The Growing Strong Launch at 107 Projects on March 22 was not your average soiree. This was a party that gave its attendants the enriching opportunity to bask in the unlimited potential of women and non-binary people in the arts, life, and beyond. The event was in celebration of Growing Strong, the annual publication of the University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective.
The night kicked off in a thought-provoking manner, with Georgia Mantle giving a moving acknowledgement of country, speaking of her Grandmother’s strength and resilience as an Indigenous woman. It reminded us of the pervasive impacts of colonisation on land that was, is, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
I fear this review is tainted by the awe and wonder I felt listening to the writers read their pieces from the publication. It is a particularly intimate endeavor exposing your innermost thoughts with strangers, let alone speaking them aloud. The fear of intimidation was perhaps diluted by the audience (made up of predominantly women) having a somewhat shared understanding of what it means to live as a woman under the kyriarchy1.
Lane Pitcher, Bridget Harilaou, Siena di Giovanni, Vanessa Song and Ellen O’Brien told stories of struggle, forgiveness, heartbreak, perseverance and love. On the surface these seemed to be universal themes, but their experiences were specific in the way they demonstrated the very personal effects of patriarchy on the everyday lives of people who don’t conform.
The musical acts that rounded out the night were a testament to the largely untapped talent of women in music. Yung Pliny played a set that sadly didn’t have the setting or audience to be fully appreciated. Similarly, Dweeb City – a band that you should take note of now as they are surely set for stardom – were unsurprisingly incredible (this was my third time seeing them live), bringing their signature quirk and enchantment to the stage.
Shout-out must also go to the catering from Ya Habibi. It is perhaps handy to know that if Ya Habibi doesn’t cater your party, the party will probably only be half the success it could have been.
Overall, the Growing Strong Launch could have only been improved with more people attending the party (though this was through no fault of the organisers). It’s nights like these, one’s that center the experiences of women and non-binary people, that should be experienced by a wide range of people to increase the impact of the important messages being shared.
If you haven’t yet, get a copy of Growing Strong ASAP, you might have missed the party, but you shouldn’t miss the chance to read the exceptional stories from some of the University’s most talented and inspiring women.