WoWmen! festival in Brussels

Photograph showing the back of a woman with long, light flowing hair. The background is view of the archipelago with rocksides, and trees, the sea against a cloudless sky.
Image from Rebecca Simons' Letters from the Past. Image: Rebecca Simons.

In the first week of March – the week before International Women’s Day – the fourth edition of WoWmen! is coming to Brussels. This 'festival that hopes to be superfluous soon' - because the future will be feminist - offers a programme of performances, talks, debates, films and workshops that critically analyse the state of gender, art and society. 

Does voice have a gender? Does skin have a race? Can masculinity be redefined? How can we make language inclusive? And what is the secret of Finland, where young women become political leaders? Based on these and other questions, an international group of artists and researchers will cast a spotlight on our multiple identities.

Indeed, this continues to be necessary in a world in which domestic violence and feminicide appear to be ineradicable. A world in which sexism is rampant, both on and off social media. A world in crisis, in which informal social networks – often white, heterosexual and male – continue to emerge. A world in which #MeToo stories all too frequently continue to occur.
Some of us are privileged, while others are marginalized. That is why we are reflecting on strategies of resistance. Through an oral and physical tradition that does not often coincide with the traditional canon: using our voices, sounds, languages, and bodies!

02/03 - Gender quotas have been introduced in politics in many European countries. But are quotas sufficient to create gender equality? - A conversation with Karen Celis (RHEA, VUB) & Sarah Childs (Birkbeck, University of London). With video statements by Johanna Kantola (Tampere University in Finland) & Elin Bjarnegard (Uppsala University).

06/03 - An encounter between a granddaughter and grandfather brings long-forgotten memories to the surface. Letters from the Past is a film by Rebecca Simons about sexual abuse within the family and aims to open doors to a wider and more nuanced discussion. She tells a personal, complex story about clashing realities and memories of a family. The film screening will be followed by a discussion with the film maker and The Finnish Cultural Institute's Project Manager Malin Bergström

08/03 - To close WoWmen! and on International Women’s Day, the Finnish-Nigerian author Minna Salami will deliver a lecture about her work, followed by a conversation. She is the founder of MsAfropolitan, an internationally celebrated blog in which she combines feminism with critical reflections on contemporary culture from an African perspective. The evening’s reference point is Salami’s first book Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Interpretation, which will be published a week after the festival. In collaboration with The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, Kaaitheater, VUB - Vrije Universiteit Brussel and RHEA Expertisecentrum Gender, Diversiteit en Intersectionaliteit, and deBuren. The event is presented in collaboration with Black History Month.

02/03-08-03  - Screening of the Institute's RE/defining Masculinities Monologues. The video campaign was initiated by the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux as part of the RE/defining Masculinities project, and the videos were filmed and edited by the Finnish media artist Timo Wright. The monologues have been shared throughout the year 2019 on the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux's social media, and are screened as part of the RE/defining Masculinities autumn programme.

Discover the full programme here.  

WoWmen! is presented by Kaaitheater in collaboration with deBuren, Engagement, Espace Tous, Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux, KVS, Passa Porta, Rile*, RoSa, VUB-Rhea Centre for Gender and Diversity, workspacebrussels