The Red Tent is an old idea. But it’s new at Greenbelt. Whenever we’ve programmed feminist content at the festival, there has been a huge appetite for it. Overlay that with what faith and its various institutions do and don’t do with and for women, and there’s a rich context. This is a space and programme with women at heart. Laugh, cry, pray, share, be.
Artistry and protest …
Yael is an award-winning Israeli/Canadian singer-songwriter and activist. She cofounded legendary trio Habanot Nechama who had a number one hit in Israel with their single So Far and sold over 50,000 copies of their album. Yael wrote the song Prayer of The Mothers which has become an anthem for peace movements in the Middle East and beyond.
GRRRL IN THE RED TENT
Presented by In Place Of War
GRRRL presents intimate performances and dynamic panel discussions featuring women artists from areas of conflict across the world. GRRRL artists come together to tell their collective stories of life, conflict, inequality and feminism – incorporating debate, stories, rap, performance, music and protest. GRRRL artists are from Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ghana, South Africa, Brazil and Venezuela. GRRRL is packed with purpose and has a message to tell.
FACING DOWN. FACING UP. FACING OUT.
When Saffiyah Khan faced down an angry EDL protester in Birmingham earlier this year, armed with nothing more than a smile, little did she know that her simple yet defiant gesture and act of solidarity would propel her onto a global stage. Come and hear Saffiyah’s story and be inspired by it to stand with and for one another in the face of oppression. This is hope in the face of all the odds. Let’s leave Greenbelt armed with its disarming and infectious power.
Culture and identity …
About 6 years ago, Kate found herself looking through some old photos of herself as a teenager and remembering how ugly she thought her body was back then. As she looked at her teenage self, Kate felt all those years wasted on insecurity and shame; she heard words of judgement and body shaming. In response, Kate booked a photographer, drank a bottle of cheap Prosecco and got naked for a photo shoot. It was one of the most empowering things she’s ever done. The pictures were for no one but her. And she loves them. But still, since then, Kate has lost and gained weight, become more wrinkled and stretch-marked and the insecurities are still there. In this session we explore our relationship with our bodies – from a personal and a structural perspective. This is about more than ‘Jesus thinks you’re beautiful, whatever size/shape you are’. And it’s about more than Kate having a public therapy session. Join with women of all ages and sizes as we confront our real bodies in all their wonderful diversity.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Are we changing our visual culture, or just creating a new hierarchy?’ ‘Do we forge our own destinies, or model the projections of our collective imagination?’ ‘Who are we when we turn off our smartphones?’… and other impossible questions. A deep dive into thoughts about identity, representation, and all the ways we build ideas of ‘the self’. Jendella Benson is a British-Nigerian writer, photographer and filmmaker, based in London.
WOMEN IN HERSTORY
Herstory is a participatory project that straddles art, activism and education, using feminist art to engage people of all genders with women’s history. Join founder, Alice Wroe to learn about the project, explore its methodology and think through why practising women’s history is political and empowering for all of us. Alice Wroe created and runs Herstory, a project that uses feminist art and participatory practices to engage people of all genders with the women’s history not in the curriculum.
Alice invites you to take your seat at Herstory’s recreation of Judy Chicago’s canonical feminist artwork ‘The Dinner Party’. You will be given all you need to spend the workshop journeying through Herstory, celebrating people and achievements that for so long have gone unrecognised.
KEYBOARD ACTIVISM: STRATEGIES FOR CREATING SAFE SPACES
Social media can be a hostile space for many women, especially those who bring their personal stories into their activism and those who are engaged in fighting for the rights of marginalised groups. How do we, as women activists, ensure that social media is a safe space for us? How do we react (should we even react?) to a backlash against our work? And how do we turn the response into positive action that promotes our own work? Come and share your stories and ideas for practical, tangible strategies for coping with backlash and threats on social media, and share how and where we might find real allies and support networks.
Living in Haifa, of Slovak-Palestinian parentage, Khulud is a writer, poet, and member of radical feminist collective Isha L’Isha.
Prayer, reflection and spirituality …
PRAYING WITHIN THE WOMB OF GOD
Morning prayer celebrating the feminine divine and women’s bodily experiences. Birmingham based feminist liturgist and poet-theologian Nicola Slee opens The Red Tent programme for the day with prayers written especially for the venue and the festival. As possibly the most respected woman writing liturgy with and for women in the UK, we are honoured that Nicola is with us in The Red Tent.
FACES OF SHEKHINAH: THE FEMININE DIVINE IN JUDAISM
Rachel Rose Reid
If God is beyond gender and definition, why can it cause so much kerfuffle when we speak of her as she? Has it always been so? Come explore the Jewish Goddess hidden in plain sight, through text study, discussion and song. Rachel Rose Reid is a storyteller and the first European woman to be ordained by the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute.
SALTWATER, CIRCLES, SPICES: SEPHARDIC WOMEN’S RITUAL LORE
Rachel Rose Reid
Well into the 20th century, the Sephardic Jews of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania had a living spirituality extending beyond the bounds of many modern understandings of Judaism. We shall learn a little of this ritual work through the eyes of sacred texts, early rabbis, and the women themselves, who sought to sweeten the darkness and heal troubled times.
100 YEARS OF ORDINATION
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes and Kirsty Thorpe
Hear the story of Constance Coltman, the first woman minister ordained in Britain, 100 years ago in the United Reformed Church. Who knew!? Join a conversation about the experiences of women now who face challenges in their ministry today. A must for all women in ordained ministry at the festival.
With Liz Adekunle, Sally Hitchiner and Grace Wroe
As Archdeacon of Hackney and Chaplain to The Queen, Liz Adekunle comes to be part of Greenbelt for the very first time. Before her main talk (on Faith, Feminism and the Future), Liz leads a short act of prayer at the close of formal programming for The Red Tent’s first full day.
Story and remembering …
REMEMBERING IS A HOLY THING
In her prologue to her book The Red Tent, Anita Diamant’s writes: “It is terrible how much has been forgotten, which is why, I suppose, remembering seems a holy thing.” So now, The Red Tent is yours for the early evening. Come and be. Come and share. Come and tell. Come and listen. Some and tell stories and pass on wisdom. This is your space for an hour or so. On hand will be a group of Greenbelt women whose dream it’s been to see a Red Tent at the festival for many years. But it’s not their agenda, it’s yours. This is what the Red Tent is all about: helping us remember who we are.