The university of Warwick celebrates the 16 days of activism with Journey Towards Hope Dance Projects
By Cléo Fatoorehchi
Some twenty people recently attended the Journey Towards Hope Dance Project at Warwick university. The project seeks to use the power of intercultural dance and music to engage educate and empower participants while changing patriarchal values and attitudes toward violence against women. This found some echo at the university with people who did not know much about gender issues before attending the event.
The event which was facilitated by Dr Valli Batchelor was divided in two parts: one hour to release inhibitions of mind and body through some “movements”, then a discussion about violence against women and personal experiences of cross-cultural understanding.
To give hope to victims and to fight against the perpetration of violence against women, the Project aims to empower people through a yoga based intercultural dance moves, which Valli describes more generally as “movements”, to overturn the stereotypes associated with the word “dance”. Indeed, while organizing her coming in the university of Warwick, UK in November 2012, I faced some objections every time people would hear me talking about empowerment through “dance”. Especially in the academic world, an event to raise awareness about violence against women is not perceived to take the form of a dance or any kind of artistic activity that would require from the participants any other implication than from their intellect.
One of the men attending the event stresses how surprisingly simple it was to follow Valli in her artistic movements. “What impressed me most was how easily one could dive into the dance without any experience whatsoever. The moves came naturally, yet were fun and challenging. It created a truly energetic vibe, which helped you to relax and to open your mind for the subsequent discussion at the same time”, says Simon Markett, a German PhD student in Mathematics.
Anjeli Shah, a Law Student who is the president of Women’s Project – one of the many women’s societies at the university of Warwick – shares his enthusiasm: “it was very different from other events and talks I have been to; it was much more interactive”.
Thibaud Frouin, a French Law Student, was taken aback to learn that most of abused and/or raped women blame themselves for the abuse. He thus sees the need for such educating and empowering Project, and is proud to be among the supporters of Valli’s method.
Mirna Guha, an Indian Masters student who used to work with survivors of trafficking, commends as well Valli’s approach to searching for a solution to violence against women: it “is refreshing; her use of choreography and yoga, exciting. As a young feminist I think her art based strategies will appeal to young people all over the world, and create liberating and empowering spaces for survivors.”
|Date:||25 October 2012|
|Action Type:||Awareness Raising|
- Warrick University Women's Project