11 March 2022

It was an event put together in just a few days but it was a perfect example of what women can achieve when they pull together and support one another.

On Tuesday 8 March, a group of female academics, students and alumna from the University of East London's School of Arts and Creative Industries came together to put on a show at University Square Stratford in celebration of International Women's Day (IWD). 

Performing to a packed audience, the special Space For Women event centred around the theme of this year's IWD #BreakTheBias and featured live music, digital art, dance-on-film, presentations, spoken word … and a rant. All in celebration of women.

Organised by Associate Professor (Reader) in Performance Liselle Terret, the showcase was an opportunity for women to feel safe in a space, where they could share their personal experiences of what it is to be a woman.

Kicking off the show was senior lecturer in music Yumi Hara Cawkwell who opened with a solo musical recital. This was followed by an inspiring line-up of spoken word from drama, applied theatre and performance students Rhiannon Namon, Layla Edwards and Heather McInnes; a digital art presentation from Contemporary Performance Practice alumna Shea Donovan; a creative talk by senior lecturer in music Dr Roberta Garrett; a presentation by Associate Professor (Reader) in Performance Claire Qualmann; dance-on-film from Interim Co-Course Leader Dance Urban Practice Dr Jo Read ; a presentation by fashion student Samantha Lange Zambrono; and a rant by Associate Professor Terret. 

Speaking after the event, Associate Professor Terret said, "I was absolutely elated by the success and the popularity of the event. The feedback was overwhelming and the staff and students who performed shared their delight and pride at being part of the line-up.

"We organised it at such short notice, but with everyone's hands-on collaborative approach before and on the day, we made it happen! We were determined to relish in the temporary women's space. 

"Every act was a highlight, including Sam's presentation on her rights as a Global Majority trans-woman, which feels so important and relevant right now to support our sisters. And, Rhiannon performing her spoken word while her three-year-old son watched on in the audience before joining her on stage at the end. 

"Each act was performed and presented in such poignant ways, sharing experiences of oppression, of strength, of vulnerability, of common sense, of the weight carried, of the constant negotiation of the everyday silencing that we all experience. A moving, uplifting, subversive, nourishing and celebratory moment in time."

Images by: Francesca Iris Redighieri

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