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12 highlights of the feminist powerhouse at Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2018

Posted: 21 September 2018 Author: sikuska

The UWRF has often been called a human rights festival under the guise of a literary festival. The global phenomenon of the #MeToo movement (Googled in 196 countries in the past year) and national and international forms of feminism have a natural home at our fifteenth year. For those eager to learn more about feminism in Indonesia and around the world, we’ve selected 12 UWRF18 sessions featuring a local and international powerhouse of authors, poets, journalists and filmmakers all bringing women’s stories to the fore. Come and hear what’s shaking in the sisterhood at UWRF18.


1. Workshop | Writing Feminism, 24 Oct, 14:00-17:00 (Sold Out) 

Women of words, sharpen your statements in this workshop celebrating the links between literature and feminism. Learn how to tackle issues of gender equality and diversity with writing that’s both creative and convincing, from giving yourself permission to write to practical exercises that will keep you inspired. Bring along your own writing samples for a session designed with skills and solidarity in mind.

Supported by Arts for Women.

2. Live Music & Arts | Women of Words Poetry Slam, 24 Oct, Betelnut, 20:00-22:30

For our annual Women of Words Poetry Slam we’re looking for the finest poems celebrating diversity and feminism. Bahasa Indonesia, English, free verse or rhyme – raise your voices and rejoice in the power of women as they shine in the spotlight. Register to participate on the door, one hour before.

Supported by Arts for Women/PWAG Indonesia.

3. Main Program | The Rights Stuff, 25 Oct, 10:15-11:30

Advocates in an age of compassion fatigue, Christine Bader, Gillian Triggs, Saras Dewi and Todung Mulya Lubis have placed human rights at the heart of their work. Active at the intersections of politics, conservation and business, they’ll compare their experiences and what keeps them going when the going gets tough.

4. Main Program | Public Opinions, 25 Oct, 10:15-11:30

Life in the public eye can be particularly perilous in the internet age, as access and anonymity conspire to bring out the worst in many. For these writers though, retreat is not an option. Navigating a public presence both on and offline, they reveal what keeps them going, and how they stay true to what really matters.

5. Main Program | Jane Caro: Speaking Up, 25 Oct, 14:30-15:30

“At some point, I gave up trying to play it safe. I stopped trying to control the uncontrollable.” Novelist, commentator and Walkley Award winner Jane Caro brings a breath of fresh air to conversations about education, religion, feminism and aging, to name a few. She takes the UWRF stage to chart her passions and perspectives.

6. Main Program | Kamila Andini: The Seen & Unseen, 26 Oct, 11:45-12:45

Award-winning Indonesian director Kamila Andini’s debut feature, The Mirror Never Lies, follows the lives of Bajo ‘sea gypsies’ in South Sulawesi. Her second feature, Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen), is a surreal meditation on this fundamental Balinese philosophy. Kamila reflects on the importance of bringing traditional Indonesian cultures to the big screen.

7. Main Program | #MeToo, 26 Oct, 13:00-14:15

#metoo. It’s the hashtag that has become a lightning rod for movements around the world, taking on different meanings in different places. We convene a round table conversation with writers from Indonesia, India and Australia to narrate its impact in their respective countries and see what’s shaking in the sisterhood.

8. Main Program | Off Limits, 26 Oct, 13:00-14:15

Many topics are still taboo in Indonesia, and the consequences of tackling them are very real. Meet some of the country’s most courageous young writers as they narrate the prejudices they’ve overcome to tell the stories normally left unspoken, and share their experiences of words making a difference.

9. Main Program | Rewriting the Script, 26 Oct, 14:30-15:30

In Indonesia, no female-directed film has entered the annual top five highest-grossing domestic films list since 2011, and female roles still tend to be confined to feminine stereotypes. Meet the independent filmmakers strengthening Indonesian cinema with female characters who are unafraid to write their own script.

10. Main Program | Ladies to the Front, 27 Oct, 15:45-17:00

From a queen’s chambers to a modern day writing group with an erotic twist, from finding one’s voice to exuberant elderhood, for these writers women’s stories are essential. They talk inspiration, indignation and inquiry – find out why, and how, they are committed to bringing the ladies to the front.

11. Live Music & Arts | Tishani Doshi: Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, 27 Oct, Betelnut, 19:00-19:20

Tishani Doshi is an award-winning poet, novelist and dancer, whose most recent book Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods deals with coastal living, gender violence, memory, happiness, ageing, and what the point of poetry might be. Join Tishani for a mesmerizing performance as she brings her poems to life.

12. Main Program | Art for Impact, 28 Oct, 10:15-11:30

A pantomime artist slash social activist, a theatre director assisting mothers to stage their own play, a visual artist helping people with schizophrenia, and an actor and illustrator remembering the May 1998 riots with the message: “We cannot heal what we will not face.” Calling all socially-conscious creators: this is art for impact’s sake.

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