Posted on November 13, 2019 by Noon van der Silk | Back to recent posts

Broadside 2019 Debrief

Tags: debrief, books

Our haul of books from the Broadside book shop!

Gala and I went to the Broadside festival, put on by the Wheeler Centre, last weekend. You can find people tweeting about it here. You can also find a cool image review by the Wheeler Centre themselves.

The festival was billed as “An unapologetically feminist agenda”; and it really delivered. Not only was it full of feminist views, those views were being shared by a quite diverse set of people.

Gala and I were lucky enough to afford to go to both days. And I have to say, I think we got a significantly better experience than if we had picked the events beforehand. Some of the most rewarding panels and sessions where ones that we might not have necessarily bought individual tickets for.


Here’s an overview of my favourite sessions.

Decolonishing Feminism

In this one, Aileen had a lot to say about how we shouldn’t be making the goal of feminism to achieve the kind of success that the partiarchy has provided (white) men; instead we should be focusing on the things that we want. And these things might be entirely different.

Ruby Hamad, in her book — White Tears / Brown Scars — discusses the role white women play in keeping women of colour down.

Intan discussed the fact that there is actually a lot of books and other material that is completely inaccessible to english-speakers; namely those works not in english! While perhaps an obvious point, it is important for noting that this can lead to very narrow viewpoints.

Necessary Truths

This panel was moderated exceptionally well! The panelists spoke about their background, and about the idea that “The West” being the (cultural) focus is not a foregone conclusion (this is the topic of a recent book of Fatima’s — New Kings of the World.

Rage against the machine: Feminism and Capitalism

My interest in feminism+capitalism has been bubbling away for a while, and was piqued recently by a talk that Milly have at a meetup.

In this panel they talked about the strong link between feminism, the patriarchy and capitalism. Jia’s book — Trick Mirror — also goes into this.

Things My Mother Never Told Me

I have to admit. I was initially going to sit this one out. But I’m really glad I stayed! All the speakers gave some very moving stories of what they learned growing up, and how it impacted their lives as adults.

Raquel Willis read an amazing poem linking herself, and her mother, that really blew my mind.

Probably the most moving thought, for me, was from Nayuka and Aretha, who spoke about their disconnection from motherhood, due to intergenerational trauma as a result of the governments treatment of first nations people; i.e. the policy of removing children from their families, and just the general experience of colonisation on your culture and identity.

Overall, it was amazing, for me, to get this kind of experience. I’m of course very lucky to be able to chat to Gala frequently, and so I do get to hear and understand the opinions of a woman of colour on the feminist landscape. Gala has helped me indescribably, in this way.

It was interesting to see that so many of the feminists came from overseas. It will be nice to see if, next time they run this event, there is more representation from local writers.

Gala also noted that the tech community was under-represented.


Here’s a list of all the books we grabbed. (Note: The only reason we don’t have Ruby Hamad’s book — White Tears / Brown Scars — on here is because I actually already read it earlier this month; it’s an incredible book and I’d probably recommend reading it first!)


The only reasonable conclusion is that you should subscribe to the Wheeler Centre’s newsletter, if you haven’t already, and check out all the talks and panels when they put them online! And, of course, get along to the event next time!