Democracy and participation, Civic education

Cliteracy caravan

A tour through 14 smaller towns in Croatia spreading knowledge about female anatomy and pleasure, returning the agency to women regarding discourse related to their bodies

Creators

Who is behind this?

Karla Horvat Crnogaj

Domino

http://www.thisisadominoproject.org

Croatia

Idea

Idea pitch

The clitoris is the most optimistic element of the feminine body, as the only organ whose function is just pleasure. But the history of dealing with female physicality is characterized by censorship and disinformation, focusing primarily on reproductive aspects. These programs are designed to raise the visibility of the complete clitoral anatomy, at the same time providing new knowledge and skills from embroidery to 3D printing while traveling through a series of smaller towns in Croatia.

Where will your project idea take place?

2 tours in 7 smaller towns of Slavonia, the eastern part of Croatia and 7 on islands in the Adriatic

What is the local challenge?

Slavonia is a rural agricultural area with high unemployment and emigration. On the other hand, Islands live on tourism and subordinate everything to it. But during the winter, island life presents a demotivating and depressing environment. In those areas feminist activism is not very welcomed. Women living there are not often exposed to information which might make them more engaged about their rights. Body positive approach is rare due to the prevailing patriarchy of Balkan. But, even outside of that area, iconography related to female anatomy is most often reduced to the presentation of only reproductive elements. Without exaggeration, girls and women have been deprived of almost any source of knowledge about their sexual pleasure.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

The main objective of the project is to disseminate the information that knowledge about her anatomy is important for every woman. The strategy of the project to do so focuses on avoidance of existing traps: lack of motivation to take part in educational programs, skepticism towards gender-related topics (perceived as an empty political squabble), and patriarchal conditioned shame. This will be done through approachable esthetics (illustration, graphic novel) to „nest“ educational information in it and by offering skill-developing activities (embroidery, 3D printing, modeling workshops) to attract participants; and on the other side to work on strengthening of a positive discourse around female physicality while avoiding (auto)victimisation.

Who are you doing it for?

The applicant organisation has 18 years of experience in minority culture and identity politics including gender and sexual identities, so the activities aim for a diverse range and inclusive approach in addressing all stakeholders. The project is oriented towards bettering the self-esteem in women and girls living in rural, peripheral areas, specifically in towns Koprivnica, Virovitica, Vukovar, Požega, Nova Gradiška, Pakrac, Čakovec in the eastern part of Croatia and islands Silba, Cres, Zlarin, Vis, Pag, Brač, Hvar. Besides including them in capacity building programs done by artists and tech experts, we plan to interlink with the local medical workers, NGO and municipal representatives to ensure the sustainability of the change of discourse around female physicality.

How do you plan to get there?

The activities are divided between culturally and geographically distanced areas hence consisting of 2 consecutive caravans in Coastal and Eastern Croatia each on tour through 7 smaller towns. In each town, activities (workshops, lectures, consultations, and artistic interventions in public space) are addressing representatives of the local municipality, medical professionals, younger generation, and people engaged in locally specific activities. The more positive discourse connected to female physicality is aimed at providing communal creative and skill-gaining activities while obtaining non-victimising and humorous tone of dialogue between stakeholders of different backgrounds. Intersectoral methods combine new (3D printing, upcycling) and traditional technologies, science, and art.

What are the expected results?

The first expert publication on this topic will be available in Croatia. 3D printing workshops will bring women in contact with technology perceived as a male-dominated playground. Local community services (healthcare, NGOs, municipality) will be educated and provided with info-materials to further spread the knowledge.
By connecting content to locally significant matters, the topic can take roots in communal activities. In 5 towns local female artists will be invited to make interventions in public space and approach the subject in a different way, reaching a wider population. Overall suppression of the topic of female sexual pleasure will be lessened by presence in national media - and in the end, more women in Croatia will start being vocal about matters regarding their bodies.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

EU needs cliteracy. The parts of the clitoris have been described in the late 19th century, but this was largely ignored since it came out that it doesn't influence fertility. First sonogram-based illustrations began to circulate the Internet in 2011(!), following a study of Odile Buisson and Pierre Foldès. 4 years later, Odile Fillods 3D printed model was made viral – but only untill the buzz didn't die out. Now, it's possible to google the information, yet it's still missing in medical and educational materials.
Cliteracy programs empower women to get engaged in activities and discussions regarding agency towards their bodies. By introducing this methodology to more Croatian and European organisations, influence can with time reach decision-makers in the medical and educational sectors

What is your story?

Domino launched the pilot program as a reaction to horrid developments in public discourse around female physicality that even reached public shaming of a female parliamentarian experience with curettage done without anesthesia. Due to encouraging feedback from the participants, we continued the program the following year including a series of educational and creative workshops and artistic works and so shaping the intersectoral methodology. Considering one of the basic missions of the organisation being decentralization of culture and activism in Croatia, it is a natural development that we are working on geographic expansion of the initiative, with the aim to empower women in rural parts of the country to get engaged about the questions regarding their bodies.

€ 43000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 43000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Travel expenses (van rental, accommodations, per diems, gas and taxes) = 12000.00
Fees for lecturers, workshops, counselors = 5000.00
Production and fees for 5 art interventions in public spaces 5000.00
Print of 7000 expert publication = 3500.00
Layout and corrections = 3500.00
Publication contributors (experts, artists) = 5000.00
Office expenses = 1000.00
Personel (2 staff members part time x 8 months) = 8000.00

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to hear any feedback from others, and especially about being clear in the descriptions of methodology. Also, suggestions to include some concrete educational tools/activities are also welcome.

Team

Karla Horvat Crnogaj

Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on May 26, 2020

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