FiLiA 2017

Throughout the conference there will be stalls, art exhibitions, quiet chill-out rooms, and more.
A free creche will run through the morning (9:15 - 12:15) and the afternoon (13:15 - 18:30).
Children's workshops (age 6-12 recommended) are available and are free.
Children and infants are welcome during the main sessions at their adult's discretion.
Lunch is not provided but can be bought at any of the many nearby cafes, or you are welcome to bring your own. 

The programme is below ... please choose three workshops for each day that you plan to attend. 

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 08.11.46.png
Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 08.12.07.png

The conference will be compered by
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and feminist activist.



Testosterone Rex: Myths of sex, science and society

We’re all familiar with Testosterone Rex: the pervasive idea that risk-taking, competitive masculinity evolved in males to enhance reproductive success, and that these traits are therefore wired into the male brain, and fueled by testosterone. This compelling set of interconnected beliefs seem to offer an explanation for why men are much more likely than women to achieve Rex-like status in society – but do the scientific ideas bear up to scrutiny?


Interracial solidarity in the Women's Movement

SATURDAY MORNING 10.45 - 12.15

When Courage Is "Illegal" - The Story of Women Refugees 

Women seek asylum too, although the media narrative of refugees and asylum seekers often leaves them out. Their courage is no less, and for those who flee not just country but family and society, often more.  Here, we look at the stories of women seeking asylum.

LA LA Land

Putting the freeze on strip tease: a workshop on challenging local authorities who license sexual entertainment venues.
Are you involved in campaigning against SEVs (lap dancing clubs) in your local area, or are you thinking of starting a campaign?  In this practical workshop, Alison Boydell and Helen Mott will share their experiences, information and resources gained over years of feminist campaigning in Sheffield and Bristol.
Speakers: Alison Boydell, Helen Mott

Political Awakening

We are in the midst of a ‘democratic surge’, suddenly a radical and egalitarian alternative to the right-wing neoliberal domination of Parliamentary politics seems possible, it is finding its voice, making plans, having an effect. This has huge implications for feminism.  
Speakers: Beatrix Campbell (others tbc)

Getting justice for women when men are violent to them

Focusing on holding the state to account on violence against women and girls and challenging discrimination within the criminal justice system. 

Revolutionary Women

October 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. On this occasion we are bringing together five prominent international speakers to discuss What it means and What it costs to be a female revolutionary. Dedicated to the role and struggles of women in the radical movements, this panel will pay tribute to the past and present female revolutionary thinkers and activists of Russia, Rojava and the UK, and will reflect on their shared and unique challenges, tactics and achievements.
Speakers: Anna Zobnina, Leda Garina, Angelina Lesniewski, Sheila Rowbotham, Nadia Plungian, and Rahila Gupta

Talking persuasively when you fundamentally disagree

Do you want to speak truth to power? Do you lobby decision makers, but find a lack of common ground stops your message getting through? This workshop is about how to speak to people when you think agreement is impossible.


Prison Doesn’t Work

Hear from the national charity Women In Prison and women affected by the criminal justice system on the urgent need to dismantle our broken and harmful prison system and how you can help achieve the starting ambition of reducing the women's prison population to 2,020 by 2020.


Femicide is a sex-based hate crime carried out by men against women; some argue that it is the ultimate expression of patriarchy. Femicide names what Diana Russell calls the “sexual politics of murder”
On this panel we will hear about the campaign ‘Counting Dead Women’ and the significance of the Femicide Census; Spanish hunger strikers against Femicide; Turkish women ‘Dying to Divorce’ and the disappearing of Canada’s First Nations women.
Speakers: Karen Ingala-Smith, Gloria Vasquez, Sinead Kirwan, (others tbc)

Flaunting Fearlessness

Can we reclaim the body positivity movement before it tries to shame us?
A panel of 4 speakers discuss what body positivity means to them, cultural conditioning within the current media body positivity movement, and if the want to change your body is a feminist journey to undertake.
Anti-Shame Week founders will host a workshop to discuss and explore how body shaming changes with age, race, health and body shape.
Speakers: Ellie Richardson, Kiran Gandhi (via Skype), Hilary Farnworth, Melissa Weldon and
Sarah Beckett

Abortion Act: 50 years

The 1967 Abortion Act was 50 years ago, but many women in the UK and Ireland still do not have the right to an abortion. Abortion seekers from both Northern Ireland (still part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland, have to travel, mainly to Britain, for a safe and legal abortion for which they must pay considerable sums of money. This is not possible for all women, leaving them vulnerable to criminalisation, back street procedures and all the associated complications, including death.
Witness also the global push back of women’s reproductive autonomy in the US, Poland and elsewhere. 
We will hear from women who recognise that in spite of the Abortion Act, there is still a long way to go, and we will hear from Poland where women organised a mass strike against the anti-abortion bill. 
Speakers: Krystyna Kacpura, Ann Rossiter, Clare Murphy (others tbc)

Changing scripts to challenge gender inequalities

Gradual games and exercises will give you the opportunity to start a playful and collective examination of the roots of gender inequalities and bring to the stage simple situations where you believe they appear. Should we accept the stories that surround us or can we change them? How can we tackle gender stereotypes in our daily lives? How can we challenge the attitudes which normalise discrimination and violence? Through image and forum theatre we will express problematic situations and rehearse possible solutions.
There is absolutely no need to have acting experience. Your life is the expertise we will use to build a stronger collective awareness. If you enjoy games, and believe everyone has an immense creative potential to trigger change in everyday life then this workshop is for you.
Speakers: Anne Laure Humbert and Claudia Signoretti

Feminist Art: Access, Activism and Representation 

This session will address important issues in the creation of feminist art: access, activism and representation. We will explore the difficulties accessing the art world and the struggle to be taken seriously as artists, with particular focus on the representation of black women in the arts and on the application of feminist art in reframing justice for victim-survivors of rape. 
Speakers: Daniela Pilcher, Sophie Docherty, Carmen Aleman, Rose Gibbs (others tbc)



Women and the environment: a feminist perspective of the current environmental situation

How does the natural environment affect women? Are women more affected by climate change than men? What is the role of women in biodiversity conservation? How does water scarcity threaten women around the world? How can women be empowered by the sustainable management of natural resources?
This session will explore the relationship between gender and the environment, how the most pressing environmental issues are affecting women’s lives and, most importantly, how women are part of the solution.
Speakers: tbc

Putting Class back into Feminism

This is not an academic session: the women taking part are all grassroots activists in their trade union or community organisation. For many working class women activists feminism has become a dirty word by not being not inclusive and failing to engage with working class women who need the support of their sisters. 

This will be a relaxed conversation in which we are going to talk about challenging austerity and fighting for justice at work. We want to ensuring that their voices are heard in the debates around the lives of the working class women in the UK.

Join us to chat about the position of women today and how we can support each other and build real links between ourselves.
Speakers: Julie Longden (others tbc)

Sexual Exploitation of Women: Where Misogyny and Racism Meet

This panel, represented by the African, Russian and Middle Eastern women activists, gives a critical overview of the global trends of exploitation of female bodies, in which discrimination based on sex, race/ethnicity, class and legal status come together to justify the oldest form abuse of women; prostitution. From the women prostituted in the refugee camps, to the trafficking of Nigerian females by the Black Axe gang, to the European policy increasingly under pressure to normalise female sexual exploitation, the speakers will examine, from the international perspective, what makes it so difficult to resist the growing sex industry and what needs to be done in order to combat it, collectively.  
Speakers: Anna Zobnina, Alicia Arbid, Salome Mbugua, Julie Bindel and Sadia Hameed
The panel is organised by the European Network of Migrant Women (ENOMW).

Build A Girl

The Build A Girl Project was founded by Fiona Broadfoot, a survivor of Child Sexual Exploitation. 
The project provides a safe and therapeutic environment for Girls and Young Women to 'Build A' Unique self by; raising aspirations and self-esteem. Empowering girls and young women to make safe and informed choices and healthy relationships.
Speaker: Fiona Broadfoot

Trump & Co: Bash Or Hug?

Nimco Ali leads a session on men in power. 

Women Making News, Women Changing The World

What would feminist news and current affairs look like? 
We’ve heard a lot recently about the fight for more women making Hollywood movies, but what about our own TV News? How different would it look if women chose the stories and - more important maybe - the angle on the stories? And what happens when you make a story too radical for TV?

Feature and documentary film-maker Sue Clayton talks about her recent forays into TV news and Current Affairs, shows her new activist film on the Calais Jungle children, and argues that women do tell stories differently,  and that in the world today more than ever, we need our voices to be heard loud and clear.
(You can also buy a ticket to see a second showing of this film on Saturday evening)
Speaker: Sue Clayton
Calais Film Trailer




Film 'Calais Children' with talk 'Women Making News'

SUNDAY OPENING 9.30 - 10.15


Black Women organising: Past Imperfect, Future Tense...

From 'Yes Matters': a reading and a call to action

SUNDAY MORNING 10.45 - 12.15

International Activism

Activism: ‘taking direct and militant action to achieve a political or social goal’.
Feminist activists do this in the name of the liberation of women and girls. 
Remarkable women from Norway, Russia, Spain, Poland and Morocco report back from the front-line of global feminist activism. They have been subject to ill treatment and arbitrary detention; they have undertaken hunger strikes and faced being labelled as terrorists rather than the liberationists that they are. Come and hear what they have to say. Perhaps join them?!
Speakers: Ane Sto, Leda Garina, Gloria Vasquez, Krystyna Kacpura and Ibtissame Lachgar (Betty)

The Changing Face of Patriarchy: Is it receding or just reinventing itself? 

Is patriarchy dying off or is it just mutating, reinventing itself in order to maintain its control over women? If you define patriarchy as the system of male supremacy which existed in Western countries 150 years ago, the changes are obvious and, at first sight, it seems that women have indeed come a long way. But a closer look might leave one wondering: did some of these changes, generally seen as positive for women, make them in fact more vulnerable? Didn't they relieve men of some of the responsibilities they were supposed to shoulder in traditional patriarchy? Did some reforms who were meant to liberate women appear in retrospect as having mostly benefited men, in particular when it comes to offloading to women their financial obligations to their family? Did men really lose ground or did they just disinvest themselves of forms and means of control which became obsolete and switch to new and more efficient ones? To what extent did they substitute ideological manipulation and manufactured consent to brutal force and overt constraint? In some areas, it could even be said that women have been burdened with a number of new tasks while still having to fulfil the old ones. The American mega-tycoon Warren Buffett has declared that his class has won the class struggle.  Is patriarchy on the verge of winning the "gender struggle" as well? These are the main questions which will be discussed in this presentation.
Speakers: Francine Sporenda and Ece Kocabicak

Trading in youth : from male violence to activism

The system of prostitution is based on the exploitation of the most vulnerable, starting with girls and young women. In the Netherlands, where pimping is legal, 50% of the persons in the escort sector started when they were younger than 20 years old. The lack of action against prostitution and male violence, coupled with a persistent rape culture and a reality of economic inequalities between women and men, puts younger women at risk.

In this context, sex trade survivors share their stories and take action to raise awareness of the public and of young people. Feminist youth organisations have also mobilised in several countries, to bring their voices about a reality that concerns them directly.
Altogether, they vitalise an abolitionist movement which fights against the commodification of youth and women. Join us to find out more and be inspired!
Speakers: Pierette Pape, Megan Robinson-Walker, Fiona Broadfoot, Grizelda Grootboom and
Mia De Faoite

Sex & the Citadel: Gender, Sexuality and Religious Fundamentalism

On issues of gender and sexuality, in many parts of the world, great progress has been made, largely through feminist struggles. Positive changes have taken place in legislation and more crucially in public discourses and attitudes. But hard won feminist gains are now under immense threat due to the global rise of religious fundamentalist politics in all religions. Around the world, regressive religious identity is increasingly defining new social relations at the heart of which lies the reinvigoration of reactionary and patriarchal constructions of female sexuality and control. This is evident in a range of harmful and coercive practices to which women and girls are subjected. In the UK, demands for Sharia laws and gender segregation in schools and colleges, attempts to revive and normalise Zina cultures and the policing of inter-faith marriages and relationships are just some of the ways in which religion, culture and laws are being used to regulate female sexuality and legitimate gender based-violence and discrimination. This panel will examine these developments and consider the ways in which they are being challenged.
Speakers: Pragna Patel, Sadia Hameed, Houzan Mahmoud (others tbc)

Parenting To Power

A workshop by and for Women Of Colour looking at the particular intersections of feminism in dealing with the infrastructure of power in the form of GPs, hospitals, the education system, justice system, social services and everyday micro-aggressions for parents who are WOC.  All welcome.

Where Are We?

Where are the women?  Representation of women is missing from public life, from portrayals on our screens to our archives to the statues in our public places.  


Teaching Equality

Will it destroy children’s innocence to educate them about equality, opportunity and their rights, as some claim? Our panel looks at the issues facing girls from childhood and how educators can promote equality and intervene for girls’ rights, right from Early Years to higher education.

Sisters doing it for ourselves? The crisis facing violence against women support services and what you can do

A critical and literally life-saving product of the women’s movement has been the creation of women-led support services who are there when women experiencing domestic and sexual violence, FGM, forced marriage and other violence need them. From the first refuges set up in empty council houses, to Black women’s centres and rape crisis helplines, these services have helped to expose and change society’s attitudes to violence against women as well as saving women’s and children’s lives. But in an era of ‘austerity’ and of competitive tendering by local councils, many are at risk of closure. If they go, women’s knowledge and skill in providing the best women-led support will go. Come and hear from a panel of speakers who have set up and run these services about what is at stake, why it matters where you live, and what you can do to help stop the closures.
Speakers: Sarah Green (others tbc)
Coordinated by End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Domestic Violence And the Family Courts

Our expert panel examines the rights of women and children who have left an abusive situation. 

Practical Woman

Our workshop will be an introduction to the Practical Woman project whilst also aiming to give you practical skills you can take away with you. We will be covering all the areas needed to begin (or energise) your home improvement and DIY skills in completing tasks around your home. We will talk about the effects of being more practical and fixing, creating or designing projects in your flat so you can also feel the confidence boost, deep personal satisfaction and strong sense of achievement we do.  It will also be a wide reaching workshop as will include other important areas linked to being more practical such as meditation, sisterhood and what to have in the perfect toolbox! We look forward to meeting you there.  

Grace Under Fire

'Grace Under Fire' is a short film produced by the Victorian Women's Trust. Based on the book 'Whispers from the Bush' by Dr Skye Saunders, the film shines a light on the hidden epidemic of gendered harm in rural Australian workplaces and is a clarion call for cultural change.'  Followed by a Q&A with Dr. Skye Saunders.


In this talk and demonstration, Debi Steven, the charity’s Founder & President, and herself a survivor of rape, will be talking to participants about her life and Action Breaks Silence. This world-renowned session will then cover wide-ranging topics including:  What is self-defence and why this industry has been so male dominated; Demystifying the bad guys and discussing who the perpetrators really are; Living in 2017 – mainstream media and the impact of pornography on boys, girls and society; “Feeling” empowered and “behaving” empowered; Women’s natural self-defence system; Verbal diffusion; Drug-assisted sexual assault; and, finally, a demonstration of physical self-defence tools and techniques.
Action Breaks Silence is an educational charity established to create a world where women and girls can live their lives free from fear of gender-based violence.
Speaker: Debra Steven


Lesbian Line: 40 years

Come and find out what prompted us in 1977 to set up Lesbian Line, the phone service "by and for lesbian and bisexual women", with the stated aim of "combating isolation". Our publicity said 'for help, advice or information, or just for a chat' . Hear from women who answered the phones over the years, what motivated us, the range of things that callers (who were anonymous) wanted to talk about, how we shared and developed our skills (we were not, and did not want to be, 'professionals'), and the challenges of running the service. Would the same issues be raised now? 
There will also be time for you to ask us questions.
Speakers: Helen Bishop, Rachel Beck and Pam Isherwood

Gender & tech / sex robots

Sex dolls with AI are imagined to give men the perfect women; a doll in the form of a woman or child that doesn’t have any needs, wants or desires. Some in the field of robotics predict with growth of the sex doll industry will help reduce prostitution, reduce rape, and reduce child exploitation as men attack dolls rather than assault women and children. What is the real status of the sex doll industry and are there any such things as ‘sex robots’? Will these new trends create more harm for women and children as men fail to see the difference between humans and dolls? Or will they be a benefit to society? This panel will explore these issues.

Word After Word

“A word after a word after a word is power” - Margaret Atwood.  This session will look at the power contained within women’s publications outside the mainstream, including zines and comics.  Panelists include a former editor of Stir, the women’s prison magazine.


Looking at how Muslim women are being silenced for speaking out by both their own communities and the far right, with special focus on social media. 

What is ‘Recovery’ Anyway, and Is It Even Possible? Living Life After Rape and Sexual Violence

One of the beliefs of life after rape is that you are ‘forever changed’ and it is something you will have to learn to live with, never overcoming. We explore the recovery journey for the survivors on our panel and their thoughts as to what recovery means, and whether they think it is even possible.

What is Consciousness Raising?        ---- SOLD OUT ----

CR is a way for women to talk with one another about their experience of living their lives as women. Because we start with our individual and personal experience it is rooted in our reality and not what we have been told women's lives are supposed to be. Because we do it together, it becomes possible to change our understanding of our own lives, uncovering truths, recognising similarities and differences, and linking the personal with the political. Feminists in the 70's coined the term 'the personal is political' and found that if we began with our experiences we would understand our oppression differently and move from there to creating theory and action that truly reflected both our individual lives and the oppression of women as a group. It is a collective process that often deepens relationships and friendships and which, for many of us, created lifelong bonds.
This workshop will create a CR group for this session and will go through the process with the women involved. Women over 18 only.
Speaker: Lynn Alderson