Feminist Happenings in Melbourne this August

Every month we bring you a round-up of feminist events happening in Melbourne. This August is jam-packed with charity events, sing a-longs, and not just one, but two festivals! You’ll have no excuse to stay inside this month, so grab your scarf and brave the winter chill to make some new friends and learn some things along the way.

Image via MIFF website

Image via MIFF website

Thursday 2nd – Sunday 19th – Melbourne International Film Festival

Film buffs all over the city wait in eager anticipation for the Melbourne International Film Festival, and this year is no exception – whether you like docos, comedies, thrillers or art house, there is bound to be something to grab your attention in the MIFF program. We’ve narrowed down a few of our favourites, but make sure you peruse the whole selection for yourself – you never know what you might find!

MIFF: Tuesday 7th - MIFF Talks - Blak screens and blak voices: First Australian filmmakers

A free event featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers discussing their approach to cinema in front and behind the camera. Panellists include Jack Charles, Beck Cole, Rob Collins, Cecilia Lewis, Curtis Taylor and Linda Yarrowin; moderated by Albert Wiggan. More details here.

MIFF: Tuesday 7th - Wendall Thomas Talks Scripts: SPOTLIGHT: LADY BIRD: Indie to Oscars

This year, Greta Gerwig  added her compelling Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning Lady Bird to the pantheon of memorable teen coming-of-age dramas. This seminar includes a scene-by-scene break-down of Lady Bird’s script — focusing on characters, relationships, structure, dialogue, imagery and tone — to understand what it is about writer/director Gerwig’s vision that sets it apart. More details here.

MIFF: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Adapting Emily M Danforth’s acclaimed Young Adult novel, Direstor Desiree Akhavan brings her fierce intellect to the story of Cameron Post, a recently orphaned adolescent girl who is caught in flagrante with another girl at her high-school prom and promptly shipped off to a ‘pray the gay away’ camp called God’s Promise. More details and session times here.

MIFF: Parragirls Past, Present – Unlocking Memories of Institutional ‘Care’

Parramatta Girls Home was a state-controlled child welfare institution that operated until 1974. Its teenage residents were frequently on the receiving end of unwarranted punishments and abuse – as uncovered by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Parragirls Past, Present is a collaborative work of media artists with former Parragirl residents, created as they returned to the site of the Girls Home in Western Sydney. Intensely moving, it gives emphatic voice to the women's empowerment and vision to re-write the history of the institution. More details and session times here.

MIFF: Witches and Faggots, Dykes and Poofters

An iconic yet rarely seen Australian documentary about the gay civil rights movement is restored to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the inaugural Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. More than just a provocative title, Digby Duncan’s acclaimed activist documentary returns in the shadow of Australia’s vote for marriage equality, digitally restored by the NFSA. Capturing the violence of the Mardi Gras’ first historic night on the streets of Sydney and the aftermath of discrimination, this is a highly charged experience that shows how far the LGBTQIA+ community has come. And how far there is still to go. More details and session times here.

MIFF: Women With Open Eyes

An award-winning documentary that lets African women speak for themselves on issues affecting their everyday lives. Composed of a series of interviews with women from the West African nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Benin, Women with Open Eyes describes the challenges African women face in their own words. Politics, economics, reproductive health and other issues of women’s rights are discussed head on and, as the title of the film suggests, with open eyes. What emerges is an understanding not only of the issues women in the region are confronted with, but also how they organise to resist and survive. More details and session times here.

MIFF: Rafiki

A rare lesbian love story from a country that punishes homosexuality with imprisonment, this tender effort made history by becoming the first Kenyan effort to screen in Cannes’ official selection – but was subsequently banned on its home soil. Aware of the importance of her story, writer/director Wanuri Kahiu crafts a sweet yet defiant film on several levels. Charting the blossoming bond between two young Nairobi women as they face the harsh backlash of their conservative community, Rafiki is as heartfelt as its radiant central performances and as vibrant as the neon-hued nightclub scene that marks the feature’s visual climax. More details and session times here.

MIFF: Skate Kitchen

Introverted, naïve teen Camille is both fed up with the boys’ club vibe at her local skate park and with her worried mother’s insistence that she give up her deck following a nasty accident. But after meeting up with an all-girl crew who bond over tampon talk and tail slides, Camille’s world opens up. Featuring skateboarding Instagram star Rachelle Vinberg alongside Jaden Smith, Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange is the New Black) and the real-life skate collective that lends the film its name, Skate Kitchen was developed in workshops with the cast who bring their genuine camaraderie and joie de vivre to the screen. More details and session times here.

Tuesday 3rd – Soup Night by Matter Arts

Sunday 12th - her words Salon Dinner - Celebrating the Stories of Refugee Women

We're hosting our very own Salon Dinner celebrating the stories of refugee women. Including a feast cooked by Nayran Tabiei and an inspiring talk given by the wonderful Mariam Issa, the night will be a beautiful evening of connection, conversation and so much more. Find out more here. 

Soup Night.jpg

Join Matter Arts for dinner you won’t forget – eat your soup, take the bowl home, and 100% of the proceeds will go towards The Fistula Foundation, which helps women who have been affected by obstetric fistula to get the appropriate surgery. The evening will feature food by KINES and bread from Oven Street Bakery. The bowls you will be eating from are hand crafted by Sophie Harle and painted by Abbey Rich, and yours to keep forever. What better way to warm up on a chilly winter night than by making new friends, enjoying delicious soup, and supporting a great cause? Find tickets and more info here.

Thursday 16th – Big Feminist Sing

Big Feminist Sing.jpg

Looking for a new way to express your feminist rage? At the Big Feminist Sing, local choir director Jane York will lead you in a workshop of cathartic, fun, silly, awesome pop songs in harmony. No previous choir experience required, everything will be taught without sheet music. People of all genders are welcome, so grab some friends, warm up your vocal cords, and check out their Facebook event for all the details.



Friday 17th – Cancel Violence Against Women Fundraiser at the Evelyn Hotel

A night of solidarity and live music, all of the funds raised from this event will go to a number of Australian and Victorian organizations such as WIRE, Safe Steps, IWDA, Carrie's Place, WISHIN and Djirra. Featuring a line up including IV League, Jarrow, Swim Team, and The Overheads, tickets will be $5 each or pay as you feel. For more information on the line up, as well as more ways to support this event, check out the Facebook event.


Friday 24th – Sunday Sept 2nd – Melbourne Writers Festival

The Melbourne Writers Festival is always a highlight of the year – whether you’re an avid reader, or prefer to flick through a paperback on holiday, there is something for everyone on this year’s program. We’ve trawled through all the events to bring you a selection of our favourites, but you can check out the full program here.

MWF: Saturday 25th - Walk: Melbourne Through Rainbow-Coloured Glasses

Stroll alongside creative duo The Gents as they walk down memory lane, reminiscing on 16 years of life and love in Melbourne’s CBD. Exploring the personal and political, the walk will highlight places of historical significance for Melbourne’s LGBTIQ community. More information here.

MWF: Sunday 26th - Sacred Texts: The Book That Made Me a Feminist

The path to feminism often begins with the powerful act of discovering the right text at the right time. Feminist writers Neko Case, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Michelle Law, Hollie McNish and Emily Nussbaum nominate the novel that set them alight. More information here.  

MWF: Sunday 26th – Homecoming Queens

Two of the masterminds behind SBS comedy Homecoming Queens, Corrie Chen and Michelle Law, meet with Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who made her acting debut on the show. They chat to Yumi Stynes about making the series in the context of the one thing nobody wanted to talk about: race. More information here.

MWF: Sunday 26th – Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue is Melbourne’s biggest women’s spoken word event, hosted by renowned poet Fleassy Malay and Brigid Morgan. Join them for an inspiring, powerful and positively electric hour of spoken word poetry featuring Tariro Mavondo, Trixi Rosa, Rhiann Isaacs and Chalise van Wyngaardt. More information here.

MWF: Tuesday 28th – India’s #MeToo Movement

Indian author and journalist Deepanjana Pal speaks on India’s #MeToo movement and Raya Sarkar’s infamous list of abusive men. What has been the fallout, and where to next? More information here.

MWF: Wednesday 29th – Pretty for an Aboriginal: Set It Alight

Part podcast, part polemic, part stand-up, this conversation with Nakkiah Lui and Miranda Tapsell and a very special guest burns down the structures, strictures and power brokers that have governed the entertainment industry for too long. Featuring performances by upcoming Indigenous musician BIRDZ with support from Alice Skye. More information here.

MWF: Friday 31st – How To Be a Better Ally

It’s not up to the LGBTIQ community to shoulder the burden of survival alone – as friends, family and allies we can do better. Join artist and non-binary dragtivist Dani Weber as they run a workshop on listening, learning and supporting. More information here.

MWF: Friday 31st – Radical Self Care

Activism is tireless, brave, beautiful, exhausting work. So how do those constantly at the battlefront ensure their own emotional wellbeing? Join incredible activists Tarang Chawla, Nic Holas, Tarneen Onus-Williams and Queenie Bon Bon as they discuss what forms of support and self-care they reach for in challenging times. More information here.

Do you have an event you’d like to share with us? Get in contact at hello@herwords.com.au

Domini Marshall