We’re proud to say the first-ever Clear Lines Festival was a great success! From last Thursday until Sunday, Old Paradise Yard in Lambeth hosted a truly special gathering of speakers, artists, survivors, experts, and festival-goers — all eager to engage in an open, honest, authentic conversation about sexual assault and consent. We could not have done this without the support of our crowdfunders, sponsors, performers, panelists, volunteers and YOU. So thank you for following us on this journey. We’ll now be taking a break to recover, and then have a think about where to take Clear Lines in the future.
Tears and laughter
Many of our events were sold-out, with an estimated 500 people coming to participate at Clear Lines. At our Theatre Night, tears were shed both in the audience and by our artists during the Q&A after these hard-hitting performances. And at our Comedy Night, we shook with laughter listening to Josie Long, Sarah Kendall, Stuart Black, and our MC and curator Tiff Stevenson. Bridget Christie gave us a special preview of her Edinburgh show, and poets from the Burn After Reading Collective moved us with their insightful, elegant readings at our closing event. Panels like ‘Where have all the good men gone?’ and ‘Sex and intimacy after Sexual Violence‘ had our audiences fully engaged in heated discussions with our panelists and performers.
Only at Clear Lines would the Chief Crown Prosecutor for London appear on the same night as comedian Josie Long — or would Bridget Christie’s Edinburgh preview follow a panel called ‘Do Real Men Get Raped?’ If you missed some of our events, we are working on preparing our video coverage, and hope to make these videos available online soon.
What Those Involved Said:
“It was an amazing experience. although very intense, it felt a safe space where vulnerability could be shared and I felt there was also a bit of collective healing.”
“What you’ve done is pretty miraculous and you could see how the festival lit up those people. I haven’t experienced such positivity and hope like that, possibly, ever, especially in the face of such a tough subject.”
“Thank you for organising such an incredible festival. Words fail me sometimes, when I need them most, they start falling away the moment I think of how it is one thing to be a survivor and it is another thing altogether to make things happen, like the festival, so that someone else can survive, can continue surviving – because I do believe it is an ongoing process, a constant working through it. Your festival, helped me do that, helped so many others do it, or at least know how to deal with it a little better. People will have woken up this morning a little bit changed because of you, because of what you made happen.”
Clear Lines in the News
We’ve been thrilled by press coverage of Clear Lines, organised by festival sponsor On Road, including this Channel 4 News segment which aired on Monday:
On the Friday morning of the festival, comedian Tiff Stevenson and our co-founder Dr Nina Burrowes spoke on local BBC Radio stations throughout the UK, discussing the use of comedy in addressing sexual assault. Our other co-founder Winnie M Li did the same, and also appeared on BBC Radio Ulster last night. Her story as a survivor-turned-activist was also covered by the Irish News and the Daily Mail. Our media panelist Radhika Sanghani wrote this Telegraph article about our revenge porn panel, and Vice magazine featured our visual artist Ela Xora.
(On Road is doing a larger piece of work on how sexual assault and abuse is covered in the media so do get in touch with them to find out more or if you are interested in being involved.)
Social Media Buzz during the Festival
Our audiences were busy on Twitter at Clear Lines. Have a look at the festival hashtag #clearlinesfest and check out this storify from our Volunteer Coordinator Kate Llewellyn:
What did you think?
We’d love to hear what you thought of Clear Lines, so please spare a few moments to fill out a quick survey. We’d be really grateful.
Or you could email us at firstname.lastname@example.org — what was your favourite event? How has coming to the festival changed your attitude towards sexual assault and the people it affects? Your feedback will help us plan for the future.
Many people have said they’d like to see Clear Lines again in the future — or in other parts of the UK. We are a small team of volunteers and need to think long and hard about what we can do next. In the meantime, we’ll be sending out thank you packages to our crowdfunders and editing our videos of the festival. Johanna Ward is working on her photographic project ‘The Watchful Eyes’, which some of you participated in. But do spread the word about Clear Lines and what you got out of it!