On the 3rd and 4th of Jan. 2012 hosted by the Frauen Büro we explored what it means to be a girl in a two-day workshop.
The first day was filled with structured activities, the second with their own creative output. The presentation slides above reveal what we have explored (please press pause to linger on each slide or fast forward to see the comprehensive view.
We focused on incredible women throughout history. By using a time-line starting from Cleopatra to present day we explored women that used their skills and abilities to take things further for themselves and the world at large. Interesting Austrian women include the writer Ruth Maier who was captured by the Nazis; Therese Schlesinger-Eckstein a strong political activist and Ida Pfeiffer who traveled the world twice (you can see pictures of these women in the presentation). Amazing girls from present day include Thandiwe Chama and Mayra Avellar Neves from Brazil who fought for the right to education in their own cities despite adversity such as violence and aids as well as Tilly Smith who demonstrated how important education is by saving people lives by recognising a Tsunami was coming (each of these you can see in the presentation ).
By using methods such as photo and object elicitation we were able to explore the relationship between the girls values and themselves. This enabled them to connect with each other through their values, therefore exploring deeper the relationships with themselves and each other that are not based on assumptions and appearances alone.
To build trust we worked with Augusto Boal`s, Games for Actors and Non-Actors that opened up their senses to each other and helped to build a community spirit between the girls whilst allowing them to still keep their individuality. This really expressed their diversity in a collective. We explored media messages coming directly from the media campaigns themselves, using stickers that expressed "Girl Respect" or "Girl Disrespect". So the girls had to choose in their groups what images we embracing multi-dimensional representations of girls and what were crude and sexualised images.
We then explored the history of the women`s vote, across diverse countries across the world from New Zealand to Oman.
The girls were able to see visually on this time-line that they had helped to put together that New Zealand had women`s vote over 100 years ago whilst in Oman women had only got the right to vote since 2003. We then linked this activity to their own campaign. They picked a country that had been explored in the time-line and devised a campaign of what they would change if they were the mayor of a town in that country.
One group picked Oman, mainly because in the previous activity they had learned that women had only just got the vote and so they wanted to introduce more women`s rights and equality.
Each group delivered their campaign to the rest of the group and each group voted for or against in a democratic process. Proposals that were included in the campaigns were: more health services, more services that tackled violence and more informal educational programs provided by the town.
On the final day the girls explored had more chance to create their own interpretations of the previous days activities. A couple of groups chose to do a magazine. The content of these Zine`s varied. There was a Professions Zine, based on what they had wanted to do in 20 years time and exploring women`s professions in their immediate surroundings including the Frauen Büro.
Another zine focused on the history of Salzburg then and now. Another Zine explored issues such as how to deal with trauma in war, friendship and a comedy theatre piece that one of the other groups were exploring. Another group presented what was had done over the past two days, reflecting on what they had learned (See the presentation above).
The other groups did performance pieces. One was a comedy called the Star Museum took an ironic look at Stardom for Teens by playing people such as Justin Biber, but also exploring their own professions within that, since one of them wanted to be a museum director, another an artist, a journalist photographer and a singer.
This was a fascinating double exploration at both the consumer and fame saturated landscape that was being channeled out to them but also their chance to look at their own roles within that relating to what they wanted to do 20 years into the future.
The final group explored their professions 20 years in the future by creating a "Who Done It"? detective story where they all got to play out their own professions whilst giving an interactive detective story to the audience. They used the influences of exploring interesting women through history and critiquing the media from the first day to create their own performances revealing their opinions on the second day.