28th April Planning Meeting Summary

Thanks to everyone who came along and everyone who is doing work and getting involved!

BACK UP: Art in West Midlands Women’s Refuges + new cooking initiative

Members working on the art project gave an overview of where the art project and funding application to work with women in refuge is currently up to, and provided background and thinking behind what the project could be and why we want to do it. We discussed some of challenges involved in delivering this work and the measures that could be put in place to tackle these.

Members also outlined the importance of facilitating access to the arts for women in refuge because they don’t get access to any or very little arts for a range of reasons, including being denied access by their perpetrators. The arts have a really positive impact on women in refuge: they can be very powerful because they provide women with a voice, and the process of working creatively in a supported setting reinforces the significance and value of being believed and not blamed for what has happened to them.

One member would like to volunteer her time on a monthly basis to teach cooking skills to women in refuge, including how to shop (locally to the refuges) and cook on a tight budget. We discussed how this could possibly be part of the arts project or an initiative of it’s own as there is always demand from women in refuge for cooking skills.

BACK UP: Women’s Strike

Members who attended talked about the Women’s Strike that took place on 8th March. Beth and Katy spoke about FWFC alongside representatives from Save Birmingham Nurseries, the Kurdish Women of Birmingham, Aston University UCU, University of Birmingham Women’s Officer, the Labour Party, Momentum Birmingham and Birmingham Sisters Uncut. It was a positive and well attended event and we were proud to protest and walk in solidarity with everyone who came along.

BACK UP: Good Night Out Campaign

One of our members will be leading on the Good Night Out Campaign work with support from those who would like to get involved in the training. There is preparatory work to do before we set up as a regional branch and support is welcome from those who would like to help out – without necessarily needing to commit to the training – by providing/researching information about other local women’s and LGBTQ+ groups who might be interested in delivering Good Night Out training in city centre bars and clubs, and suggestions for bars and clubs to work with. If you’d like to help – get in touch!

ORGANISE: Fundraising for The Haven’s Interpretation Service / FWFC 1st Birthday Party Fundraiser

One of our members has been doing a lot of work with The Haven re: our focus for fundraising. We have agreed to fundraise for The Haven in Wolverhampton’s interpretation service. The Haven are really pleased that we are fundraising for this service as this will mean that all women experiencing domestic violence, regardless of whether they can speak English, will be able to speak to an advisor at the service over the phone. One of our members talked in detail to the group about why this is so important, as migrant women face more barriers that prevent them from accessing domestic violence services and keep them living in DV situations.

Our first fundraising initiative will be our FWFC 1st birthday party in summer 2018 – Talk Ain’t Cheap. We will need support with good raffle prices, merchandise and general all round party planning. If you’re interested in helping – get in touch!

ORGANISE: West Midlands Feminist Heroes

Baraa was our first West Midlands Feminist Hero, nominated by Beth.

Baraa talked about the significance of this nomination for her, especially amongst her female family and community members and how important and rare it is was for a woman to be recognised and celebrated for her work. She also talked about how the nomination has been useful in terms of networking and making further connections with women and organisations doing good work, in the UK and abroad.

We are now looking for our next West Midlands Feminist Hero! Heroes can be both in the past and present. If you would like to nominate, get permission from your Feminist Hero and then send a photo/drawing of them plus a bit of text about why you’ve put them forward.

ORGANISE: FWFC Feminist Library

FWFC Feminist Library is open for people to borrow from, however we need more stock! If you can donate a feminist text, essay, book, zine, comic, novel – basically anything – please bring it along to the next planning meeting. We feature them on our website and on the instagram.

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