Barnsley College students were joined by poets Victoria Bennett, Jhilmil Breckenridge, Gill Lambert and Kim Moore on International Women’s Day for discussions on the #MeToo movement, the power of change and what gender equality means.
Gill and Kim held sessions with vocational students and staff at the College’s Old Mill Lane campus where students produced their own poetry around themes such as power, consent, gender identity and patriarchy.
Victoria and Jhilmil visited Barnsley Sixth Form College to answer questions from students and read poems from the women’s poetry anthology #MeToo: Rallying Against Sexual Assault and Harassment, which features 80 female poets and won the 2018 Saboteur Award for Best Anthology.
Victoria and Jhilmil also talked to the students about the stories behind the anthology and its impact in the year since its initial publication.
Victoria said: “The students and staff asked some really interesting and relevant questions, which gave food for thought beyond the session. It was really positive to be able to talk openly about these issues with such an attentive and respectful student group. Together, we were able to discuss what actions can be taken by individuals and groups to move our own communities and society forwards.”
Jhilmil added: “I believe that it can be very inspiring when students witness someone like Victoria or myself, who have suffered violence and more, and see us standing tall and telling our stories. The students engaged with issues such as body shaming, consent, healthy sexuality, domestic violence and how gendered violence can be a spectrum and is often disguised as financial control, dismissive words and more.”