A night of talks and performances with a keynote by Margaret Atwood
Saturday 20th July 2019 | 6.30pm-10pm
Greenwich University London
Throughout history and all across the world, there have always been women who lived at the edge of society. And while they were at it, many have looked to the moon as a source of courage and inspiration. Tonight, you will meet some of them, spanning five continents. From 15th century European Moon Goddesses all the way to Chinese lunar environmentalists via Afro-Brazilian traditions, Maverick Women and the Moon celebrates the close relationship between the moon and the women who have left and will continue to leave their mark on culture. Prepare to learn, laugh and marvel in this multi disciplinary and multi sensory feminine lunar delight. Curated by Irenosen Okojie.
PROGRAMME – CURATED BY IRENOSEN OKOJIE
Helen Lederer’s Moon Monologues: Menzies, Menopause and Mayhem
An insight into the lunacy of showbiz, before there were more women on TV panel games …. Women are connected to a lunar cycle but when did ‘time of the month?’ mean ‘neurotic’ – and who is doing the labelling? Time to call in the moon for the new female inclusivity – because frankly …sometimes the earth is not enough….
Angela Chan: The Moon Goddess 嫦娥 (Chang’e): her space travels through mythology, science fiction and lunar exploration programmes
The Chinese Moon Goddess, 嫦娥 (Chang’e), has long-inhabited the Moon and frequents the Earth on various journeys carried by mythologies, science fiction and lunar exploration. At a time when the aspirations of space science risks to compromise Earth’s most vulnerable groups, this talk will ask how can we refocus our lunar stories with 嫦娥 to move towards a global climate justice?
Afro-Brazilian Reflections on the Moon: screening and Q&A
Filmmaker Polly Baumgarten explores how tales and myths of the moon can provide an alternative rhythm for women. In this 5-minute documentary she reflects on lunar traditions across three continents: from the practices in her Afro-Brazilian family, to lunar traditions in Tanzania and New Zealand. Following the screening, Polly will answer questions from the audience about her experiences.
Keynote Lecture – Margaret Atwood: The Moon and Magic
Capricious, unstable, two-faced: 15th century folks did not think highly of the Moon. But why? Weaving together tales of goddesses, symbols and silenced histories, author and literary icon Margaret Atwood will give the keynote presentation of the day, exploring the many facets of the moon and its meaning in the early modern period. This talk will be followed by a short Q&A with curator Irenosen Okoije.
Performance: Moon Opera
The evening culminates in an opera piece by Jamaican-British soprano Nadine Benjamin on the wonder and magic of the moon, incorporating elements of folklore, parable and legend for a hybrid musical delight. The Moon has a secret in store for you. Prepare for something wonderful. IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU LET US KNOW IN ADVANCE IF YOU HAVE ANY MOBILITY ISSUES SO WE CAN ENSURE WE ARE ABLE TO PROVIDE A MAGICAL EXPERIENCE FOR ALL.
ARTISTS AND SPEAKERS
Margaret Atwood is an award-winning Canadian poet, novelist and essayist known for books like ‘The Circle Game,’ ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Cat’s Eye,’ ‘The Blind Assassin’ and ‘Oryx and Crake,’ among an array of other works. The internationally-known Canadian author has written award-winning poetry, short-stories and novels, including The Circle Game (1966), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Blind Assassin (2000), Oryx and Crake (2003) and The Tent (2006). Her works have been translated into an array of different languages and seen several screen adaptations, with both Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace becoming miniseries in 2017.
Poliana Baumgarten is a Brazilian German filmmaker and video journalist. Her documentary Preta depicts the struggles of black women living in Brazil who although are part of a country where the majority of the population is black their realities are still characterized by structural deprivation. Poliana is passionate about capturing Berlin’s diversity and cultural strategies of resistance to empower Afro – Brazilian women in Brazil.
Hailed by ‘Opera Now’ magazine as one of their favourite top ten sopranos in “a new generation of sopranos who are destined to have impressive careers”, Nadine won the inaugural Fulham Opera Robert Presley Memorial Verdi Prize in 2015. Nadine recently released her debut solo CD ‘Love & Prayer’.
Angela Chan is a creative climate change communicator and independently runs Worm (wormworm.org), an online art and climate change curatorial platform. Her research interests span climate and social justice, decolonial and area studies and contemporary Chinese science fiction; she also writes cli-fi as algae-la.
Helen Margaret Lederer is an English comedian, writer and actress who emerged as part of the alternative comedy boom at the beginning of the 1980s. Among her television credits are the BBC Two sketch series Naked Video and BBC One’s Absolutely Fabulous.
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer and curator. Her books, Butterfly Fish and Speak Gigantular have won and been shortlisted for several awards. Described as ‘A liberatingly odd, seductive and fearless talent’( Laline Paull, The Bees) her work has been published in the New York Times, the Observer, the Guardian, and the BBC. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature through their 40 Under 40 initiative.
Alice Slater is a writer and podcaster from London. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology On Anxiety (3 of Cups Press) and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She co-hosts literary podcast What Page Are You On? and writes about short stories for Mslexia.
Margaret Atwood Image © Liam Sharp