Saturday, August 27, 2016


Click on any image for a larger version

Photo: Clara Rose Thornton

I have to jump straight in here with a declaration of interest. I was at the above event with one job only, to take photographs, and that's me at the window. But, really, you can't be at something like this and just let it go over your head.

A really great evening all round, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Workman's Club: The Vintage Room

The location was the Vintage Room in the Workman's Club on Wellington Quay, right next door to Bono's Hotel.

Well, vintage was the polite version, as you can see above. Now I know we are in the WORKMAN'S Club and the male of the species is not always the tidiest or most house proud, but this was male vintage with a vengeance.

I am tempted to say "you're in your granny's" but there is no room like this in your granny's.

And then there are the posters. Male to the core, though not a Pirelli calendar in sight, which was probably just as well.

So now we've set the context of a vintage male environment for this event which is all about female empowerment in one way or another. All the makings of an interesting evening.

Maria Ortega Garcia

The occasion is Maria's brainchild. She told us how she had become aware over the years of the absence of opportunities for women to share their personal experiences, be they of discrimination or empowerment, and this evening's event was one such sharing opportunity. Each of the participants, including the hosts and presenters, would hopefully take away inspiration from the experience of others, and an integral part of the event was the networking and chat that came before and after the presentations.

By the time the presentations themselves were to start, about three quarters of an hour into the event, the volume of chatter was reminiscent of that in a pub much later into the night. Clearly people were networking like mad and enjoying it.

Clara Rose Thornton

Clara Rose was the MC (note the gender neutral acronym) for the night and she also had her own contribution to make by way of explaining her background and sharing some of her very assertive poetry. She made it clear that, as both a woman and a person of colour, she had many walls to climb in empowering herself and it is clear that she surmounted them all so far.

A major theme with her was how women are defined by reference to men and most often in some second class or dependent role.

She made a great job of introducing the presenters, most of whom already had a public/online profile of one sort or another. But Clara Rose really gave them something to live up to in her introductions.

Fiona O'Meara

Fiona's theme was success and the enormous gap between what the world in general sees as success and what this means in terms of personal empowerment and serenity.

She is also talking from the perspective of having overcome an illness which had her bed-bound for years. Something like that puts proper order on your priorities but it can also dent your confidence in recovery. Enough to say she is now a Toastmaster and public speaking teacher.

Wendy Stephens

Wendy found inspiration looking back over some of her old diaries and she gave us some very impassioned poetry to prove she has something to say about women's empowerment.

Caroline Ryan

As soon as Caroline mentioned her humble Ballybrack origins she had me. She had me again when she mentioned DCU which I always figured a great university. The fact that her academic career is based on feminism and pornography was insignificant compared with the first two mentions above :)

As an aside, I should explain the lighting. As the evening wore on and the light faded I had to resort exclusively to using flash. However, I couldn't resist at least one shot in natural (electric coloured) light to give you a better idea of what the audience really saw between the flashes.

Caroline Ryan

While her pornography research is in an academic context she is approaching it bottom up so to speak rather than the usual top down approach adopted by most academics. And she has a speaker slot lined up at the prestigious Catalyst Con conference in LA next month.

Vanessa Marsh

Vanessa's preferred medium of expression is fine art and she has some stuff hanging in prestigious places as well as copies in many homes around the country. An NCAD graduate of 20 years, she has only more recently found her métier in art as self expression.

Shawna Scott

Shawna is a ticket and a very successful ticket. She has what she describes as a small business, Sex Siopa. This shop sells sex toys but confines itself to those which are safe to enter the human body. I'm not by any means a specialist in these matters, not knowing one end of a dildo from another, but you can educate yourself on her very natty website.

I was interested to see that she had already got herself into a dispute with my favourite porn magazine which implied she was selling unproven material. Hopefully they'll make it up to her and give her proper exposure in their (hopefully) second issue.

She had an interesting point to make about the difference between trading and manufacturing. Running a shop would remind you of the cows - you're never off duty. So she is hoping to switch to her own manufacturing and move down the country to preserve her quality of life. This link will give you a good idea of where she's at.

Lisa de Jong

Lisa is a teacher, poet and facilitator of women’s circles, which focus on the energies of the menstrual cycle. This evening she read us some of her poetry.

In contrast to some of the other presentations hers had a gentleness and sense of vulnerability about it.

Shirley Graham

Shirley's interest is in creating a space for women to find their true selves. She got into this area through her own personal quest and then being asked by others to facilitate them in their journey.

Julie Le Carrer

Julie traveled over from Brussels for this session. She is a healer, performer and intuitive artist and her presentation was by way of a performance, well, three mini-performances.

She demonstrated some intuitive body dance movements designed to unite body and soul and in one section relaxed those of the audience who were paying attention into somnolence with the aid of soft words and a little tinkle thing. It was at that point that I figured flashing the camera would have been totally out of place and disruptive so I can't actually prove that this bit took place.

Maria takes a bow

Full marks to Maria for organising this inspirational evening. Feminist it may have been but it was all positive stuff and I didn't feel the least out of place as one of only two males in attendance.


The two hosts and the presenters winding up a very successful and enjoyable night.

Check out the event at the
Awakened Creatress Website

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