(logo designed and explained by Frieda Van de Poll)
Explanation of the logo:
The Kolibri or Hummingbird is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible. For the native Americans, the bird is a symbol of rebirth, and of resurrection. It brings special messages for us, in its capacity of going in any direction; the only creature that can stop while traveling at full speed and the only bird that can fly backwards as well as forwards, up and down.
Frida had a special connection with this bird. She painted her eyebrows in the arc of the wings of the hummingbird, perhaps identifying herself with the extraordinary life skills of this colourful, tiny and vulnerable bird with the heart of an eagle. The logo is set in a stamp which fits the idea of the kolibri being a messenger…
Sisters of Frida CIC is an experimental co operative of disabled women. We want a new way of sharing experiences, mutual support and relationships with different networks.
We are seeking to build a/or different networks of disabled women. The barriers and multiple discrimination have not changed, we struggle to have our voices heard as disabled women in our own rights.
We would like a sisterhood, a circle of disabled women to discuss, share experiences and explore intersectional possibilities.
Why Sisters of Frida?
We took a long time deliberating on a name. We are disabled women but that is not our only identity – we are also embracing the whole package of being women and disabled. And we believe strongly in the social model of disability. We want to celebrate the difference of being of different ethnic origins, different cultures and nationalities, of different sexual orientation, of being mums, having partners and being single women. We are creative and our creativeness is born from our identities – of the very pain of being impaired and disabled at times. But we are not victims.
Hence we found a role model in Frida Kahlo. She is not one immediately associated with disability and yet her art was filled with images of the crippled body. She was also an activist and she wanted a life full of love, of relationships. In her art we also glimpse the dark landscape of her mental health in the aftermath of still births and in her stormy relationship with Diego Riveria.
We can strive to live our lives as full as she did
Armineh Soorenian completed her doctoral study at University of Leeds, Centre for Disability Studies in November 2011. In November 2013 her book ‘Disabled International Students in British Higher Education: Experiences and Expectations’ was published by Sense Publishing House. Soorenian has published, presented her work, delivered workshops and guest lectured on inclusive education at international level.
Soorenian is an independent researcher, with particular interest in: inclusive education, disabled women’s experiences, disability arts and representations, disability and gender, and disability hate crime. Soorenian works with organisations such as the British Council, West Yorkshire Police and other organisations on an ad-hoc basis. She is setting up the Northern branch of SOF, through which disabled women will have a platform to share their stories, offer peer support and feel united.
Becky Olaniyi is an 18 year old student born with cerebral palsy. She took an interest in discussing and dismantling the social issues around disability in 2014 and has since then been unexpectedly met with several opportunities to express her views in front of an audience. Becky has facilitated a workshop on the colourism that is an integral part of non-white communities at the 2014 Feminism in London conference, spoken at Sisters of Frida events twice (so far!) and is scheduled to speak at the Women of the World 2015, SouthBank festival. She hopes that through Sisters of Frida she can help to improve the sense of identity and self worth felt by young disabled women, by helping them to acknowledge and understand all parts of themselves as individuals rather than simply being ‘that disabled girl’. Becky also hopes to find a way to teach non-disabled young people to view disabled people as capable and intelligent rather than easy targets for bullying or those who are shunned, pitied or patronised as a result of stereotyping.
Eleanor Firman is active in the arts.
She is composer, teacher and Music Director. As a collaborator with artists working in different mediums she has composed music for over twentyfive projects to date. She is also involved in the politics of Land and Natural Resources including affordable housing, taxation, banking and credit.
Eleanor is based in London.
Eleanor Lisney is the founder member of Sisters of Frida and Connect Culture and currently engaged in a Phd on disability culture and the social media. She is an access advisor and the W Midlands rep of the Access Association, a NUJ member on the New Media Industrial Council and Disabled Members Council. She is also on the British Council Disability Advisory Panel and on the TUC Disabled Workers Committee. On the International Network of Women with Disabilities, she manages the social media as part of the Web team as well as the EVA (Electronic Visualisation & the Arts) London. She is a Director on the newly formed Side by Side CIC in Coventry.
In the past Eleanor has been an appointed member of Equality 2025 and worked as Relationship Manager at the School of Lifelong Learning, Coventry University and at Disability Awareness in Action (DAA) as their Access and Information Co-Ordinator.
Lani Parker has worked on disability issues in various capacities including taking part in campaigns, facilitating training, and working within disabled people’s organisations in the areas of advice, information and advocacy. She has a particular passion for doing the work of connecting social justice issues.
She is excited to use her skills to contribute towards tackling some of the concrete issues that disabled women face.
Lucia Bellini currently works as an advocate for disabled people who are victims of domestic violence. She is also a Disability Rights Advocate where she assists people to access care packages, to be re-housed, to apply for benefits and to appeal against decisions they are not happy with.
Michelle Daley has over ten years experience working in the field of disability. She has worked for a number of organisations at local, national and international levels to develop, promote and implement policies on equality and diversity. She is one of the founder members of Sisters of Frida. Her work has played a major role in promoting and influencing the inclusion of disabled people in the mainstream society.
Maria Zedda was the vice Chair of the London 2012 Disability Communities Engagement Group, representing disabled communities’ feedback to LOCOG, organisers of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on issues of access, marketing and representation of disabled people.
Maria is also on the Board of Trustees for the British Library’s Business and IP Centre and a trustee of the Creative Board at Ability Media. She’s also a qualified Access Auditor and has achieved numerous Audit commissions, such as the British Library in London, to the Central Library in Edinburgh.
As a former solicitor, her day-to-day research work is not to do with disability matters. However, Sarah acts as a consultant for select clients on internal equality working groups. She is based in Birmingham and is a Trustee of the city’s Access Committee.