Queens of Kalmar started as a jumble of ideas. We had just arranged the #metoo-manifestation in Kalmar, and felt that this could not be it. This important discussion cannot just end here.
Julia’s idea was to create some form of lecture/performance that would pinpoint sexual violence and its consequences. Alexandra, on the other hand, wanted to create a fair for women with entrepreneurs, creators and important organizations. At the same time, both of us wanted to create a safe space for women and non-binary people to dance, let go and be themselves. And so the idea of Queens of Kalmar was born.
Queens of Kalmar became an equality festival. It started in March 2018, around International Women’s Day. We wanted the discussion of equality and sexual violence to continue, and so it did. The first festival contained lectures, a political debate, a safety-focused night club and a fair with both exhibitors, music and a tattoo artist. Other organizations were welcomed to add things to our schedule and so people created yoga sessions, reading circles and other equality-friendly events.
The challenge was to make everything come together, while also retaining our mental health. We would not recommend putting together a huge festival in just two months. Another challenge that arose was that of men. We cannot avoid saying this, and the festival was very well greeted by most people, but the only resistance we met were that from different men who were supposed to collaborate with us. We, however, met them with stubbornness (and a bit of sadness sometimes of course) and saw this as another sign of how important our work was.
We had help from some friends and acquaintances. A few months after the festival we turned our project into a non-profit organization. The festival has now seen the light of day no less than four times. Our ambition to not let this discussion just slide by is clearly reached! This is probably the best thing we’ve experienced: how an idea created on a big paper in Julia’s living room could turn into a project and then a non-profit organization which is still alive.