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Consent Week ends with concert at NSCAD

Crossed Wires, Vulva Culture and glitterclit performed Friday in support of the issue

3 min read
Sara Ericsson
caption The band glitterclit has written songs about consent, and performed at the concert.
Sara Ericsson

It was a hot and angry Friday night at the Art Bar.

A show featuring glitterclit, Crossed Wires and Vulva Culture wrapped up NSCAD University’s Consent Week.

As the show began, a hot-red hue blanketed the stage as glitterclit begin their set.

“Come closer, if you’re into that,” said Jess MacDonald, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, as she addressed the audience.

Sneakers and heels shuffled closer until they were nearly toe-to-toe with MacDonald’s black combat boots. MacDonald wailed out the first song of the night. The band’s rapid, angry music reverberated off the walls of the narrow room.

Using music to promote consent

Halfway through the set list, the band played Fuck me too, a song about consent. MacDonald said that although there are few lyrics, the song talks about consensual sexual relationships.

“It can be hard to write about issues that people don’t understand,” said Grace Stratton, the band’s bassist and vocalist.

Glitterclit is an all-girl queer, feminist punk rock band from Halifax. Stratton says being in a band with women makes her feel more included because they can talk about song ideas about unwanted sexual encounters.

“These girls know exactly what I’m talking about,” said Stratton.

MacDonald says consent should be a year-round discussion. She’s also a student at NSCAD, and says that discussions of consent continue in class as part of the curriculum.

“There is a culture that fosters discussions of consent at NSCAD,” she said.

MacDonald and Camila Salcedo, the band’s drummer and the event organizer, say that discussions about consent and the importance of respecting one’s boundaries are happening a lot more since the Saint Mary’s University rape chant scandal of 2013.

Boundaries and personal space

This year’s Consent Week focused on boundaries in sexual relationships and in everyday life. Throughout the week, students talked about the importance of respecting each other’s personal space, whether in sexual or non-sexual circumstances.

Students watched movies about consent, made buttons promoting consent, listened to sexual health talks, and participated in discussions about respecting people’s boundaries.

Gabby Palaric-Skinner, a first-year student at NSCAD, says consent is important in daily life, using performance artists as an example.

She says they should respect the comfort level of their audience when addressing difficult topics, like death or rape, but that in order to find where the boundaries lie, artists must take risks in how they interact with their audience.

“If the performer wants to involve the audience in some way there is the need to know what their boundaries are. But it’s important to take risks to see where those boundaries lie,” she said.

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