Ilene Sova is the Founder and Coordinator of the Feminist Art Conference.
Feminist Art Conference (FAC) is a Toronto-based organization that brings together artists, academics and activists to consider feminist issues through art. Founded in 2013 by artist Ilene Sova, FAC began initially as an event to link feminist artists with each other as well as providing a forum in which to discuss our content. A call for organizing help was included in the first call for submissions and a large committee was formed to organize the FAC 2013 on March 9th for International Women’s Day and now is an annual conference bringing together over 90 participating artists and 350 attendees.
The mission for the Feminist Art Conference (FAC) was inspired by the recent spate of attacks on women’s and transgender rights in Canada, the US and abroad. Issues such as rape culture, trans phobia, racism, violence, media representation, cultural appropriation, environmental degradation and impact on Aboriginal lands, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and Islamophobic policies are areas of deep concern. These infringements on our right to agency and independence have been occurring in alarming numbers in our governments, in the media and in our communities. This conference provides an opportunity for these issues to be explored and communicated artistically in a unique and creative space that encourages sharing, creating and discussion. In the centuries old tradition of people organizing we believe that by coming together and communicating about these issues through our artistic practice, that we can initiate progressive change.
We aim to showcase like-minded, multi-disciplinary art including: visual art, film, theatre arts, music, dance, design, spoken word and literature. We will create a space that is celebratory, positive, intellectually engaging and provocative. We are committed to this space being trans inclusive, anti-racist, and intersectional. Furthermore, by providing an opportunity for feminist artists to meet and share their work, we believe we can provide opportunities for networking and future artistic collaboration that can inspire social change and empowerment. We have the vision that the ripple effect from this type of artistic sharing and learning can provoke positive transformations in both our communities and our minds.
THE WAY WE WORK
The Feminist Art Conference Toronto is a grassroots, not for profit, volunteered-based organization. While we actively seek and engage in a variety of partnerships, FAC functions as an independent base, not specifically affiliated with any corporation, university or non-governmental organization.
All planning for any FAC related activities and events happens through a general committee made up of a diverse group of academics, writers, artists, administrators, students, activists and parents. FAC embraces an intersectional and collaborative practice of feminist politics and reflects a committee of like-minded individuals. Participation in FAC organizing is done on a volunteer-basis, with tasks taken up by members with either related experience or interest in developing a new skill.
The FAC committee holds a general meeting once a month, with sub-committee meetings as required for event planning. We organize our yearly Conference under the following principles:
* We function as a not for profit organization committed to the support, collaboration and networking of feminist artists
* We commit to actively seeking both partnerships and submissions to the Conference with a diversity of artists and volunteers by researching and reaching out to variety of communities
* Conference planning is a non-hierarchical format wherein panels and issues are decided by artist submissions rather than imposed from the Committee
* The committee and conference seeks and remains open to critique and thoughtful consideration of how we organize and what we have presented in a commitment to the evolution of our feminist practice
* The committee remains active in negotiating our roles as conference organizers in considering when we take the lead and when we step back and provide a supportive role in our artistic partnerships
* The FAC conference is committed to being a site of support and diversity for feminist artists
*The conference and all other FAC activities are committed to providing accessibility in terms of language, politics and mobility