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New feminist arts festival AWomenfest explores art as a mechanism of activism


Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee


Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee

A new feminist arts festival, AWomenfest, will be taking place this weekend (23 – 25 March) at DIY Space in London. The festival celebrates radical softness, a love-motivated form of social activism, and will include a series of roundtable discussions, art exhibitions, film screenings and live dance, music and spoken word performances. All proceeds from the festival will be donated to the charity My Body Back Project, which offers self-identifying women and non-binary individuals support after experiences of sexual violence or assault.

Alina Khakoo, AWomenfest’s curator, states: “All of our artists and performers incorporate the notion of radical softness into their practice, but I think the visual artists really demonstrate the range and richness of the theme. Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee, for example, uses softness as a photographic principle to counteract the violence and appropriation of the conventional gaze, especially when directed at east Asian women.” The line-up includes Mounia Akl, Alice Skinner and Eliza Hopewell. There will also be screenings of films by stellar directors like Dominique Lecchi, Alice Russell, Gina Levy and Anna Hoffman.

Radical softness is “about tapping into your vulnerability, and your kindness and saying that this is still a form of activism. You can be soft and still be powerful,” the festival’s founder Raniyah Qureshi tells It’s Nice That. It became the festival’s focal point because radical softness “emphasises the humanity behind social activism. It’s also incredibly defiant, because it’s saying I don’t have to rely on traditionally ‘masculine’ forms to fight back.”

Tickets and further information for AWomenfest can be found here. A limited number of tickets will also be available on the door.


Alexi Marshall


Alice Skinner