04 June 2012

Introducing the Yorkshire Rad Fat Collective

One of the Yorkshire Rad Fat Collective's events
pic courtesy of Lolly Likes
A few weeks ago I came up for air from thesis-writing and got excited to see that a new fat activist collective has formed up north. I had to know more, so I asked some questions.

Please introduce yourselves

Hi! I'm Kirsty and I'm answering these questions on behalf of the Yorkshire Rad Fat Collective, which is a newly founded group that meets and runs events in Leeds, West Yorkshire. I am otherwise found at http://fattyunbound.blogspot.com.

How did you get started?

We're really new as a collective (we only had our first proper meeting the other day). Emily and I began by organising a couple of fat clothes swaps in Leeds, which have gone really well and gave us a sense of the importance of creating a body positive space where everyone is welcomed. We decided to run a clothes swap because we'd seen similar things going on in London and wanted to bring the fun up North. We'd both gone to local swaps and been frustrated at the lack of plus size items, so we decided to run our own. After the second swap, there were calls for us to start a Facebook group so we could all keep in touch outside of the swap, to talk about politics, resources, clothes and our own local experiences. Now we're meeting up reasonably regularly and planning other things that we can do as a group.

What are your plans?

Lots of things! We'd like there to be more clothes swaps, of course, but we're also focused on forming a community where we can share skills, strategies and resources for other awesome fat people. Things we are planning immediately include an open blog (this has *just* been created at http://radfatcollective.tumblr.com and is open to submissions from everyone!). We'd like to keep up reasonably regular socials, and are planning a day of fat swimming frolics soon which might even involve water slides (!). I'd also like to run a regular crafternoon where we can do more skills sharing.

What kind of rad fatness might be associated with Yorkshire?

I guess the main reason we're called the Yorkshire rad fat collective is because we wanted there to be a specifically fat positive space in Yorkshire. One of the things I love about Yorkshire is that it has a massive DIY focused community – people are much more able to do their own thing up here as it's cheap to hire spaces and possible to live on less money. I see this as informing the activism and community I'd like to build with the group.

What does 'collective' mean to you?

I guess to me, I see it as a space where everyone can make decisions and which is free of a hierarchical structure. All of us come from different backgrounds and have different skills and intersections between us and our bodies, so I see a collective as a space to bring together that difference in a way which (hopefully) still gives everyone a voice and provides a valuable support network to those who need it.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Come and hang out with us! Join the group on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/255778594515036/ and tell us what you'd like to see happen locally.

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