An intensive month of feminist debate and mobilization in Porto, Portugal led to the birth of a Feminist Collective.
Inspired by the announcement that the International Feminist Caravan would be passing by the city of Portugal in October 2015, a group of local associations, collective spaces, and individuals decided to organize something together for the first time to welcome the activists and to strengthen the weak representation of the feminist agenda in the Portuguese public sphere.
The Feminist Caravan was part of the World March of Women’s 4th international Action in Europe. It consisted of a physical caravan which crossed the continent of Europe starting from Turkey / Kurdistan to Portugal, from March 6 to October 17, 2015.
“A group of feminist activists from different countries were living with the Caravan and at the same time, were meeting with women who organised local events and gathered documentation about women’s struggles.”
In Porto, the initial idea for organizing activities during the two days that the Feminist Caravan would be in town (October 12-13), escalated to a whole month of daily events, bringing together for the first time a broad network of feminists in Porto, invading the city with feminist actions and debate and spreading the seeds of longer-term relationships in building a local feminist movement.
- To welcome the Feminist Caravan in Porto
- To ignite a feminist movement in the city, by “turning October into the month of feminisms in Porto.”
- To occupy spaces of the city with a wealth of feminist activities
- To provide answers to the question “Why feminism today?”
- To collaboratively create a program of events based on an open call to the general public
- To experiment working collectively in a self-managed, non-authoritarian, feminist way
Campaign target audience:
- Citizens of Porto in general
- Associations, collectives, co-ops, artists, musicians, etc
- The media
Tools used during the campaign:
Internal communication: Riseup mailing list, Facebook secret group, Google Docs, in-person meetings, info-walls / murals
External communication: Facebook page, newsletters / weekly press releases, community radio Manobras / Soundcloud, blogging using WordPress platform, YouTube channel, grafitti / stencil, posters / flyers, mainstream media
- Continuous use of the hashtag #festfeministaporto and #corpoterritorio across social media
daily updates on Facebook to promote events, to share audiovisual records of the Festival, to feed the feminist imaginary and to establish connections between different projects, places, people and initiatives
- Weekly newsletter
- “A Caravana Passa”, a radio program to document and echo reports, conversations, critical comments and various sonorities of the Festival – in partnership with community radio Manobras.
- A WordPress website was set up with all information about the Festival, including the program and weekly updates, the organizations involved and the podcasts.
Art exhibitions, street actions, performance and installation, theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, cinema, photography, video-art, dance, debate sessions and gatherings, book presentations, workshops, concerts, parties…and more!
- 70 public events throughout October 2015.
- Hundreds of people participating in the Festival; different nationalities involved
- New working groups dedicated to theatre, feminist economy studies and labour
The Festival has also contributed to dismantle prejudices about feminism, as well as to create bridges between different feminism. Through the organizational process, links were established between some of the organizers / participants, who are now creating a feminist collective – something nonexistent in Porto before the festival.
What were the main successes of this campaign?
The open call led to greater inclusion. Instead of having the program simply defined by the roughly 10 people who participated in the first meeting of Festival Feminista, a public call for proposals was launched in which the Festival ended up receiving more than 50 proposals. This allowed for a very diverse and inclusive way of approaching feminism. The number was a surprise, as you don’t often hear about “feminism” in Porto – at least one didn't until the Festival!
The process through the establishment of working groups built trust and tolerance among the organizers and participants.
Different projects came out of the Festival, as some elements of the team realized that they could work well together and continuation.
- Lack of planning due to short time of preparation (roughly one month and a half from the first meeting to the first day of the Festival)
- Budget / Accountability
- Lack of a previously defined decision making protocol
- Over burdening of some elements of the team – not a sustainable process for a larger project
More than 30 associations, galleries, collectives, etc were involved in the organisation, including: Associação Espaços, Associação de Jornalistas e Homens de Letras do Porto, Associação José Afonso, Bagabaga Studios, Canhoto, Casa dos Açores, Casa Bô, Casa da Horta, Casa do Pinheiro, Cave 45, Catapulta E5G, Centro São Cirilo, Confraria Vermelha – Livraria das Mulheres, ContraBANDO, Deliceiras, Embaixada Lomográfica, Espaço Compasso, Galeria Geraldes da Silva, Gato Vadio, MIRA FORUM, Moving Cause, Oficina Café Criativo, Pinguim Café, Precários Inflexíveis, Rádio Manobras, Rede ex aequo, Rés da Rua, Sabiamente – Centro de Estudos, UMAR Açores, The Portuguese Cock