On Monday. February 13, 2017, we hosted another edition of our Koffler Salon – an ongoing series of dynamic cross-disciplinary conversations. Pushing Back featured eight talented women who had participated in the Women’s March on Washington discussing how this galvanizing experience motivated personal engagement with continued activism and contributed to the broader discourse about the current wave of collective protest. 


The Women of ‘Pushing Back’. Photo by Mary Anderson.


The Special Interest Group performing songs of protest. Photo by Mary Anderson.

Each guest contributed her own unique perspective: PhD candidate Margeaux Feldman addressed issues of unity versus intersectionality, while artist Heather Nicol talked about the idea of ‘disruption’ as opportunity, and how leftover pink fabric from a previous installation piece became emblematic of her involvement in the Women’s March. Communications consultant Sarah Neville reflected on the importance of amplifying women’s voices. Actor Toni Ellwand shared stories of her familial debates with her Trump-supporting brother, and Aida Jordao briefly summarized her lecture to media students about encoding and decoding the ‘pussy hat’.


Aida Jordao pointing out her ‘pussy hat’. Photo by Mary Anderson.

After another strong performance of protest songs by the Special Interest Group, our host and moderator Allegra Fulton took the stage to discuss how her childhood experiences with activism have translated into her artistic process. Dale Hamilton divulged that the election results had re-energized her engagement with the arts as a tool for social change, and was writing a new play to address islamophobia, xenophobia, and homophobia in the Trump-era. And comedy-writer Sophie Kohn discussed how she plans to feature more diverse voices in her comedy writing team and programming.


One of the signs that the women carried during the March. Photo by Mary Anderson.

Clearly, not all voices were represented by the women on stage at Small World. But the overall sentiment of the evening was hopeful – a starting point for us to learn, to actively listen to divergent perspectives, to question, to incorporate our weakness and strengths, and to do better.

Koffler family FoundationCIBC Wood GundyOntario Arts Council | Conseil Des Arts De L'OntarioToronto Arts Council | Funded by the City of TorontoCanada Council