3 Session: Tackling the Algorithm: Digital Activism and How to Use Your Skills For Change [Workshop] - Maud Mostly

2:30-2:45 BREAK

2:45-3:45 Track 4 Session: Archives of Communal Care [Format TBD] - Madeleine Lychek and Vasuki Shanmuganathan, Tamil Archive Project Collective

3:45-4:00 BREAK

4:00-5:00 Track 2 Session: Sustainable Resistance for BIPOC Folx [BIPOC-only Workshop] - Krystal Kavita Jagoo, MSW, RSW

Sunday, March 14 - Day 2

9:00-10:00 Track 4 Session: Laughing Through It: How Women Navigate the Comedy Industry [Panel] - Anasimone George, Lily Makowski, Surer Qaly Deria, Madison Trusolino

10:00-10:15 BREAK

10:15-11:15 Track 3 Session: Voices Beyond the Binary - Working Towards Gender Liberation in Media [Presentation and workshop component] - Rye Orrange, Keeley Sieben

11:15-11:30 BREAK

11:30-12:30 Arts Talk: Presenters TBC

12:30-1:30 LUNCH BREAK

1:30-2:30 Track 2 Session: Fostering Community, Collaboration, and Care on Social Media [Presentation and Discussion] - Margeaux Feldman, Carolyn Collado, and Nisha Mody

2:30-2:45 BREAK

2:45-3:45 Track 1 Session: Shaped by Soundtracks: The Tastemaking Possibilities of So-Call “Girl Culture” [Presentation and discussion] - Morgan Bimm

3:45-4:00 BREAK

4:00-5:00 Track 4 Session: Radical Creating: Liberation through art making and performance [Show and Tell] - Tania Kengatharan

Session Descriptions

TBC: art panels!

Track 1: Advancing, expanding, critiquing and defining feminism through media

Access is Love: Making Your Digital Media Accessible - Julia Métraux (she/her)
This practical presentation will help writers and editors make their media spaces open to as many people as possible. In the first part of the presentation, Métraux will discuss the use of different tools to show you if your website is accessible to Blind users/users with low vision, and will demonstrate adding alt-text to photos on websites and social media to describe the image for screen readers. The second part of the presentation will involve the importance of making sure an interview subject’s needs are met before an interview and provide examples of how to ask people if they need accommodations without forcing them to self-identify as disabled. Finally, Métraux will explain why plain language – text that is easily understandable for the reader – is key to accessible journalism. Attendees will be able to practice writing a piece of news in plain language in this section.
Format: Presentation

Shaped by Soundtracks: The Tastemaking Possibilities of So-Call “Girl Culture” - Morgan Bimm (she/her)
If we consider music and music taste to be a central part of our identities, what can we learn by thinking through the role that music plays in the media we consume(d) as teens and young people? How are ideas of cultural hierarchies, taste, and authenticity established through the music of so-called “girl culture”? In this presentation, I share some highlights from my PhD research, focusing on a number of key case studies that highlight the ways that so-called “girl culture” has always been a site for “talking back” to the masculinist gatekeeping practices that define a lot of music scenes. How do the ways we remember the films and TV soundtracks of our youth matter? What is the connection between the media we consume as young people and our enduring ideas around taste and what counts as “cool”? In what ways have particular waves of “girl culture” (in my research, I focus on the 2000s) make space for individuals who had historically been kept out of particular music scenes and positions of cultural importance? And how do we see the legacy of these media texts and soundtracks living on today?
Format: Presentation and Discussion

Track 2: Building community, forming and nurturing relations through feminist media

The Door’s Still Closed: Addressing Ableism and Accessibility in Progressive Spaces - Denise Reich (she/her)
Being turned away from non-profit events based on “self-acceptance.” Being referred to as a “burden” by a major feminist event. Ableist speech from progressive figures. Doors are still firmly closed for many disabled people in progressive spaces, and even when they’re open, the environment is sometimes far from inclusive. How can we foster accessibility in feminist spaces and media? What specific actions have alienated disabled and ill prospective participants? What specific actions and attitudes would make our spaces more accessible? Learn about specific barriers to participation, and take away suggestions on how to make your spaces, events and media more accessible in this participation-focused presentation.
Format: Presentation and Discussion

Sustainable Resistance for BIPOC Folx - Krystal Kavita Jagoo, MSW, RSW (she/her)
How can BIPOC folx survive the problematic whiteness of the publishing industry? Given what can often be rampant negative experiences with having our writing assessed through a deficiency-based white lens, BIPOC folx will benefit from this workshop, where participants of all genders, ages, and abilities will connect with powerful writing from Black trailblazers Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison. As attendees better understand their own capacity to utilize their writing as sustainable resistance for building community to survive white supremacy, they may leave feeling a sense of empowerment. If the benefits of writing as resistance can be harnessed as a feminist arts practice, BIPOC participants will be better equipped to navigate the challenges of a publishing industry dictated by the white gaze.
This workshop will take participants through a review of Octavia Butler’s “A Few Rules For Predicting The Future” (Essence Magazine) and some quotes from the equally prolific Toni Morrison on writing as resistance, encouraging participants to think of futuristic possibilities that would allow BIPOC folx to thrive in community with each other, followed by a writing exercise to illuminate how the creative process can embody writing as resistance to imagine spaces of liberation for us.
Format: BIPOC-only Workshop

Fostering Community, Collaboration, and Care on Social Media - Margeaux Feldman (they/them ), Carolyn Collado (they/them ), and Nisha Mody (she/her)
Building accountable communities on the supposedly boundary-free space of social media sounds like an impossible task. How do we assert our boundaries when the world of smartphones has made us feel like we should be available 24/7? How do we foster a community centered on collective care and collaboration in the supposedly self-centered space of Instagram? How do we resist the urge to respond to conflict at the speed of the internet? These are some of the questions that we’ll work to address in our session. Each presenter will talk about how principles of disability justice and transformative justice have helped us show up online in the ways that align with our values, offering tangible actions that have supported us in fostering community, collaboration, and care on social media. After each presenter shares some of their story, there will be time for attendees to do some personal reflection before we divide up into breakout groups for a more intimate Q&A. Our hope is that attendees will leave the session with some different roadmaps for building accountable communities and navigating the bumps that come with doing this work on social media.
Format: Presentation and Discussion

Track 3: Supporting and contributing to social movements through feminist media

Tackling the Algorithm: Digital Activism and How to Use Your Skills For Change - Maud Mostly (they/them)
Do you find yourself overwhelmed at the state of the world? Are you trying to stay positive and wanting to contribute to change, but don’t think you have anything to give? If so, then this workshop is for you! The world of social media can be daunting, but for many it is a place where we can find community, participate in progress, and share our experiences. In order to avoid burnout, though, we need to understand and utilise the benefits of social media by finding the answers to questions like
How can we build online communities founded on shared values and goals?
How can we proactively share our stories and experiences?
How do we hold each other accountable online?
How do we combat social media algorithms which actively silence marginalized voices and political content?
And so much more!
This workshop’s goal is to have attendees leave with an understanding that each one of us is capable of participating in progress and change by building on skills we already possess.
Format: Workshop

**Voices Beyond the Binary - Working Towards Gender Liberation in Media - Rye Orrange (they/them), Keeley Sieben **(they/them)
Every day, we absorb media that shapes our biases, thoughts, and views. It’s no secret that middle-aged, cis white people are the brains behind the majority of media we consume - so how does that influence the way that society as a whole views important social justice issues? What would happen if we reinvented the world of media, and brought the voices of marginalized youth to the center? This presentation and workshop will take you through the possibilities that lie within re-imagining the voices behind the media we consume. When media is consumed at the rapid rate it is today, the voices that are heard matter. A world where youth that hold marginalized identities are heard through the media is a world that is capable of real, radical change. Join us to envision a future where the media reflects the values of the people, plus a cool opportunity to turn these ideas into real, tangible action!
Format: Presentation and Workshop

Track 4: Feminist forms of media creation

Radical Creating: Art as Power - Tania Kengatharan (she/her)
Join Tania Kengatharan, a multimedia artist, in exploring the relationship between art making, healing and resistance. In Radical Creating: Art as Power, Tania will combine performance and dialogue to describe and contextualize how art allows us to radically transform and reimagine the world we live in. Beyond the use of art as solely a personal creative outlet, learn about the power of art as a source of feminist media to organize, communicate and connect. This session will explore Tania’s personal experiences of art making and its value in a socially-distanced world and the liberation of creating art when it’s not attached to capital.
Format: Show and tell

Archives of Communal Care - Madeleine Lychek (she/her) and Vasuki Shanmuganathan (she/her), Tamil Archive Project Collective
In our session, we map out what communal care is, why this practice is present in many racialized communities and if it could be useful as a form of resistive media practice for you. During the last year, we had the challenge (along with other members of our collective Tamil Archive Project) to translate our care practices to online media formats. We will highlight three art projects which were collectively created in response; a communal dinner video performance entitled “Dinner for One”, Corona Diaries Series on Loneliness, and a multi-participant performance of gestures of care. Through these examples, we will explore possible projects and acts of care to pursue through media with the audience and encourage them to apply their own understanding of communal and resistive modes of care to their respective communities.
Format: Presentation

Laughing Through It: How Women Navigate the Comedy Industry - Anasimone George (she/her), Lily Makowski (she/her), Surer Qaly Deria (she/her), Madison Trusolino (she/her)
Toronto has a prolific comedy scene, but what is it like navigating the industry as a woman and/or queer comedian? Despite comedy having been found to be an effective way to challenge traditional gender roles, it is still dominated by white, cisgender, straight men. This session will not only address the financial, emotional and physical obstacles women in comedy face, but also how women survive, and thrive, in the industry. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the production of comedy in Toronto specifically and Canada more generally. The session will be led by Anasimone George, a stand-up comedian and producer, Lily Makowski, a comedian and musician, Surer Qaly Deria, a writer, stand-up and sketch comic, and Madison Trusolino, a PhD candidate researching the North American comedy industry. Along with a panel discussion and Q&A, we also hope to inspire women to enter the comedy industry and give tips to up-and-coming comedians.
Format: Panel

Tags: conference, talking back

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