We ran a series of Empowerment workshops throughout the festival offering attendees an opportunity to look more in-depth at a wide range of topics by local women.
Del White – Reclaiming our Democracy
Del White has been working in Ipswich for social cohesion and cross-cultural understanding for over fifteen years. She founded the NIA project, and organised Black History Month events throughout Suffolk – at a time when there were none. She has sat on many Boards (New Wolsey Theatre, IpArt for example) and worked with local authorities to help push forward more diverse and inclusive programmes, and to increase cultural competency and awareness.
For years Del was a supporter of the Stephen Lawrence campaign, and through that learnt that people’s attitudes can change with help and support.
Del is the founder of the Windrush Consortium, which held its inaugural lecture this summer, As an annual event, Del intends to continue to honour that generation. She is also a certified parliamentary educational trainer.
Del is a visionary who sees what needs to be done to change the cultural climate – and then to gather people together to create change. She would like to see black and white women working together more closely and honestly for greater effectiveness.
Lifting Spirits – singing workshop
Lifting Spirits is a community singing group started 10 years ago with Lottery Funding, run by Tracy Sharp, Jennie Fisk and Fran Thomson, initially for women who thought they couldn’t sing.
It is part of the wider Music in Our Bones organization, set up in 2007,which runs accessible singing groups for anyone who would like to sing in harmony with others. Music In our Bones believes that singing with others offers a profound joyful sense of community, lifts spirits and frees us to feel more fully alive. Singing is our birthright.
Audrey Ludwig – Are you 1 of the 54k – Pregnancy & Employment rights
Audrey is a passionate advocate for access to justice and is an experienced discrimination lawyer.
Her career in the law has taken her from commercial law to disability rights and mental health work, advocacy and charity management. She joined Ipswich Council for Racial Equality in 2006, setting up a specialist discrimination law and awareness-raising project known as Tackling Discrimination in the East and becoming their Director of Legal Services and joint Chief Executive in 2012.
About this time, she realised that cuts to legal aid would hit hard in Suffolk, affecting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged and started working towards setting up a Law Centre, which was finally launched in 2018.
Audrey promotes understanding of and commitment to human rights through a Facebook page KOHRS – Keeping our Human Rights in Suffolk.
Amy Wragg – SoapBox Poetry
Amy SoapBox occasionally likes to take the stage in between running loads of gigs, working at festivals and dreaming. She plays ukulele, occasionally writes poems and is often very funny, although never intentionally. She likes to regale anyone who will listen with tales of the excellent East Anglian music & arts scene, rich spoken word and incredible original musicians. She generally plays and reads covers at the moment but one day, when she grows up, she hopes very much to write some good poems and songs of her own.
WASSUP – Conversation with our Sisters
WASSUP was set up, by four young women in Ipswich. Originally based on those members’ personal experiences of child sexual exploitation or abuse, WASSUP has grown into a youth social action programme, attracting 33 young women who as a team volunteer a total of 170 hours each month to raise awareness of domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual violence, identifying gaps in provision and helping to create safer ways to report these crimes. Within the team of 33, a core group of 14 young women meet on a weekly basis to plan events, campaigns, and support the development of an interactive toolkit to facilitate discussions in schools and signpost young people to safety. The group has delivered workshops reaching over 700 young people in high schools and 1,500 in primary schools with their groundbreaking gang grooming workshops.
Polly Trenow – Why Economics is a Feminist Issue
Polly Trenow is campaigner of gender equality and economics based in Suffolk. She has over ten years experience in the women’s sector including as Senior Policy Officer for the Fawcett Society and Management Committee Member for the Women’s Budget Group – the UK’s leading organisation for feminist economics. Polly is a member of the New Economy Organisers Network and former Clore Fellow.
Shoomi Chowdhury – Check your Privilege Use your Power
Shoomi and her family moved to Ipswich when she was four and although she now works for Amnesty International in human rights education on a global stage, she still promotes interfaith and community groups in her home town and local area.
Shoomi is a Trustee for the Ipswich Suffolk Muslim Council and runs the monthly Islamic Sisters’ Circle, attended by women of all faiths.
She started her working life for the Bangladeshi Support centre, helping marginalised minority women in Ipswich and went on to do a law degree and Masters in Human Rights.
Now with Amnesty, she tackles many human rights issues including refugee rights and torture and trains activists to make meaningful change in the world.
Hodan Yusuf – Check your Privilege Use your Power
Hodan Yusuf is a poet, writer, multimedia freelance journalist and photographer. She is also a mediator and trainer in conflict resolution.
Hodan has spoken at and read her poetry at many events and venues including ICHR, York University, Muslim Institute, BareLit Festival, in Parliament for International Women’s Day 2018, at the British Library for the inaugural MFest, Amnesty International and many spoken word nights. She is an essayist in the upcoming anthology by Unbound Publishers called “Cut From the Same Cloth”. Hodan is currently working on her debut collection of poetry.