Interviews » Rama em Flor: Creating Space for Radical Discussion

August 31, 2018 by Eden Flaherty

Rama em Flor: Creating Space for Radical Discussion

This summer, Lisbon was home to a glorious celebration of feminism and queer culture sprawled across multiple venues throughout the city, including Zé dos Bois Gallery, Damas, Lounge, and Rua das Gaivotas 6. The community festival brought together international and local artists and activists to present music, talks, films, and discussions, opening up space to tackle the issues that affect all who call Lisbon home.

The Rama em Flor festival isn’t likely to happen again until 2019, but luckily for us, they have another event this month at Rua das Gaivotas 6. So, let’s get the lowdown on how the festival went this year, and prepare ourselves for Odete, who will be performing from Sept. 6 to 9.

We sat down with the organizers, Daniella, Beatrice, and Rodrigo, to talk about how it went, and what they have planned for the future. In true collaborative style, most of the answers were partially from one person, and partially from another. A group that has grown so close that they finish each other’s sentences.

How long have you guys been running as an organization?
This is the second edition of the festival, the first was in 2016. It was a ten-day festival with talks, cinema, music, art shows, and workshops in various places — some of which are the same as this year.

This year was a five-day festival, and very intense! We decided to make it more concentrated so people could have more events in a day. There were a lot of events for a small team like us!

How many people are on your team?
We are a core of three, and then there is a team of people working with us. Loads of people were involved. The idea was to invite many collectives who work with these issues throughout the year and make a festival that will bring them all together.

What are the main issues that the festival is focused on?
I think the topics are things we care about and that are relevant today. Both hot topics and things that we feel should be hot topics — things that should be more heard — such as the fact that the new census set for 2021 will probably have a choice for ethnicity and race. That could be a game changer — some people argue it’s for the best, some argue it is for the worst.

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So, the themes are collective. It depends on the people. We have some people worried about some issues, and others worried about other issues.

Of the topics that were tackled this year, which do you think drew the most interest?
They were quite even. They are so specific — like the census one — that they attract very different people. The census issue is very specific and it’s not very talked about here, so I think it’s still a niche thing.

I think the last talk on gender, identity, and violence had the biggest audience, probably. I don’t know if it is because it has more attention, or if it was just a day when people could attend.

From what we heard, all the debates had a lot of people not only listening, but trying to say something, trying to discuss something.

I think it was quite even. There wasn’t a focus because we tried to reach out to people with many different interests. To open up conversations with very different people, whether with academics, or activists… or people who are in a bad situation and neet to politicize themselves.

Do you have a plan to continue throughout the year with programs as an organization?
Individually, we participate in other events, but Rama em Flor is a work in progress in the sense that throughout the year we browse and we see what’s under the radar. We are quietly doing our homework until we feel like “ok, we have enough clues, we have enough tips, we have enough cues.” Like this edition, we were working on since last July.

It is 100% volunteer-run. We have good friends and an amazing team that allows this to happen.

Have you got plans for next year’s festival?
It is supposed to happen two years from now, but we have an extension to the program already in September in Rua das Gaivotas, with a performance with Odete.

She is one of the people who gave a talk on gender and identity, and she also DJd and helped with the program. She is part of the team and has been with us since the first meeting. She’s been really present and influenced a lot.

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We are still thinking about getting a break! In the middle of it, it is so intense and you are just thinking, “I never want to do this ever again,” and then you hear somebody talking about it and you’re like “yer, ok,” then you have ideas and it’s a snowball.

We have to do it.

So, go enjoy Odete! Or, experience one of the many other artists performing at Rua das Gaivotas 6. Lucky for you, Atlas Lisboa is currently giving away a Double Bill ticket for you and a friend to watch (Re)union on a day of your choosing. You can enter the competition here, what are you waiting for? 

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