F for Feminist: The F Collective

The F Collection is a blog project by F that highlights a feminist or women’s rights campaign, group or issue every Monday. Read on! 

By Corina Backhouse
Featured photo by Alex Wisser

Radical ideas often brew in kitchens. Teacups start convening on bench tops in clusters; collectively organising to occupy. We talk and talk and disrupt their plans with refills and then it strikes us that maybe the teacups are onto something.

The F Collective was born in this way. Feminist activists Rosa Campbell and Gabe Kavanagh dreamed up and co-founded a collective organising space that over the past three years has sought to inspire and ignite the Sydney feminist movement; to be diverse and inclusive in its operation and make up; and to always be fighting for a future in which gender fairness is core to the multiple communities and societies that we live in.

Rosa’s vision was and is bold. It incites us to action. It reminds us of the need for a space in which questions can be asked, ideas can be formed and political action can be initiated. The F Collective was to be:

A space for people who were new to feminism to try out ideas and a space for us all to develop and redevelop our politics. A place where the existence of oppression and the effects of it on peoples lives wasn’t denied. Where people who challenged oppressions were celebrated. A place to be smart and kind and radical and productive.

Gabe wanted:

An opportunity for younger activists to learn from more experienced activists. An open and democratic space that makes room for a variety of feminisms.

The F Collective values the plurality of feminisms. We recognise that multiple and diverse global identities manifest in as many types of political action and that it is our points of intersection that provide space for collaborative and meaningful change.

We have been busy. In April 2010, we hosted the first grassroots feminist conference held in Sydney in over 10 years, attended by 500+ people. We asked what feminism can learn from indigenous women’s knowledge. We asked why feminism is still relevant and what a feminist future should look like. We held about 40 workshops and 4 large panels. Who said feminism is dead? We launched a zine showcasing the diverse creative work of Sydney women and woman-identifying folks.

In 2011 we marched in Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (pictured) and organised the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day rally and festival. 3000 people attended. We worked with WEL during the NSW state election, canvassing candidates for their views on abortion law reform.

This year, we organised the Sydney IWD community picnic.

So where to from here? The question that plonks us down at a juncture, a here from which we can choose to imagine and shape our future. We have ideas. And we want to hear yours! Next Monday April 2nd, we want you to join F and tell us what your feminist future looks like and how to get there. There will be a feminist Q&A panel and opportunities to collaborate. The event will be held at Level 8, 187 Thomas Street Haymarket, 6-9pm. COME!

As Liz, one collective member says:

There are many fierce debates and I always walk away feeling privileged to share a space with people who are DOING things and some who have been doing things for longer than I have been alive: that kind of slow-burning dedication to enact what is fair and what is right and what is feminist.

Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Get involved. Let’s create our feminist future. F would love to have you!

One Response to “F for Feminist: The F Collective”
  1. Fran Hayes says:

    Thanks Corina for a really lovely summary of where f Collective came from and where it hopes to go.

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