An African Women’s Stories event will be held in The Hague from 3.30 to 7 p.m. on Friday 29 November. This will be the festive conclusion to the research project ‘Designing the body. African-Dutch women’s narratives on health and wellbeing’, which was co-funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The project coordinator is Dr Brenda Bartelink of the University of Groningen’s Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. Conducted by, with and for African-Dutch women, the project centres around their own personal stories.
Brenda Bartelink, a postdoctoral researcher in the area of religion, health, gender and sexuality, is part of the Centre for Religion, Health and Wellbeing at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. She cooperated on the ‘Designing the body’ project with designer Gabriela Bustamante of Design that Matters and with Lerina Kwamba of Kariboe Bibi, an African women’s meeting and empowerment centre in The Hague.
In a series of workshops, African-Dutch women shared their stories about life as an African woman in the Netherlands, with details of their personal experiences in this regard. In one of the workshops, they acted out their stories using Delft Blue ceramic dolls. These women routinely encounter a range of migration and integration-related challenges, such as the difficulty in finding paid work. But they won’t let this stop them from fulfilling their dreams and ambitions and making the most of their talents. Yet many of these women feel that people tend to talk about them and not often enough to them. That’s why the project was centred around their own stories. How do these women shape their own lives, how do they see themselves, and how do they want to be seen by others? What stories do they want to tell about themselves?
During the African Women’s Stories event on 29 November, many women with African roots will creatively recount their own personal tales. Actors, fashion designers, social workers, academics and religious leaders, they will all showcase their personalities, dreams, talents and ambitions for The Hague. Dr Brenda Bartelink explains that ‘Their key message is actually a wish – they wish that The Hague might become a truly inclusive city, a place where they are enabled and allowed to participate and use their talents to enrich and improve their own lives and those of others. This is exactly why we want to invite other residents, organizations and policymakers to attend the event. There, they can discuss the issue of inclusiveness in The Hague with those behind the event and with other women.’
In addition to workshops, presentations, a fashion show and an ongoing exhibition, there will be a round-table discussion of the stories collected during the research project and other topics. The event will conclude with a drinks party, including food and music. Come and be inspired by these wonderful women, meet them and listen to their stories on Friday 29 November from 3.30 to 7 p.m. in Buurthuis De Oase community centre, Van Meursstraat 1, The Hague.
For more information, please contact Brenda Bartelink.
I look forward to seeing you on the 29th!
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