Author: Nathan Veenhof
This past weekend, on November 16, 2019, we hosted our second ReImagining Masculinities conference. We chose the theme “Masculinities Tune Up” as something to work around for this year based on the feedback we received last year and where the conversations have been moving. What we ended up with was an amazing conference that was packed full of meaningful conversations and exchanges of ideas.
I am left, personally, feeling so grateful, so amazed, so moved by what I witnessed and participated in on Saturday. And I know that my co-organizers feel much the same way.
We are grateful that we are able to have these conversations on these lands, the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lək̓ʷəŋən peoples. We are grateful, as people with colonizer ancestry, that we can work to address some of the wrongs that have happened, that we can hold space for the conversations that need to happen. The colonizer mindset affected and affects all people. Not only was land taken, but culture was taken, ideas were taken, shared understandings of flexible beings, multiple ways of living and expressing oneself were taken. These harmful notions of gender binary, of power and suppression, of masculinity and femininity sit centred in our cultures today and it is our work to address them, our work to move beyond them. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to do some of this work, here on these lands, this past weekend and moving forward.
We would like to extend amazing thanks to our sponsors, the BCGEU and the Victoria Family Court & Youth Justice Committee, without whom we would not be able to put on the conference.
We are thankful to Nathan Lachowski of the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria, without whom, we would not have been able to secure a venue.
We are deeply grateful to and moved by John Etzel Jr from Tsawout First Nation who was our amazing youth host and provided our entertainment after lunch as the BigBadBrownSuga. John provided an amazing contribution to our day and our conversations and I don’t know where we’d have been without him. Thank you, John, for your vulnerability, energy, and time.
Thank you to all of our speakers and volunteers who came to help us put this day together. You provided incredible vulnerability, ideas, and conversations through your place on panels, your presentations, and your workshops. You were instrumental in helping us all move the conversation forward.
And of course, were are grateful to all of you who were able to come and spend part or all of your day with us, listening, learning, and sharing. Without you, there wouldn’t have been a conference. Thank you for coming out. Thank you for being vulnerable with us, for sharing your ideas, for spending your time and energy. We couldn’t have made it without you.
As was the case last year, you, our conference attendees, volunteers, contributors, sponsors, and speakers, provided and are providing amazing feedback. We are listening! We hear the need for more accessibility, more notice and information about what we’re talking about at the conference, and more time to have the conversations! We hear that this year’s conference was different from what you’ve experienced in the past, with more chances to participate, but also that we were missing some key pieces that would have made it better. We hear the need to have more intersectionality and minority groups in our organizing team and in our presenters, something we are actively working on. We hear that there are people missing from the conversation, so many people, and we want them to be there too.
We hear your feedback and we want more! We want next year to be even better than this year. If there is something you would like to say that you didn’t get a chance to say on Saturday, please contact us, and we will listen! If you want to help us make next year’s conference happen, let us know!
Thank you for making this year so amazing.
Thank you for moving the conversations forward.
Thank you for all your work on ReImagining Masculinities.
From all of us to all of you,