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Meet four of the speakers making their voices heard at WOW Norwich

PUBLISHED: 10:17 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:58 27 April 2018

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 -  Becky Edwards.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Becky Edwards. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

WOW Norwich is set to celebrate women from all walks of life this weekend with a two-day festival packed full of debate, discussion and performance. Arts correspondent Emma Knights meets four of the speakers who will be making their voices heard.

WOW Norwich logo
Image: supplied by WOW NorwichWOW Norwich logo Image: supplied by WOW Norwich

• Becky Edwards: “It’s time we all appreciated the unrecognised work women do”

Mother, entrepreneur and blogger Becky Edwards set up her venture Mother Like No Other in 2016 to help give parents a sense of empowerment.

Frustrated by disapproving looks from people when her children “played up” in public, and wanting to celebrate how every parent’s experience is different, she developed a range of sweaters featuring slogans of strength like “parenting my way.” On Instagram and Facebook she has also built up a community of almost 20,000 followers.

Becky, who lives in north city and is mother to Etta, four, and Juniper, two, will speak at the event Emotional Labour: A Woman’s Job, Who Cares? on Sunday.

She said: “I am particularly excited to use my voice to raise awareness and change perceptions around Emotional Labour - it’s time we all appreciated the unrecognised work women do. WOW is such an important event as it allows us time to step back and appreciate women for the multi-faceted individuals we all are. It recognises the contributions we make as mothers, as business owners, to our community, and highlights the struggle of so many that have paved the way for us all.”

Katy Jon Went is taking part in WOW Norwich.
Photo: Matt DartfordKaty Jon Went is taking part in WOW Norwich. Photo: Matt Dartford

• Katy Jon Went: “Norwich is a welcoming and diverse city and WOW Norwich is an opportunity to celebrate and communicate that”

Katy Jon Went is a passionate speaker on gender, sexuality, mental health and human rights, and is founder of the organisation Gender Agenda.

Katy, 51, who is non-binary transgender, first experienced WOW festival at London’s Southbank Centre and was “blown away by the thousands of people representing so many diverse experiences of being a woman.”

Katy, who lives near Trowse, said: “Norwich is a welcoming and diverse city and WOW Norwich is an opportunity to celebrate and communicate that. With movements like #MeToo, it is more important than ever that every woman and girl feels she has a voice and can both respect herself and be respected, however she identifies, expresses herself, or in whatever career she chooses.”

Katy added: “I’m on the opening panel, Sisters, Sistas, and Transistors, with WOW festival founder Jude Kelly, presenting a diverse face of 21st-century women, the issues they face, and the solidarity and intersectionality with which they meet them. I’m also chairing the Non-Binary, Trans and Intersex Women: Media Wars panel with panellists who’ve all appeared in the media because of their gender or sex and their not fitting into the binary status quo.”

Marcia X is taking part in WOW Norwich.
Photo: supplied by WOW NorwichMarcia X is taking part in WOW Norwich. Photo: supplied by WOW Norwich

• Marcia X: “Feminism isn’t dead, but it is at risk of upholding a certain kind of politic”

Artist Marcia X creates films, performance and installations looking at what she calls “the existential cultural crisis of women of color in the diaspora experience,”

Marcia X, originally from Chicago and whose parents are from Peru and Puerto Rico, moved to England about eight years ago and has studied at NUA and UEA.

“Feminism isn’t dead, but it is at risk of upholding a certain kind of politic that further marginalizes and enacts violence upon those that do not fit a rigid mold of what is ‘woman,’ she said. “It is important that as a community that purports to be a welcoming community, that we all discuss with one another what are the dangers in our lives, and how we can move forward together to continue making Norwich the fine city it wants to be.”

She added: “I am speaking at two panels, Colour Blindness: Living in a White City and Sisters, Sistas and Transistors. I will primarily discuss race and ethnicity in relation to feminism, and how as people of colour and black women, our experience of ‘womanhood’ is different because of colonialism, histories and racism.”

Amy Nomvula is taking part in WOW Norwich. Photo: Kelly RobbAmy Nomvula is taking part in WOW Norwich. Photo: Kelly Robb

Amy Nomvula: “The opportunity to be around such a variety of inspiring people making positive impact is incredible”

Radio presenter and DJ Amy Nomvula is involved in a hat-trick of WOW Norwich events.

The 35-year-old from Norwich said: “As soon as I heard about WOW Norwich I was excited. To have the opportunity to be around such a variety of inspiring people making positive impact in a whole stack of ways is incredible...WOW Norwich strikes me as a safe opportunity for women across the board to address the world in terms that they have chosen for themselves - definitely not yet a daily occurrence but it feels as if we’re making inroads.”

She added: “Saturday sees me doing a WOW Bite which reveals my accidental path into radio broadcasting and the importance of saying ‘yes’...Saturday night you can find me DJing at Moxie, at Norwich Arts Centre, an event set up a while back by NAC to create a fun, inter-generational dance floor for women. On Sunday I have been invited back as part of the Eyes and Teeth Darling! panel that will investigate the change of women’s roles within media and entertainment.”

WOW Norwich is led by Norwich Arts Centre and London’s Southbank Centre and funded by Spirit of 2012.

It takes place at OPEN in Norwich this Saturday and Sunday.

Weekend tickets for all OPEN events cost £20 (£15 concessions). Day tickets £12 (£8 concessions).

For more on the full line-up at OPEN, including times of the various panels and events and to book tickets, visit www.norwichartscentre.co.uk or call 01603 660352.

There are also some WOW Norwich events taking place at other venues across the city.

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