International Women's Week in Antigonish


The Antigonish Women's Resource Centre presents: Creative Resistance

With International Women’s Day coming up on March 8th, the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre has a busy week of events and activities lined up to recognize and celebrate women’s voices and contributions. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Week is “Creative Resistance,” designed to acknowledge the ways in which women express themselves both creatively and politically.

The Xaverian Weekly sat down with Arwen Sweet, the provincial coordinator for the AWRC’s Healthy Relationships for Youth program, to discuss the upcoming events this week. According to Sweet, the International Women’s Week (IWW) campaign has been spearheaded by Annie Chau, a community activist whose efforts have helped diversify the celebration and allow a wider array of voices to be represented throughout the week. “This way we can have events that really celebrate differences between women and their experiences,” says Sweet.

IWW kicked off tonight with a film screening of “Sonita,” hosted in partnership with the Antigonish International Film Festival. “Sonita,” an internationally renowned documentary, tells the story of a young girl who uses music to oppose oppressive traditions after her family attempts to sell her into marriage.

Events continue tomorrow with a “Melinda By The Sea” paint party held at the People’s Place Library on Main Street from 1-4 p.m. Registration is limited, so contact the Naomi Society at 902-863-3807 to guarantee your spot.

Tuesday afternoon, representatives from the Women’s Centre will be on campus gearing up for Wednesday’s Annual Women’s March with poster making in the MacKay Lounge. Complete with free pizza, poster making will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Proceedings will then head over to the CACL Community Centre on Kirk Street for a workshop entitled “Wellness: We all need it!” The workshop will be facilitated by the AWRC Youth Violence Prevention Educator Faye Fraser, and will feature mindfulness tactics, music, art, and therapy dogs. While event is centred on wellness for women, it is open to all members of the community regardless of age or gender.

The Annual Women’s March takes place on Wednesday, March 8th, International Women’s Day, and will depart from the Coady International Institute at 12 p.m. Participants will march down Main Street, up Church Street, and back to campus along St. Ninian’s. The streets will be closed for the march, and the Antigonish Community Transit bus will be available to allow any individuals with accessibility issues to partake in the march.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, a variety of coffee shops and restaurants will be offering free coffee or other alternatives to women on March 8th. Kenny’s Pizza will be giving out a free pizza slice to women between 2 and 3 p.m. See the AWRC Facebook page for full details.

A full schedule of events for the week. 

A full schedule of events for the week. 

When we spoke with Sweet, she was in the midst of setting up the Creative Resistance art exhibit at the StFX Art Gallery. According to Sweet, the art exhibit is aimed at highlighting women’s voices and women’s work. In addition to various pieces of artwork solicited from both hobby artists and tenured artists in the community, the show will also feature pieces such as textiles and craftwork that are not traditionally considered art but are frequently utilized as platforms for women’s resistance. Protest art made for the Women’s March will also be featured in the exhibit.

The gallery opening takes place on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and will feature spoken word by Stories n’ Stanzas, musical performances from local artists, open mic, and interpretive dance by Hearts and Hands. El Jones, a poet laureate and activist, will be present as the guest of honour and will share some of her spoken word.

Jones will also partake in the Black Women’s Lives Matter panel discussion on Thursday, March 9th, along with fellow panelist Sylvia Parris, a Halifax-based educator, social justice advocate and policy consultant. The panel takes place in Dennis Hall in Coady West at 7 p.m., and will be accompanied by a commissioned dance performed by professional dancer Liliona Quarmyne entitled “Women, Walking.”  

Friday will feature presentations on Femininity and Sexuality by the Feminist Hive for Research. Dr. Nancy Forestell and Rhea Ashley Hoskin will present on challenging white privilege and queer femininities, respectively, in Coady 265 from 12-2 p.m.

Later that day, the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership, the Students’ Union and the Women’s and Gender Studies department will be hosting a keynote by Amanda Lindhout, entitled “Speaking On: She can and she will.” Lindhout is a Canadian journalist, philanthrophist, and activist who, along with members of her team, was captured by insurgents in southern Somalia and held hostage for fifteen months.

Since being released in 2009, she has founded an NGO for women’s empowerment and released a New York Times bestselling memoir, “A House in the Sky.” In her talk, Lindhout, who is also a 2010 graduate of the Coady Diploma in Development Leadership at StFX, will speak to her experiences as a hostage and the challenges of her recovery. The event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Schwartz Auditorium.

Concluding the IWW celebration is a family sing-along at Kids First Family Resource Centre on Saturday afternoon, and the Feminist Cabaret at Piper’s Pub from 8-10 p.m. The cabaret will feature all-bodies burlesque, performed by women of all ages, along with comedy, music, and other performances. Cover is $10 and $5 for the unwaged. It will be followed by a ResisDance dance party.

All are welcome and encouraged to come out and stand in creative solidarity with the Antigonish community, and to explore how women use the arts to fight back and celebrate their experiences.