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Broadside: Taking Up Space: Building the City That We Deserve

Listen to Broadside: Taking Up Space: Building the City That We Deserve

A woman’s place in the world and right to move through it freely has always been controlled. Workplaces, our city streets, pubs and parks are not just traditionally unwelcoming, but can be dangerous and destructive. Patriarchy has, until now, dominated our public spaces, and the way that different bodies and identities are policed within them.

So how can public space be reconceived, and how can we create a city that is truly accessible? Can we break our urban environments free from Anglocentric and gendered constructs of the past? And – are we even asking the right questions?

Photo of Jan Fran, Niki Kalms, Caroline Martin, Gala Vanting and Jax Jacki Brown onstage

Pictured, left to right: Jan Fran, Niki Kalms, Caroline Martin, Gala Vanting and Jax Jacki Brown — Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer

In this episode, recorded at the inaugural Broadside festival of feminist ideas, host Jan Fran leads a discussion with writer and sex worker advocate Gala Vanting, spoken word performer and disability activist Jax Jacki Brown, YIRRAMBOI First Nations Festival creative director and Yalukit Marnang founder Caroline Martin and Monash University design researcher and XYX Lab founding director Nicole Kalms. They talk about urban space – and, ultimately, the intellectual work we have to do before we can even begin to talk about building anything.


Portrait of Gala Vanting

Gala Vanting

'Whilst I’m aware that #notallfeminists are anti-sex work, there’s a pretty gaping chasm between "not being against" and being an ally.'

Gala Vanting is a writer, sex worker advocate living and working as a migrant settler on Gadigal land. Her work weaves through the brothel, the boardroom, screen, stage, and page, public health and sex education. She aims to create compassionate and justice-driven dialogue about gender and power, sexuality, technology, media and culture, and is a passionate advocate for the human rights of sex workers.

Portrait of Caroline Martin

Caroline Martin

‘The absolute strength and pride of who I am today comes from these strong and resilient arweet murni-gurrk (old wise women).’

Caroline Martin is a direct descendant of the Briggs family and Custodian of Boonwurrung Country. She has worked in management and senior policy across arts, culture and tourism. A former Manager of Bunjilaka Culture Centre at Melbourne Museum, Caroline is currently the Creative Director of YIRRAMBOI First Nations Festival and is the founder of Yalukit Marnang, a cultural strengthening and development consultancy business. She is currently working on Bagurrk, a production that gives voice to the strength and resilience of Boonwurrung Matriarchal Ancestor Louisa Briggs.

Portrait of Jax Jacki Brown

Jax Jacki Brown

‘We must adopt an intersectional approach to understanding the experiences of the LGBTIQA+ community with disabilities. Intersectionality provides us with a political framework to understand how multiple forms of discrimination are experienced and lived ... our identities don’t exist in a vacuum, they overlap and inform each other.’

Jax is a passionate activist committed to addressing the disadvantages LGBTIQA+ people with disability face. They adopt a social model perspective where disability is created by structural exclusion and ableism. Through their extensive work as a writer, workshop and forum presenter, university lecturer, spoken-word performer and theatre producer, Brown aims to challenge disability stereotypes and spotlight serious issues for change.

Portrait of Nicole Kalms

Nicole Kalms

‘Most cities are gender-blind and disregard women’s experiences. Engaging with the stories of women and girls is crucial for making cities safer.’

Nicole Kalms is an Associate Professor in the Department of Design and founding director of the XYX Lab at Monash University. Examining the nexus of gender, urban spaces and advocacy, the XYX Lab brings together planners, policy-makers, local government and stakeholders to make tangible the experiences of underrepresented communities. In her role, Kalms is leading two significant research projects: ‘Urban Exposure: Interactively Mapping the Systems of Sexual Violence in Cities’; and ‘Understanding the Spaces of Sexual Harassment in Public Transport’. Kalms is the author of Hypersexual City: The Provocation of Soft-Core Urbanism.

Portrait of Jan Fran

Jan Fran

‘We are half the population and until we are equally represented in public life (and men in the home – but that’s a whole other story) we won’t really have equality. It’ll continue to be a man’s world that we inhabit.’

Once a girl in line for the bathroom at a music festival described Jan Fran as, ‘that girl who talks about politics on the internet’. This is true! Jan is a Walkley Award-nominated  journalist, TV presenter, podcaster, and creator of the The Frant – an online opinion segment that has been viewed more than 20 million times. Jan is an ambassador for Plan International Australia, where she advocates for women and girls and her strong reporting on women’s issues earned her a 2018 Walkley nomination for Women’s Leadership in Media. In 2019, she was awarded the Walkley Award for Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique.


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