Keynotes and Plenaries

4W Women & Wellbeing Keynote

FEMRITE – Art; Activism; Change: Uganda Women Writers shifting the centre

Virtual Event: TBD

Co-Organized by the Department of Afro-American Studies 

and the 4W Women & Wellbeing Initiative

FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association founded in the early 1990s and registered in May 1996 was one of the earliest writers associations in Africa. It was established to support, nurture, promote, train and empower women writers looking to write and get published. Since inception, FEMRITE has consistently worked towards developing and empowering women writers, thereby contributing to women’s emancipation and providing alternative narratives, making it one of the most successful writers’ organisations in Africa.

This presentation will highlight FEMRITE’s beginnings and acts of activism that have seen the organisation register remarkable achievements, and the impact the organisation has had, not only in Uganda, but on the the continent as well through various partnerships. FEMRITE has fundamentally changed the face of writing and publishing in Africa over the past two decades.

Goretti Kyomuhendo

Goretti is one of Uganda’s leading novelists. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her début novel, The First Daughter, was published in 1996, followed by Secrets No More in 1999, which won the Uganda National Literary Award for Best Novel in the same year. In 2002, she published a novella, Whispers from Vera. Her third novel, Waiting, was published by The Feminist Press in New York in 2007. In 2014, she published the Essential Handbook for African Creative Writers. She has also published short stories and children’s books. Goretti is a founding member of FEMRITE –Uganda Women Writers’ Association and Publishing House –and worked as its first Director for ten years (1997-2007).In 2009, she founded and is now Director of the African Writers Trust, an organization that aims to bridge the divide between African writers and publishing professionals living in the Diaspora and on the continent, bringing them together in order to promote synergies between the groups. Goretti was the first Ugandan woman to receive an International Writing Program fellowship at the University of Iowa, and has since participated in many literary events internationally. In 2013, Goretti was one of the five international judges for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She lives in the UK and Uganda.

Hilda Twongyeirwe

Hilda J. Twongyeirwe is a Ugandan Feminist, a mother and a member of different women empowerment initiatives including FEMRITE, Uganda’s Women Writers Association; Action for Development; and the Pan-African Graca Machel Trust’s Women in Media Network. A founding member of FEMRITE, Ms. Twongyeirwe is FEMRITE’s current executive director, a position which has enabled her to initiate and contribute to several actions for the advancement of women writing in Africa. She is a member of the Permanent Bureau of African-Asian-Latin American Writers Union and the National Book Trust of Uganda. She received the Uganda Government National Medal in recognition of her contribution to women empowerment and emancipation through Literary Arts. She is also a recipient of The Women for Women Award -Uganda 2018 and Uganda Registration Services Bureau Recognition Award 2018 for contribution to Uganda’s Cultural and Literary arts. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration and Management from Makerere University, Kampala. She is a published writer of short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction and an editor of several literary works by women writers. Her political satire short story, “Baking the National Cake” was translated into Vietnamese in a journal of Vietnamese writers. Her poem, “Threshold,” introduces a section in Mire Soraya’s memoir against Female Genital Mutilation titled The Girl with Three Legs. Ms. Twongyeirwe is one of the “New Daughters of Africa” in Margaret Busby’s ground-breaking 2019 anthology of women writers of African descent.


Living Poetry: Women in Translation. A Collective Approach.

Featuring Nadia López García and Alicia Borinsky

Virtual Event: Saturday, April 10th, 1:00-2:30pm

With the underlying ideas that poetry is ultimately an act of translation and that the praxis of literary translation becomes a poetic event in itself, the 4W Living Poetry: Women in Translation Initiative (4W-WIT) will be presenting a brief selection of their bilingual poems by Latin American contemporary writers and scholars. Questions on the meaning of translation as a collective approach that aims to reimagine a larger cultural dialogue on issues of genre, wellbeing, urban and rural sustainability, will also be address. This event will end with the participation of our invited guest and collaborator, Mexican Mixtec poet Nadia López García, who will be presenting “Mujeres con alas. Escritura en lenguas originarias” [Women with Wings. Literature in Indigenous Languages]. English translation will be provided.

Women in Translation panelThe 4W-International Women Collective Translation Project at the University of Wisconsin Madison gathers a community of readers, translators and interpreters from various disciplines and institutions as part of a collaborative translation praxis of literary texts by writers from the Americas and Spain. Literary and translation studies, cultural anthropology, education, public health, cancer biology, and gender and women studies are among the disciplines and institutional fields of research represented in the group. Readings and discussions of selected texts aim to illuminate the multiple perspectives, cultural experiences and depth of each one of them, crucial elements required for the creation of new versions done either in English or Spanish.

This collective translation approach inspires also a larger dialogue with the writers themselves, along with literary critics and other professional translators. Indeed, the collaborative effort—one that has shaped key cultural or artistic groups and movements in the past such as Avant Garde literary movements, Mexican Muralism or the Cartoneras Editorial Houses, to name a few—makes this translation initiative a real “zone of contact” with the different linguistic experiences, knowledges and cultural backgrounds that collaborators from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panamá, Nicaragua, England, France, Spain, Poland and the USA contribute to the task of translation.


Nadia López García
Image provided by Wikipedia under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4 License

Nadia López García

Tu’un Savi (Mixtec), known as Nadia López García in Spanish, is a writer, essayist and award-winning poet. A promoter of her Mixtec culture, she was awarded of the 2017 Cenzontle Prize in indigenous literatures, the 2018 Youth National Literary Prize, and the 2019 Mexico City Youth Literary Prize. She has published the poetry collections Ñu´ú Vixo /Tierra mojada [Wetted Earth] (2018) and Tikuxi Kaa/El Tren, [The Train] (2019). Her work has been translated into Arabic, English, French, Hindi and Catalan [and now into English by 4W-WIT]. She has also participated in numerous recitals, poetry festivals and workshops in Mexico, India, Colombia, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and other parts of the United States. Forbes listed her as one of the “most creative Mexicans of 2018.” Born in the community  of Caballo Rucio, Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, Nadia studied Pedagogy at the School of Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM) and Pedagogical Anthropology and Education at the University of Barcelona. Additionally, she has studies Comparative Politics of Migration in the MA Immigration Management Program at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain.


Alicia BorinskyAlicia Borinsky

Alicia Borinsky is a fiction writer, poet and literary critic writing in English and Spanish. Among her bilingual volumes of poetry are Frivolous Women and Other Sinners, Lost Cities Go to Paradise and My Husband’s Woman. She is the recipient of several awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Latino Award for Fiction, and the author of numerous scholarly volumes. Her most recent book in English is One Way Tickets, Writers and the Culture of Exile. She is currently Professor of Latin American and Comparative Literature at Boston University and Head of Spanish.

Title:  IS SHE LAUGHING AGAINST ME? Poetry and the politics of embarrassment


Virtual Event: Friday, April 9 at 4pm

The African American Health Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster networking among African American health professionals and community health advocates and promote health education, healthy lifestyles, self-advocacy, empowerment and well-being among African Americans in Dane County.

Eva Marie Vivian

Eva Marie Vivian

Eva Marie Vivian is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. She received her doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in 1995, Master of Science in Population Health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013, and Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Human Ecology in 2020.

Eva has been referred to as “the researcher with a servant’s heart” because of her service to underserved communities in Madison, WI. She is the current president of the African American Health Network of Dane County whose mission is to promote health education, healthy lifestyles, self-advocacy, empowerment and well-being among African Americans in Dane County. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Access Community Health Centers, a local federally qualified health center; and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Metropolitan Madison Chapter of the Links, organizations that work tirelessly toward social justice.

Ms. Charlie DanielsMs. Charlie Daniel

Ms. Charlie Daniel has been an award-winning advocate and ally to underrepresented groups for more than 35 years. She is past Education Director for Minority Students and Displaced Homemakers through the WI Technical College System, and past President of Access Community Health Centers. She is currently Director and Founder of the African American Opioid Coalition and Program Coordinator for Falls Prevention at Safe Communities Dane County, and remains active in many national, regional, and local service organizations. She is also an original member of the African American Health Network.

Fabu Phillis Carter

Fabu Phillis Carter

Fabu, as she is professionally known, is a poet, columnist, storyteller, and an educator who works and writes to encourage, inspire and remind.  As the Madison Poet Laureate (2008-2012), she continues to share experiences living in the South, the Midwest and in Africa.  As an outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Center, she recruits African Americans into memory studies and also facilitates free Get Movin’ Exercise classes (a day and night class), a free computer class with DoIt and the Urban League of Greater Madison, as well as educational events for brain health. Fabu was selected as the 2019 recipient of the School of Medicine and Public Health Staff Award for Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the 2019 award-winner from the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce for making her love of poetry into a business.  She received the 2016 UW Madison Women of Color Award for her work in poetry and community.  Fabu is also a scholar of African American literature, and published four books of poetry: Poems, Dreams and Roses; In Our Own Tongues; Journey to Wisconsin:  African American Life in Haiku; and Love Poems.

Gale Johnson

Gale Johnson

Gale Johnson (Moderator) has been the director of the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) in the Department of Health Services for more than 20 years. This statewide program is Wisconsin’s component of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Ms. Johnson is a past Chair of the CDC Council for Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control. For three years she was also a member of the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee. For many years, Ms. Johnson has been a very active member of the Wisconsin Women of Color Network. She has also been a member of the African American Health Network of Dane County since its inception in 2003. Recognizing the importance of women living long healthy lives, Ms. Johnson has coordinated health programs for both organizations.

Ms. Johnson is a “life-long learner” and has had the opportunity to work with, and learn from many outstanding clinicians, researchers, advocates and community leaders who are dedicated to the health and well-being of women and their families.

4W STREETS:  “Pedagogy of Care: Artistic Tools for Discussing Human Trafficking”

Social Transformations to End Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex (STREETS) is contributing

to the end of human trafficking through education and action research that is grounded in the perspectives and preferences of survivors. STREETS aims to be an effective voice in the academic, legal, and policy realms, impacting communities locally and globally through creative collaborations. Through this work, STREETS has built a community of engaged scholars, practitioners, and survivors from around the world whose continued collaboration is centered on survivor-led policy and programs for healing and growth across the life course.

4W STREETS poster
Cassie Barwick, Hannah Redpath, and Justine Hill combined multiple images and ideas to speak on multiple themes, such as empowerment, community, and education.



Cripping The Book Tour/ The Performance Space:  

Creating Liberated Zones through Sick and Disabled Queer/People of Color Performance Art

A Virtual Performance Lecture: TBD

Co-Organized by

UW Madison’s Gender and Women’s Studies Department MA Students

The UW System Gender and Women’s Studies Consortium

The Mellon-Borghesi Workshop on Care: Politics, Performances, Publics, Practices,

and Co-Sponsored by

UW-Madison’s Gender & Sexuality Campus Center, The Department of Asian American Studies, The Department of English, and 4W

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled nonbinary femme writer, performance artist, disability and transformative justice movement worker, and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The Lambda Award winning author of Tonguebreaker, Bridge of FlowersCare Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way HomeBodymapLove Cake and Consensual Genocide, with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities.  Beyond Survival: Stories and Strategies From the Transformative Justice Movement, co-edited with Ejeris Dixon, is forthcoming from AK Press in spring 2020. Since 2009,  she has been a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid. The co-founder of QTBIPOC performance collective Mangos With Chili and Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School, they are a VONA Fellow and hold an MFA from Mills College. She is also a rust belt poet, a Sri Lankan with a white mom, a femme over 40, a grassroots intellectual, a survivor who is hard to kill.

* CART Captioning Provided

Charlotte Hill O’neal, AKA Mama C

Charlotte Hill O’Neal, aka Mama C, is a writer/poet, visual artist, musician, healer, inspirational speaker, longtime community activist and Director of United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC) based in Arusha, Tanzania in East Africa.

Mama C

Mask-ulinity: A Socially Distanced Drag King Revue

A drag show hosted by Will X. Uly

Mask_Ulinity graphic

Kai Prins is a graduate student in the UW-Madison Department of Communication Arts. S/he is pursuing a Masters and Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture, with a focus on the intersections of gender, performance, and bodies. S/he is especially interested in the line between authenticity and performance and the rhetoric of gender performance online, in person, and on the stage. Kai’s background is in theatre and dramaturgy, and s/he has been performing burlesque as DeeDee Queen/Lydia La Vie since 2015 and drag as Will X. Uly since 2017. Kai is also the host of the Your Body, Your Brand Podcast, an audio documentary about why women drop out of the workforce to seek careers in wellness entrepreneurship.

Will X. Uly (pronounced “Will Actually”) is an award-winning, internationally-traveled drag and burlesque performer. He is the reigning “Leading Man” of the Hollywood Burlesque Festival and the 2018 winner of the San Francisco Drag King Contest. He was a bronze medalist at both the 2020 WI Regional Burlypicks and the 2018 CA Regional Burlypicks, where he also won Master of Amazement (2018; 2020), Master of Tassels (2018), Master of Singing (2020), Master of Lip Sync (2020), and Master of Comedy (2020). He is the host of the All the Kings’ Voices Podcast on Youtube, he has chair-danced from Anchorage to Amsterdam, and he’s coming all the way from his mother’s basement to mansplain boylesque to you!

Learn more and connect with Kai/Will:
Social media: @performingwoman (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)
Podcast: All the Kings’ Voices |

Artist Roundtable:

Deploying Art-based Activist Strategies to Address Environmental Justice Issues

This panel shares four art-based strategies that address current environmental and social justice issues, including often gendered creative approaches that speak to the broadest audiences possible. A panelist will discuss her arts activism in reaction to the Enbridge line 5 intrusion into Tribal Sovereignty and lands. The Vantage Point is 75 feet of embroidered cloth panels depicting simplified cautionary landscape depicting the impact of human activities in consumption of food, oil, and power.

The Tar Sands Storytelling Project launched in April 2019, is a traveling exhibition highlighting the injustices of tar sands oil and pipeline infrastructures. This visual storytelling project is comprised of individual artworks created by ten Wisconsin artists, representing aspects of the cradle to grave story of tar sands oil. Wisconsin is currently home to the world’s largest tar sands oil pipeline outside of Russia – and is threatened by a proposed second line. The Flowers Are Burning Art and Climate Justice Project is a collaborative effort of an exhibition of incandescent watercolors inspired by the scientific realities of climate change caused by human activities, and a website offering information linking organizations and thinkers inspiring individual and collective actions necessary to mitigate the impacts we can no longer deny.   


Abby Ross, project organizer of the Tar Sands Storytelling Project

Helen Klebesadel, artist, Emeritus Director of the UW Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, and co-facilitator of The Flowers Are Burning Art and Climate Justice Project with Mary Kay Neumann. “The Flowers Are Burning… Oceans A Rising” virtual exhibition


Valaria Tatera, a member of Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, a visual artist whose work investigates the intersection of ethnicity, gender, commerce, and the environment, Milwaukee, WI

Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, artist, Red Lodge, Montana, creator of the Vantage Point Project.

Artist Roundtable:

Activist Artist Roundtable: Reimagining Resistance, Gender and Change Through the Arts

This activist artist roundtable made up of visual artists, art historian, and creative writers/poets.  Each artist will do a 5-minute presentation of their creative work/activist art, followed by opening the floor to the audience for Q&A.  The presenters offer a diverse range of cultural approaches, media, feminist and activist art actions related to the conference themes.


Alison Gatesartist and Professor of the Art and Design, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay,

Helen Klebesadelartist and Emeritus Director, Women’s and Gender Studies, Madison, WI


Finn Enkegraphic artist and Professor of History, Gender and Women’s Studies, UW-Madison.  Forthcoming publication includes a graphic memoir, With Finn and Wing: Growing Up Amphibious in a Nuclear Age

Angie Trudell Vasquez is the current city of Madison Poet Laureate. She received her MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her third collection of poetry, In Light, Always Light, a finalist for the New Women’s Voices Series, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019.

Gabrielle Javier-Cerullicommunity artist with Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA), art therapist, workshop facilitator,and author of the book Art Journal Your Archetypes, Madison, WI.

Leslee Nelsonfiber artist and organizer of the Memory Circles Project, Emeritus Professor of Art, UW-Madison, WI.  Author of the book Memory Cloths. Email Leslee

Sirinda Parin, writer, organizer, and author of poetry collection, Blood & Belonging. Madison, WI @sirinda_pairin

Melanie Herzogart historian and artist, Professor Emerita of Art History, Edgewood College, Madison, WI, and Senior Lecturer in Afro-American Studies, UW-Madison. Publications include, Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico.

Introducing the art of Haitian American artist Babette Wainwright.