As creators and co-creators of this online directory for the red tent movement to spread we think it is important to share with you our story about where we first heard about Red Tents, who has supported and inspired us and how and why we created this site.
The Red Tent Directory was founded by Aisha Hannibal and Mary Ann Mhina. We both first heard about Red Tents from ALisa Starkweather who is our inspiration and dear friend and sister. Her vision for the Red Tent Movement came to the UK through Women in Power (WIP) a transformational women’s initiation programme of which she is a founder. The women of WIP UK including Nicola Kurk who is also a WIP founder and inspirational sister of ours committed in 2009 to holding a red tent each month taking forward Alisa’s vision in England. Mary Ann was involved in that commitment and during that year some new Red Tents were born. In 2010 Aisha was part of the successful establishment of Brighton Red Tent which was founded by a group of WIP UK women.
As our commitment to this work has grown and developed we have become aware of many other Red Tents. We had a vision in 2011 of a directory which would become like a portal for Red Tents in the UK so that women could find a tent near them to join or find out how to establish their own. We then had a request from our WIP sisters in France and so listed their tent in Paris too. This expanded to Spain, Portugal and Germany and now we list any Red Tent within Europe.
We are aware that Red Tents take many forms. On this site we take our inspiration from ALisa and her Red Tent Movement and so the resources we offer are rooted in what we have learnt from her. We are also in touch with and honour the work of DeAnna L’am who founded “Red Tents in Every Neighborhood.” (sic) and is featured, with ALisa in the film, Things We Don’t Talk About: Women’s Stories from the Red Tent.
However because we share her vision of a red tent in every village, city and town we have chosen to list red tents here no matter their heritage or lineage.
In the resources we offer we are offering you some of the richness of what she has shared with us. She has many rich things to offer you too so please check her out at:
Because we embrace the diversity and connectedness of ourselves and this movement we welcome those of other heritages to list their sites and be our sisters.
We know both that we are all connected and that this movement in part is about illuminating that truth. We know also that by embracing others no matter their story we both see ourselves more clearly and are able to play our own small part in building a better world.
This commitment to diversity is, we believe, critical to breaking down the false barriers which so often polarise our world. We want to create a different way of being together where our alikeness and our differentness can all be celebrated. The Red Tent Movement is a grass roots movement and each tent is run in its own way that works for that group of women. As such many red tents welcome trans or self-defined women and would value discussion to explore what it means to be women, to define ‘women’, how much this is connected to our menstruation or biological body, and the problems of binaries or stereotypes. If you want to know more about how each tent works you can contact them directly (see listings).
Whatever your story we welcome you to this online space and offer you a list of Red Tents and something of what we have learnt about creating regular red tent spaces in our communities and, more broadly, about working together effectively as women.
Our Founders were Aisha Hannibal and Mary Ann Mhina. Their vision was and continues to be – to create an online directory of Red Tents in the UK so that women who are looking for a place to go can find their nearest one – and women holding these spaces can let others know they exist. For a number of years they offered this support, watching and tracking the initiative of so many women, many of whom they did not know personally, who are creating these spaces here now. As the Red Tent movement grew, the Directory continued to grow and flourish. The team also needed to grow… the current RT directory team are:
Aisha – is one of the founding members of Brighton Red Tent, she works as an educator in creative fields and women’s projects as well as in a charity promoting intercultural learning and peace.
Mary Ann – is a writer and facilitator working with women and communities in the UK and East and Southern Africa.
Su – is the founder of Red Tent Cumbria, she’s a menstruality educator, passionate about women’s empowerment work.
If you would like to help us in our work which currently we fund from our own two pockets then please make a donation below.
- £25 would help a lot to continue our work supporting new Red Tents to start up
- £50 would enable us to research and list Red Tents across Europe
- £100 would help towards our fund of building a bigger website to list all the Red Tents that contact us from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.