Festival of Transnational Feminist Artivism

HER|visual|STORY was a four-day digital photography festival that took place from 25th to 28th November 2020. The festival was curated by femLENS and F.I.G.A by alysvisualart.com and explored the theme of “Space and Representation.” The festival aimed to critically explore important aspects such as digital equality and visual literacy, bringing together women from different levels of the photo industry, creatives, activists, and communities of women and girls.

The festival was opened by a photographic work made by refugee women who participated in the femLENS workshops. The program included free downloadable materials, free workshops, networking opportunities, and much more. The festival gathered women from different countries and backgrounds, providing them with tools to empower and represent themselves.

Day one of the festival included a photographic exhibition of femLENS workshop participants and professional photographers on the theme of migration, followed by a discussion about the importance of photography originating from different communities. There were presentations of photo projects:

  • Photo stories from Halima Al Haj Ali and Faten Anbar – femLENS’ documentary photography workshops participants.
  • A long-term personal project from Okky Ardya who presented photographs of migrant women from Indonesia.
  • And a presentation form Alice Castiglione about the refugee crisis, representation of refugees in the media and her photos of women refugees in Sicily.

We also had a great discussion between Alyssa Ahrabare, who is a Project Officer for the European Network of Migrant Women, and Alicia Arbid – Coordinator of Arab Women Solidarity Association, and the photographers about the importance of representation of both sides of the story. Stories that are told and shown from firsthand experiences and from the perspective of the photographers and photojournalists.

Day two included a practical workshop on storytelling by femLENS and an interactive workshop on disentangling inequality. Participants discussed how to approach a story and the questions photographers need to ask to develop and improve any story. The workshop on disentangling inequality aimed to find solutions to remove the barriers that lead to inequality to access resources and platforms by Dr Tracy Piper-Wright from MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture.

Day three of the festival included a writing workshop and talks aimed at improving our understanding of the digital space. Giuliana Sorci, Chiara Ludolini and Vesna Manojlovic talked about cybersecurity, digital equality and creating a feminist Internet.

The day ended with an inspiring talk from Mai’a Williams about writing and storytelling.

Day four focused on community platforms, including digital spaces, physical spaces, printed spaces, and protest as a platform. There were discussions about founding community platforms, creating physical spaces for organising events and creative community gatherings, and using protest as a platform for visual arts and social change.

  • Polly Urungu told us how she founded Black Women Photographers.
  • Simona Scaduto showed her work on the streets of Palermo, Sicily.
  • Till Rimmele told us about how he created a physical space for organising events and creative community gatherings.
  • Anne Nwakalor talked about her experience in publishing No! Wahala magazine.
  • And Fernanda Vázquez and Francisca Marín were presenting works of Chilean women and spoke about protest as a platform for visual arts and social change.

The festival was able to an inclusive and accessible program that brought together women from different backgrounds and levels of the photo industry, providing them with tools and knowledge to empower and represent themselves.

her visual story festival day one panelists femlens
her visual story festival day two panelists femlens
her visual story festival day three panelists femlens
her visual story festival day 4 panelists femlens