Chandra Kavanagh is the newest Feminist in Residence at the St. John’s Status of Women’s Council (SJSWC). During her residency Kavanagh will give a series of talks on feminist activism and host a weekly Feminist Working Hub at the St. John’s Women’s Centre.
Kavanagh is an ethicist, author, and international public speaker, as well as a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton. She began her post-secondary studies at Memorial University where she completed an undergraduate degree with a focus on mental health ethics.
During her time at Memorial she volunteered at SJSWC, offering a popular creative writing course to women who avail of Women’s Centre’s services. This was one of Kavanagh’s first experiences of feminist activism and it had a big impact on her.
Kavanagh recently returned to Newfoundland and got in touch with SJSWC to see how she could get involved with the organization again. She was thrilled when they responded by offering her the position of Feminist in Residence.
“I had the opportunity to come back to Newfoundland and I really wanted to bring back all that I had learned to this women’s centre that had been so good to me and really lifted me up,” Kavanagh said.
As Feminist is Residence she will be giving a series of five talks throughout the summer titled “Introduction To Feminist Activism.” The first and final lectures of the series both offer advice on becoming part of an activist community. Other lectures touch on questions relating to women’s healthcare, the division of labour in the home, and sexual rights and privileges.
“This course is providing foundational information and practical skills that you can use to take action in your community. No matter what your background is or what your education level is, this Introduction to Feminist Activism course will give you the basic skills to go out and make changes today,” Kavanagh said.
The talks are open to the public and Kavanagh hopes the audience will include both regular visitors to the Women’s Centre and people who haven’t had the opportunity to spend time in a feminist space before.
During her residency, Kavanagh is also hosting a Feminist Working Hub, which will serve as an office for people who work from home. Kavanagh envisions the hub as place where students, stay-at-home parents, and people working on personal projects can get together and bounce ideas off each other.
“Absolutely anybody who has a little work to do and would like a speedy Wi-Fi connection and maybe a few people to chat with can come. We’re hoping we’ll get some interesting, socially-minded folks and you never know what could happen when those folks are working together,” Kavanagh explained.
There will be a “Introduction to Feminist Activism” talk every Thursday evening at 7:00pm from July 6th to August 3rd at the St. John’s Women’s Centre at 170 Cashin Avenue Extension. The Feminist Working Hub will be open every Monday from 12:00pm-4:00pm at the St. John’s Women’s Centre. The Women’s Centre is physically accessible with parking and gender neutral washrooms.