Art/Writing as Activism – Global Feminisms Project

Art/Writing as Activism

Dr. Joyce Agofure :

Dr. Joyce Agofure

Dr. Joyce Agofure was born on April 3, 1978, in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, in southern Nigeria. She first attended primary school in Benin City and continued her education, obtaining her first degree in English and Education. She then entered the Masters’ Degree Program at Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria where she received a Masters’ Degree and subsequently a PhD in English literature. She was particularly interested in eco-feminism and the consequences of climate change on the lives of women. As a senior lecturer and the Coordinator of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of English at Ahmadu Bello University, she teaches courses which include Introduction to Literature, African Literature and Literature Theory. She assigns readings in Nigerian women’s literature, some of which consider the challenges faced by women which she discusses in these courses. She was able to expand her knowledge of eco-feminism, particularly the ways that women are seen as natural beings and the environment is characterized as feminine, during her tenure as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Idaho. This experience has enabled her to become involved in developing a course on Eco-Feminism to be taught in the Department of English at ABU.

Keywords: environment, academia and women's studies, art/writing as activism

Media: Name Pronunciation Audio, Transcript, Video, YouTube Video

Urvashi Butalia :

Urvashi Butalia

Urvashi Butalia, born in 1952, is a co-founder of Kali for Women, India's first feminist publishing house. She has worked as an editor at the Oxford University Press and Zed Press Books and taught publishing at Delhi University. She has won several awards, among them the Nikai Asia Prize for Culture (2003) and the Pandora Women in Publishing Award (2000).
Keywords: environment, media, academia and women's studies, art/writing as activism, intersectionality
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Laura Castro :

Laura Castro

Laura Castro, born in December 1981 in Rio de Janeiro, is an actress, playwright, singer, cultural producer, and political activist for LGBT families. She is the author of a number of stories and plays, including the 2013 play "To our Children," about a lesbian woman telling her mother that she is going to have a baby.
Keywords: LGBTQ rights, reform of domestic/family roles, art as activism
Media: Transcript (Portuguese, English), Video, YouTube Video (Portuguese, English Subtitles), Name Pronunciation Audio


Mahasweta Devi : 1926-2016

Mahasweta Devi


Mahasweta Devi (1926-2016) was one of India's foremost writers, recognized by the Sahitya Akademi (1979), Jnanpith (1996) and Ramon Magasaysay (1996) awards. She was also awarded the Padmasree (1986) for her activist work among dispossessed tribal communities, editing a Bengali quaterly, Bortika, creating a forum for marginalized people. The GFP staff notes with sadness the death of Mahasweta in 2016. Read the NYT obituary to learn more about her life, writing, and social activism.
Keywords: art/writing as activism
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Agnieszka Graff :

Agnieszka Graff

Agnieszka Graff was born in 1970 and received a bachelor of arts degree in English Language and Literature from Amherst College in the United States and later studied literature at Oxford University. She was an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Warsaw where she translated Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" in 1997. Since 2000, she has been an assistant professor at the Center for American Studies at the University of Warsaw.
Keywords: art/writing as activism, reproductive rights
Media: Transcript (EnglishPolish), Video (EnglishPolish), BibliographyEnglish YouTube Video, Name Pronunciation Audio

Barbara Hoyer :

Barbara Hoyer

Barbara Hoyer, born 1955, MA in German Studies and Geography (Magistra thesis on lesbian literature in the 1970s). After her studies, she worked in the women's bookstore Labrys in Berlin (1982-1989). From 1990-1998 was she part of the organisational team of BEGiNE -Treffpunkt und Kultur für Frauen e.V., responsible for event organisation, fundraising, and accounting. Since 1975 she has been active in the women's and lesbian movement, first in various women's groups (including LAZ -Lesbian Action Centre Berlin -around 1980), then in the above-mentioned women's projects). Since 2004 she has been project manager of the BEGiNE.

Keywords: media, academia and women's studies, community activism, art/writing as activism, LGBTQ rights

Media: Transcript (English, German), Video, YouTube Video (German, English), Name Pronunciation Audio

Holly Hughes : 1955-

Holly Hughes


Holly Hughes, born in 1955, is a performance artist. She became a member of the WOW cafe, a feminist collective and works on issues of sexuality, identity, personal narrative, and freedom of expression. She has performed across the USA, Canada, and Great Britain at venues ranging from cultural institutions to alternative spaces. At last contact, she was teaching at the University of Michigan.
Keywords: art/writing as activism, LGBTQ rights
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova :

Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova

Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova, born in 1963, had dual degrees in social work and sociology. She is a professor of sociology at the Higher School of Economics at the National Research University in Moscow, Russia, where she is a leading research fellow and the editor of the Journal of Social Policy Studies. Her professional research interests include social policy, sociology of professions, gender and disability, family and children, and qualitative research methods.
Keywords: academia and women's studies, art/writing as activism, education
Transcript (English, Russian), Video (Russian), YouTube Video (Russian, English), Name Pronunciation Audio

Inga Iwasiów :

Inga Iwasiów

Inga Iwasiów was born in 1963 and has a doctorate in feminist theory and literary criticism from the University of Szczecin where, at last contact, she was a Professor of Literature and an editor of a cultural bi-monthly Borderlands (Pogranicza). In 1994, she published Frontiers in Wlodzimierz Odojewski's Literature: A Feminist Intervention, which is considered one of the first Polish monographs in feminist theory and criticism. Iwasiów writes academic texts as well as prose and poetry, and is deeply committed to feminist language not only as an academic tool of interpretation, but also as a daily form of communication.
Keywords: art/writing as activism
Media: Transcript (EnglishPolish), Video (EnglishPolish), BibliographyEnglish YouTube Video, Name Pronunciation Audio

Natal’ia Iur’evna Kamenetskaia :

Natal’ia Iur’evna Kamenetskaia

Natal'ia Iur'evna Kamenetskaia was born in Moscow in 1959 and is an art historian, an exhibition curator, the author of critical articles on issues of women in art, and a curator of international and regional art projects. She was one of the first organizers of feminist exhibitions and conferences on gender issues in Russia in the early 1990s. She is also co-founder and director of an independent non-profit cultural organization, Creative Laboratory AAE (Art, Academics, Education).
Keywords: art/writing as activism, academia and women's studies
Transcript (English, Russian), YouTube Video (English, Russian),  Name Pronunciation Audio

Ke Qianting :

Ke Qianting

Ke Qianting was born in Guangdong Province of China in 1972. She graduated from SunYat-sen University, receiving her Ph.D. on Comparative Literature and World Literature in 2005. She is currently associate professor at Sun Yat-sen University and an MA student adviser. Research interests focus on feminist theory and its applications to literature, film, media and cultural studies. She is director of the Sex/Gender Education Forum of SYSU that advocated sex and gender equality on campus from 2007 to 2014. She also ran the Spring Feminist Society, an NGO promoting sex and gender equality in applied theater and other arts, from 2014 to 2017.
A chapter in Gender Dynamics, Feminist Activism and Social Transformation in China published by Ke Qianting in 2019 discussing the Vagina Monologues in China can be found here.
Diane Lima :

Diane Lima

Diane Lima was born in 1986 in Mundo Novo, Bahia, Brazil and is an independent curator and creative director. She holds a Master of Arts in Communication and Semiotics from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) and her work focuses on experimenting with multidisciplinary artistic and curatorial practices, developing collective learning devices with a focus on knowledge creation and production processes. In 2014, she founded the NoBrasil (InBrazil) platform, created the “Leave the Girl's Hair in the World” campaign (campanha “Deixa o Cabelo da Menina no Mundo”), and the AfroTranscendence project, an immersion program in creative processes to promote contemporary Afro-Brazilian culture. The project produced the short film Tempo de Cura (Healing Time) that was screened in several Brazilian film festivals. Between 2016 and 2017, Lima curated the Vale do Silício African Film Festival, created A. Gentes, an immersion program on racial issues for the employees of Itaú Cultural, in addition tobeing the curator -at the same institution-of Diálogos Ausentes (Absent Dialogues), a project that for a year and a half discussed the presence of black people in different areas. The project culminated with a homonymous exhibition in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In 2018 she was the curator of the Valongo International Image Festival, a member of the Art Critics Group of the CCSP –São Paulo Cultural Center, in addition to be a jury member on several selection and award commissions such as Bravo Award!, the award EDP in the Arts from the Tomie Ohtake institute and of Artsonica from Oi Futuro. Lima also collaborated for the Bravo! Magazine and in 2018 published a text in the Anthology Afro-Atlantic Histories of the MASP -São Paulo Art Museum.

Keywords: media, racial identity, art/writing as activism

Media: Transcript (Portuguese, English), Video, YouTube Video (Portuguese, English Subtitles)

Mangai :


Mangai is the pseudonym of Padma (born in 1959) who is a theatre director and Professor of English Literature in Stella Mary's College. As a member of the All India Democratic Women's Association and Chennai Kalai Kuzhu, Mangai translates social issues into street theatre and stage plays, becoming the key person in a group called Voicing Silence.
Keywords: feminist conferences, environment, art/writing as activism
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Eva Maria :

Eva Maria

Born in 1949, Eva Maria grew up in Frankfurt on Main. After graduating from high school and apprenticing as a bank clerk, she left home in 1971. She was a university student in Marburg, until 1977 when she moved to Berlin. She was active in different gay and lesbian groups throughout this period, and collaboratively created the first Lesbian Week in Berlin in 1985. Eventually she was very much involved with BEGINE in Berlin.

Keywords: LGBTQ rights, art/writing as activism

Media: Transcript (English, German), Video, YouTube Video (German, English), Name Pronunciation Audio

Mariia Viktorovna Mikhailova :

Mariia Viktorovna Mikhailova

Mariia Viktorovna Mikhailova was born in 1946. At last contact, she was serving as a Distinguished Professor at Moscow State University in the Department of History of Russian Literature of the Contemporary Period and Modern Literary Process. Her focus is the literary creativity of women, women’s literary criticism, and women playwrights of the Silver Age of Russian Literature (from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of 20th century). She was a member of the editorial board of the first feminist literary journal in Russia, Transformation.
Keywords: academia and women's studies, art/writing as activism, education
Transcript (English, Russian), Video (Russian, English Subtitles), Name Pronunciation Audio

Giordana Moreira :

Giordana Moreira

Giordana Moreira, born in 1980, is a human rights activist and has been working in the arts as a cultural producer since the-mid 2000s. In 2011 she created Roque Pense!, a network of women cultural producers that promotes projects and festivals through music and graffiti arts to raise awareness about women’s rights and to celebrate women’s artistic work.
Keywords: gender-based violence, art/writing as activism, community activism
Media: Transcript (English, Portuguese), Video, YouTube Video (Portuguese, English) Name Pronunciation Audio

Tamara Multhaupt :

Tamara Multhaupt

Tamara Multhuapt grew up in Schwäbish Gmund, near Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and moved to Berlin in the early 1970s. She obtained her M.A. in Ethnology, Sociology and Native American Studies from the Freie Universität in Berlin (Free University of Berlin) in 1979. From 1980 to 1986 she was a lecturer in the Institute for Ethnology at the Freie Universität Berlin. In 1981-82, she carried out a research project about the Azande people in South Sudan, and in 1990 "Hexerei und Antihexerei in Afrika" (published 1990) as well as academic articles also on witchcraft in Africa (such as Multhaupt, Tamara. "Sozialanthropologische Theorien über Hexerei und Zauberei in Afrika", Anthropos, n°82 (4/6), 1987, pp. 445-456). She was involved with the feminist organization, BEGiNE, when it first opened in 1986 and eventually actually worked there for 8 years, until about 1996; she particularly focused on the EU project about commemorative culture.

Keywords: academia and women's studies, art/writing as activism

Media: Transcript (English, German), Video, YouTube Videos (German, English), Name Pronunciation Audio

Haynará Negreiros :

Haynará Negreiros

Haynará Negreiros was born in São Paulo and holds a master's degree in Science of Religion from PUC SP (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo), where she investigated the relationships between clothing, candomblé and affective memories of the community of the Redandá terreiro (Redandá candomblé house) from São Paulo. Haynará is a writer and researcher of diverse aesthetic languages and her main areas of study are Afro-Brazilian and African aesthetics that are manifested through dress, fashion, religiosity and family memories. She published in Blogueiras Negras, has a tumblr called O axé nas roupas (The axé in the clothes), where in her own words she “performs a mapping of memories, a cartography about Afro-Brazilian aesthetics”. In 2018 she worked as a curatorial assistant at Red Bull Station, a space for experimenting with arts and music in downtown São Paulo. Between November 2019 and March 2020, she was the curator of the exhibition Indumentárias negras em foco (Black clothing in focus), that was the result of a partnership between the Moreira Salles Institute and the Feira Preta Institute. She currently teaches seminars at the MASP-São Paulo Art Museum School and at the Adelina Institute and writes the column "Negras Maneiras" (Black Manners) at ELLE Brazil.

Keywords: racial identity, art/writing as activism, academia and women's studies

Media: Transcript (Portuguese, English), Video, YouTube Video (Portuguese, English Subtitles)

Dagmar Schoenfisch :

Dagmar Schoenfisch

Dagmar Schoenfisch was born in Berlin in 1940. She worked as a nurse in East Berlin, and in August 1961 escaped to West Berlin, where she got her diploma at the Free University. She has a daughter and a son. She participated in the German Senate for Economics in 1978 and worked in women’s shelter activism. She was the founder of the first lesbian bar in Berlin (“Die Zwei”) in 1980-81, which she continued to operate until 2002.

Keywords: LGBTQ rights, academia and women's studies, art/writing as activism

Media: Transcript (English, German), Video, YouTube Video (German, English), Name Pronunciation Audio

Nataraj Trinta :

Nataraj Trinta

Nataraj Trinta, born in 1983 in Rio de Janeiro, is a graffiti artist and teaches graffiti workshops to women in low-income communities in Rio de Janeiro as a means to discuss violence against women. In 2010, with other artists and feminists, she helped to create the Feminist Urban Art Network (Rede NAMI), which promotes women’s rights and works to end violence against women through art.
Keywords: politics and the law, art/writing as activism, academia and women's studies, feminist conferences
Media: Transcript (EnglishPortuguese), Video, YouTube Video (Portuguese, English), Name Pronunciation Audio

Chizuko Ueno :

Chizuko Ueno

Chizuko Ueno, Chief Director of NPO Women’s Action Network (WAN, and an emerita professor at the University of Tokyo; upon retirement, her seminar has been relocated to an online classroom, Trained as a sociologist, her scholarship focuses on sociological analysis of gender, sexuality, family, feminism, patriarchy, capitalism in Japan. A pioneer in feminist scholarship and women’s studies, she has authored numerous books, articles, and opinion columns, including, in English, Nationalism and Gender (2004) and the Modern Family in Japan: Its Rise and Fall (2009). She has received many prizes in Japan and abroad, including a Hän Honour from a Finnish organization promoting gender equality (2019) and an international honorary member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (elected in 2020).  

Keywords: education, art/writing as activism

Media: Transcript (English, Japanese), YouTube Video (Japanese, English Subtitles)

Wei Tingting :

Wei Tingting

Wei Tingting, born in 1988 in Guangxi, China, a Chinese LGBT and Feminist activist, majoring in sociology in college and graduate with an MA in anthropology from Wuhan University. She started to get involved in feminist and LGBT movement since she produced and staged Vagina Monologues in Wuhan in 2007. She is the co-founder of national bisexual network in China, founder of Guangzhou Gender and Sexuality Education Center, and on the committee/counselor of several LGBT and feminist organizations.She was co-listed as the “10 of the Most Inspiring Feminists of 2015” by MS Magazine in the US. She is also a psychology counselor, writer, documentary producer and director. The documentary We Are Here she produced was screened in many countries.
Media: Transcript (English, Mandarin), Video, YouTube Video (Mandarin, English Subtitles)
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