Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Girls Project Conference

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Girls Project Conference, at Simmons College.

I will be the T.A. for a brand new class at Lesley next semester, entitled "Girlhood, Identity, and Girl Culture." I helped create the course with Alice Diamond and Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley, and we're really excited about it! The class is based on theory and experiential learning. Lesley students will learn the theory behind girls studies, and will create a girls' group with young girls from Tutoring Plus in Cambridge. (Don't worry... as class registration gets closer, I'll write a blog post with more details about the class).

Anyways, I attended the Girls Project Conference this Saturday as a way to get some ideas for Girlhood, Identity and Girl Culture. I'm so glad I got to attend!

The Girls Project was founded in 1996 by the fabulous Marie Celestin. She saw the need for young girls to have a voice in the media and programming that was being geared towards them. The members of the project are girls in the Boston area from the ages of 13-18.

Marie and members of The Girls Project have a T.V. show on Channel 9 in Cambridge, which airs every Monday at 5:30. They also run the Girls Project conference every year, which is what I attended this past weekend.

The conference began with a short speech by Necy Lopes, the SGA president at Simmons College. The next speaker was Emily Flynn, who is a member of Minga at Newton South High School. Minga is a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the child sex trade. It was founded by a fourteen year old! It was so inspiring to see such a successful organization founded by such young people. Emily was a fantastic speaker, and everyone loved her speech.

The keynote speaker for the day was Keba Arnold, from Fox 25 here in Boston. She spoke about the challenges and rewards of being a woman in a male-centered field.

The first workshop session was run by the fantastic Christina Knowles, state director for Mass NOW (and my supervisor for my internship there). Christina gave a talk about healthy and unhealthy images of women in popular magazines and advertisements. The participants at the conference enjoyed Christina's talk, and the young girls there had incredibly insightful and intelligent comments.

The second workshop session was a really interesting talk by Nettrice Gaskins, a professor at Mass College of Art. She spoke about the rise of social media in such avenues as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and Second Life.
We then broke into groups entitled Voice, Vision, and Action and discussed a number of ideas for the Girls Project and Girl TV.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I'm so happy I got the opportunity to go. Check out The Girls Project website, and Girl T.V. each Monday at 5:30 on CCTV channel 9!


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