A recent gathering organized by the Faculty of Education’s Dr. Claudia Mitchell brought together voices from around the world to examine and eliminate gender-based violence.
The event, Circles within Circles: Transnational Perspectives on Youth-led Approaches to Addressing Gender-Based Violence, brought together 75 girls and young women with researchers, policy makers, and representatives of national and international NGOs from Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Sweden and Russia. The aim of the intergenerational, international gathering was for Indigenous and non-Indigenous girls and young women to engage with each other, share knowledge and practices, network, and learn from each other about participatory visual and other arts-based approaches to address gender-based violence.
The event included presentations by girls and young women on what they are already doing in communities to address gender-based violence, as well as arts-based workshops, an international stakeholder forum, and an international exhibition, Speaking Back, made up of images from seven countries. The event ran from July 8th-11th, and was held in Montebello, Quebec.
The plan is to have this exhibition travel to various sites, communities and galleries as part of Networks for Change and Well-being, an international partnership project founded in 2014 that prioritizes learning “from the ground up” to examine gender-based violence.
The event was made possible through Prof. Mitchell's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation project and funded by the Trudeau Foundation, SSHRC and IDRC. A key feature of the event was the drafting of a girlifesto at the closing session. This girlifesto will be presented to various governments and policy-makers. Many national and international NGOs at the gathering made a commitment to taking the girlifesto forward to their various constituencies.
Claudia Mitchell is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, and Director of the McGill Institute for Human Development and Well-Being (IHDW). She has written extensively in the area of girlhood studies and is the co-founder and editor-in-chief for the award-winning Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Dr. Mitchell was recently named a Research Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. In 2015 Prof. Mitchell was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2016 she received the top research honour of the SSHRC, the Gold Medal. Her most recent publication, co-edited with April Mandrona, is Visual Encounters in the Study of Rural Childhoods (2018, Rutgers University Press).