What is your vision for liberated feminist futures?

Inspired by discussions at our last Feminist Unconference in response to the above question, and curated by Sedina Fiati, we at Nightwood’s Liberated Feminist Futures turns this question to you, our community. We were delighted to receive over 100 stirring and beautiful responses to this question, which we have offered as inspiration to poet Whitney French, visual artist Tannis Nielsen, and audio designer Olivia Wheeler and director Amanda Lin, who have crafted our collective cris de coeur into various mediums (including a lovely tote bag!)

Please click here to check out the rousing and  resonant responses that were sent in from folks in our community. And read on below to bask in the beautiful artistic responses that were generated and to learn more about the incredible artists involved in this powerful collaborative project.

Liberated Feminist Futures artistic responses

A human with long flowing hair sits perched on a crescent moon. Their left hand extends out to a small planet earth. The words "The 1st feminist framework: Earth" are below them.

Artistic response from visual artist Tannis Nielsen based on the 100+ community responses to the question “what is your vision for liberated feminist futures?” (A visual description is attached to the image.)

Artistic response from poet Whitney French based on the 100+ community responses to the question “what is your vision for liberated feminist futures? (A visual description is attached to the image.)

Poem reads: a duplex for our new-topia A liberated feminist future is when humans of all gender identities feel valued empowered, protected and loved. I dream of being safe in my own body a sweetness to spread myself wide how sweet it is, we spread ourselves widening societal boundaries, we make ourselves foundational we founded a society on unapologetic body acceptance: cries of pleasure, belly laughs & long restorative naps a world full of belly; longing for pleasure & naps where our joys are tree roots, exquisite webs atop exquisite trees of reciprocity, rootwork & joys let our feet walk us anywhere, anytime, unafraid we walk anywhere, anytime let us walk unafraid into a new space & just be, untethered wholeness wholly sovereign, queer, spacious, beings; we must dream of being safe in our bodies. A liberated feminist future is not having to think about it.

Artist Tamyka Bullen‘s ASL/English performance of Whitney French’s Liberated Feminist Futures poem, translated to ASL by Tamyka, directed and video edited by Amanda Lin, and audio designed by Olivia Wheeler. Special thanks to Marcia Adolphe for providing ASL-English interpretation between the creative teams.

Please note, closed captioning is accessible by clicking the CC button in the lower right of the YouTube window.

Audio recording of Whitney French’s Liberated Feminist Futures poem, directed and video edited by Amanda Lin, audio designed by Olivia Wheeler and featuring the voices of Cole Alvis, Amah Harris and Eponine Lee.

Please note, closed captioning is accessible by clicking the CC button in the lower right of the YouTube window.

Meet the artists

Liberated Feminist Futures Poet
Whitney French is a writer and a multi-disciplinary artist. She is a self-described Black futurist and aspiring farmer, who is committed to building radical new worlds by centering stories of Black folks and queer BIPOC communities around memory, loss, technology and nature. Language is her favourite collaborator. Whitney French is the co-founder of the Black queer feminist press Hush Harbour. Currently, she lives in Toronto. 

Liberated Feminist Futures Visual Artist
Tannis Nielsen is a Métis Woman (of Saulteaux/Anishnawbe and Danish descent) with twenty years of professional experience in the arts, cultural and community sectors, and ten years teaching practice at the post-secondary level. Tannis holds a Masters in Visual Studies Degree (M.V.S.) from the University of Toronto, an Art and Art History-Specialist Degree from U of T, as well as a Diploma in Art and Art History from Sheridan College. As a visual artist Tannis’s practice includes: drawing, painting, new media installation, sculpture and performance. Since 2007 her media works have investigated the relativities between Indigenous science a.nd quantum physics. Tannis currently teaches in the painting and drawing stream at OCAD.

Liberated Feminist Futures Sound Designer
Olivia Wheeler is a queer mixed-race, Chinese Canadian sound and performance designer, composer, theatre technician and multi-disciplinary artist.  She recently graduated with a degree in theatre and minor in music from the University of Victoria.  Her artistic practice aims to challenge the definition of performance, push the parameters of traditional theatre, and explore how design can become another character in a piece.  Some of her most recent work includes production designer, co-producer, lead artist and puppet designer for multiple productions with Theatre SKAM, Acting Assistant Technical Director at the University of Victoria, and sound design and music for numerous productions and podcasts. 

Liberated Feminist Futures Audio Director
Amanda Lin 林美智 (she/her) is a friend, playwright, daughter, arts administrator, crochet enthusiast, performer, sister, and director. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, where she studied social psychology, theatre, and business, with her area of research centring on attitudes and social influence. She is interested in using art and storytelling to cultivate compassionate and dynamic communities. Amanda currently works at Nightwood Theatre, where she spends her time fundraising and co-leading emerging artist programs such as the Nightwood Innovators and Rising Moon. Her first full-length play, Between a Wok and a Hot Pot (Asian Canadian Dinner Theatre), is currently in development at Cahoots Theatre.

 

Liberated Feminist Futures Voice Performer
Cole Alvis
(she/her) is a 2 Spirit Michif (Métis) artist based in Tkarón:to with Chippewa, Irish & English ancestors from Turtle Mountain. She is one of the leaders of
lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, and AdHoc Assembly, and is on the board of the Dancers Of Damelahamid. Recently, Cole performed in Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company & National Arts Centre) and directed the Dora-nominated bug by Yolanda Bonnell (manidoons collective & Luminato), Lilies by Michel Marc Bouchard (lemonTree creations, Why Not Theatre & Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) and, alongside fellow Dora-nominated Michael Greyeyes, co-directed an Indigenous opera double bill called Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit (Signal Theatre, National Sami Theatre Beaivváš & Soundstreams). This spring, Cole codirects, alongside Samantha Brown, White Girls In Moccasins by Yolanda Bonnell coproduced by manidoons collective and Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, and a digital presentation of the play Toka by Indrit Kasapi coproduced by lemonTree creations and Theatre Passe Muraille.

Liberated Feminist Futures ASL/English Performer
Tamyka Bullen has been involved in social services for women, immigrants, youths, and the LGBTQA community for many years. In 2015 she became involved in the theatrical world as an ASL poetry performer. In 2018, she debuted as an actress for the Sound Off Festival production Deaf That! and Judith Thompson’s play After the Blackout. She teaches ASL lessons and if you are interested to learn another language, please contact her at starrygirl45@gmail.com. She loves to craft and mingle stories, arts, poems, acting, and dance on stage, and to voice her feelings and thoughts through her hands, body language, and facial expressions. Her motto: Embrace Yourself, Show Yourself!

Liberated Feminist Futures Voice Performer
Amah Harris
B.A., B.Ed, M.Ed
 is known as an award winning cultural and social activist. Her work promotes positive imaging of Caribbean and African Peoples towards the Harmonious co-existence of Peoples and is hailed as getting to the root of racism. She is a producer, artistic director, playwright, actress, educator and motivational speaker. The Hamilton Spectator: “Amah is a pioneer in the field of Black Theatre in Canada” – quote by Evelyn Myrie, then Co-Chair of The John Holland Awards, one of a list of awards won by Amah Harris. Documented in the book, 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women (2018), Amah is documented as an innovator in education and theatre, who has been integrating elements of both disciplines to yield the most productive results from those with whom she works. This covers a wide range, from professional performers, corporation staff, Board of Education staff, to school students. Amah’s productions and experiential workshops have been experienced by literally hundreds of thousands across Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean and as far south as South Africa.

Liberated Feminist Futures Voice Performer
Eponine Lee was born and raised in Toronto. She is a grade 9 student at a local Toronto high school. She loves to read and hopes to one day be a musician, writer, actor and WNBABasketball Player. Her theatre and film credits include: R & J (Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Collaboration withWhy Not Theatre), The Shivers (digital reading, Firecracker Department); We Will Be: Rising as aCommunity (SummerWorks Performance Festival); The Girl, Her Mum and The Raccoon With NoName (Young People’s Theatre); One Flea Spare (digital reading, CanadaPerforms); A Winter’sTale (Shakespeare in the Ruff); The Full Light of Day (Electric Company Theatre/LuminatoFestival); A Christmas Carol (Soulpepper TheatreCompany); Queen of the Morning Calm (QOTMC Inc.); Little Wonder (workshop; UnSpun Theatre); Child-ish (workshop; The Child-ishCollective); Tails from the City (Common Boots Theatre Company); carried away on the crest of a wave (Tarragon Theatre). Eponine was awarded Best Breakout Performance at the 2020 Canadian Film Fest for Queen of the Morning Calm, and Now Magazine’s Breakthrough Toronto Stage Artist 2019.

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