From July 3-7, UTP participated in the book fair of the 2011 Women's World conference in Ottawa. There was a constant buzz throughout the conference as 2,000 participants from 92 countries took part in Canada's first hosting of the conference. Held every three years since 1981, the conference has travelled to eleven countries, covering six continents. This year's theme, "Inclusions, Exclusions, Seclusions: Living in a Globalized World," brought together union women, teachers, activists, researchers, grassroots organizers, and of course, a few men. Events were held in English, French, and Spanish, and when possible, other languages. The conference also encouraged women from under-resourced communities to apply to the Solidarity Fund, which financially assisted women with travel expenses and other costs associated with attending the conference.
Each day started with a group plenary session held at the new Ottawa Convention Centre. A diverse panel of four to five speakers introduced themselves in relation to each day’s theme. Breaking Cycles, Breaking Ceilings, Breaking Barriers, and Breaking Ground were the topics, and discussion spilled over into the smaller In Focus sessions held throughout the day. Tuesday’s plenary session, Breaking Ceilings, concluded with a solidarity march to Parliament Hill in honour of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
The book fair was held on the main floor of the Desmarais building on the University of Ottawa campus. Many of the In Focus sessions were also held in the building, and the UTP booth was busy each day, selling titles as different as Violence Against Women, Defamiliarizing the Aboriginal, and Pop Culture. It was a conference of sharing stories and experiences, which translated to an interest in others' experiences and research and lots of interest in UTP publications.
The conference website continues to be updated with new materials, including podcasts, pictures, and video (including links to the conference YouTube channel. Sessions and plenaries are available for viewing, as well as blog posts, testimonies, and a lot of food for thought.