Photo (c) Two Spoons Photography
NYC’s Feminist Camp makes its way to Seattle November 4th and 5th. Designed to explore the topics of feminism, social justice, and art through conversations with local activists and professionals, the jam-packed, two-day program is conversation-oriented and includes scheduled speakers from The Center for Sex Positive Culture, Surge, Siren, The Twilight Gallery and STACKEDD. Tickets are Sold Out but there are still a few ways to be involved. You can send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camp founder Carly Romeo and Seattle’s point people Katie Gallagher and Jody Joldersma took some time out of their insane schedules to fill us in on their NW debut.
What lead you to found Feminist Camp? What was your original conception of the camp early on?
CARLY: The program started as an offshoot of Soapbox Inc, a feminist speakers’ bureau that was founded by feminist authors Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner. After a few years of visiting college campuses on speaking and book tours, Amy and Jennifer conceived of a program that would bring the campus to them — specifically, to NYC. The week-long version of the program has been going strong now since 2006 (twice a year, once in January and once in June) and now we’re expanding to other locations and shorter programs so that we can get more folks involved.
Has there been a particular moment with the program where you really feel like your original idea gelled or really came together? Or where you learned something personally?
CARLY: I was actually a camper myself in the winter of 2008, and I remember (being a senior in college) having such a massive shift in my thinking as I realized that “feminism” outside of the campus context meant something totally different than it does within a campus context. I realized that there’s a myriad of ways to express your feminist politics in the workforce, and that was quite profound. So my/our goal now is to help as many people as possible have those kinds of discoveries.
Who were some of your most impactful speakers?
CARLY: Since our curriculum is different each time, it’s hard to say who has been “most impactful” — because the impact is different for each camper, and often evolves over time. We’ve had high profile speakers such as Gloria Steinem and Shelby Knox, and then countless local changemakers. But we believe that you need people of all levels–and at all moments in their careers–so that campers can see the spectrum of experience.
Up until now, the program has been based in NYC, tell us a bit about why you chose Seattle as your first traveling camp?
JODY: Katie and I are both alumni of the Feminist Camp NYC program. We both had such a positive experience that we thought it would be really great if women in Seattle had a similar opportunity and so we reached out to Soapbox about the idea. Our timing was perfect because they were already considering extending the program to the West Coast and were deciding between Seattle and San Francisco. I think our excitement and connections helped tip the scales in Seattle’s favor.
KATIE: I also think Seattle’s vibrant social justice scene helped influence the decision. There are so many organizations here that are engaged in important, feminist work. When Jody and I were first discussing ideas for potential speakers, our list was several pages long! We felt strongly about sharing our connections with passionate folks looking to deepen their understanding of feminisms.
Can you give Seattleites an idea of what a day at Camp looks like? How do we best come prepared?
KATIE: Like the NYC sessions, each day of Feminist Camp Seattle focuses on one to two specific themes within feminism. Day 1 is mainly centered on reproductive justice and health. Day 2 explores technology, art, and their intersections. Each day, campers will be meeting with 5-7 experts from organizations involved in feminist work. We were intentional about structuring the sessions as conversations instead of one-sided presentations. We want campers to forge genuine connections with experts and ask them questions about things they find meaningful. That being said, I think the best way to prepare for Camp is to arrive with an open and curious mind. It’s truly a transformative experience.