A most remarkable "WOW Festival 2018" has just finished at Brisbane Powerhouse: three days of panels, chats and sharing. We talked about gender equity, sex, hair, power, leadership, publishing, money, design, just to mention a few of the topics. We overflowed at my favourite venue, Brisbane Powerhouse and what I noticed that was different to the theatre festivals I have attended many times at BPH: we entered conversations with everyone and anyone. There was a friendliness that was tangible. We were all willing to share our ideas with each other over lunch and drinks at the end of the day. I have come away richer and more politically awake.
I found myself on a panel with three powerful women, the wonderful Domino Pateman, WOW Head of Programmes in London, Sharon Orapeleng, Director of Psyched Solutions and Michelle Law, leading Australian writer. We talked about hair and how it is political, personal and powerful. The program described the session like this:
"From short hair to Afro hair, from grey hair to no hair, from body hair to "Brazilian', loose, plaited or covered--what is it with hair and why does it matter so much? We hear from women who are redefining age-old sterotypes about how hair is elated to feminity and womanhood. Expect laughter, personal stories and questions of identity" (WOWFestival Program, Brisbane, 2018)
There are also WOW festivals in Katherine, Western Australia and throughout the world. I will certainly keep my eye out for the next one. Thank you Cathy Hunt and team for creating magic for three days on the river. Here is a video I found on the net about WOW Festivals as well as the link to their home page.