In November 2012 Sheffield saw its second LaDIYFest (lay-dee-aye-why-fest), a weekend of feminist discussion, music, craft and creativity. Broadly anticapitalist, LaDIYFest is an attempt to promote a safe alternative space, where all genders are welcome to discuss and debate feminist ideas.
Friday night brought trans-activist blogger Juliet Jacques to the Harland Cafe, speaking on the representation of trans people in the media, and specifically in the Guardian, referencing their famously trans-phobic pieces by Julie Bindell (among others). In the Q&A, the subject of transphobia in the feminist movement was framed by the (perhaps accidental) success this summer of the cancellation of the ‘RadFem 2012’ conference, which promoted itself as ‘for women born as women’ only. The event came under a huge amount of criticism and the venue eventually pulled the event.
Around 100 people attended the Saturday activities at Sheffield’s Quaker Meeting House, which featured a supervised crèche, zine stalls, a stall from University of Sheffield academics researching activist history, food from local vegan groups and of course, plenty of workshops and discussion.
Workshops included, ‘Why women travel: Abortion and Ireland’, ‘Why disability matters to feminists’, ‘Hollaback! Anti-street harrassment’, ‘Making sense of consent’ and loads more. Speakers came from across the activist and feminist spectrum, with packed rooms and lively discussion.
Women’s Fightback co-led a discussion on Class Struggle Feminism with Feminist Fightback, covering a whirlwind of ideas with everything from the Matchwomens’ strike to the Mujeres Libres, Ford Dagenham strike, a talk about ‘what is socialist feminism, and discussion of how women are affected by the cuts agenda today. Around 35 people came and discussed but as always, there was not enough time.
A gig on Saturday night at Penelope’s gave everyone an opportunity to let their hair down, with Kate Bush-channelling punks Hysterical Injury being a particular favourite.
Sunday’s chill-out in the Harland Cafe again included a talk on Craftivism, a short film from Faryal – ‘What Are You Looking At?’, and finally a feminist themed quiz.
LaDIYFest will be putting on more events throughout the year so watch this space!
If you want to find out more about the history of LaDIYFest and its roots in the American Riot Grrrl and DIY movement, check out the Ladiyfest Sheffield website.