Women and Gender Graduate Seminar Series: Call for Abstracts

Cross-posted due to my own involvement in the seminar series. It really is a lovely series of events. We welcome a wide variety of papers and absolutely anyone is welcome to attend: we tend to have everyone from professors, to undergraduates, to entirely non-academic types turning up.

Call for Abstracts

The Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Warwick will host a Graduate Seminar Series in the academic year 2012/2013. We would like to invite postgraduate students working in, but not limited to the following areas:

  • Media, Culture and Gender Representations
  • Work and Family
  • (Trans)national Gender
  • Intersections of Gender, ‘Race’, Class, Disability and Age
  • Gender, Transgender and Sexualities
  • Feminism and Women’s Rights
  • Men and Masculinities
  • Feminist Methodologies
  • New Media and Digital Technologies

We welcome submissions both conventional and innovative from any discipline on gender related topics. Seminars will take place on two or three Wednesdays per term in the afternoon (dates and timings TBC). Each presenter will be allocated 30 minutes: 20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes discussion. Attendance is open to everyone.

The seminar series aims to:

  • Foster discussions on topics of gender
  • Provide a safe and comfortable space for students to present their research
  • Create an opportunity to fine-tune presentation skills

Abstracts should be:

  • Maximum 200 words
  • Submitted along with a brief biography of the author; including their institution, department, and research interests
  • Submitted by Friday the 14th of September, 2012

Please email abstracts to cswgseminarseries@gmail.com. Abstracts will be peer reviewed. If successful, you will hear from us by Friday the 28th of September, 2012 and will be allocated to a seminar between October 2012 and June 2013.

If you have any further questions, please do email us.

Yours sincerely,

CSWG Organising Committee
cswgseminarseries@gmail.com

All change at Press For Change

The long-serving trans campaigning group Press For Change has released a request for new board members and volunteers alongside the announcement of a two-day “organisational development conference” in Manchester at the end of the month.

I’ve been amongst those who have criticised the organisation at one time or another, but it’s undeniable that Press For Change has been a powerful advocate for political change. It played a key role in pushing for the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and trans inclusion in the Equality Act 2010. It has produced huge amounts of guidance and advice for public bodies, private companies and countless individuals (most notably in the groundbreaking Engendered Penalties). At the forefront of much of this has been Professor Stephen Whittle, who is about to step down from his role in managing the organisation.

I’m therefore cross-posting the below message, and urge you to do so also.

Urgently Needed – Board Members and Volunteers

Please re post this request as far and wide as possible

The Future of Press for Change (PFC) has been in the balance for some time, with a lot of uncertainty due to various issues with individual’s health and others been able to commit to the development of the organisation for various reasons.

Press for change are having an organisational development conference in Manchester on the 25th and 26th May to look at how the organisation can be re structured and developed for the benefit of the transgender community.

This is an opportunity for activists to become involved in a well-established organisation with 20 years standing, by helping to develop and run the organisation and get involved with national & local organisations promoting Trans equality.

PFC had intended to look for more board members and volunteers at a conference that will be held at a major health equality & empowerment conference that is in the process of been planned for Feb next year to mark its 21st birthday, once the organisation had been brought up to date and had got some more structure to it, however due to recent circumstances there is a need to get more people involved at an earlier stage if Press for Change is going to continue at all.

Press for Change are looking for individuals to undertake the following:

Management Board
Website development officer
People to attend National and Local meetings and promote trans equality and feedback information/ inelegance to the network on what is going on.
Deliver Trans awareness training
Supporting survivors of Hate Crime and Domestic violence and abuse.
Press and social media officer
Telephone support
Legal case workers

This list is not limited, all ideas welcome and appreciated

If you are interested in getting involved in developing Press for Change and re shaping this organisation to enable it to become fit for purpose and an effective organisation which can advance trans equality, then please e-mail a short statement of how you think you could fit in and what experience and qualifications you have to office@pfc.org.uk and we will get back to you.

Press for change will be able to fund a limited number of individuals to attend the development conference on the 25th and 26th of May.

If you are not invited to the conference it is only due to the lack of funds available to the organisation and should the organisation continue it will be looking for more people to be involved as it moves forward as soon as it is practical as we value any input individuals can give the organisation.

Please re post this request as far and wide as possible

There is never enough research

This morning I’ve found myself reading a new Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) research review about “identity-based” bullying in schools (as you do!) The report summarises statistics and qualitative data from research into racist, sexist, disabilist, homophobic and transphobic bullying in British schools. Yep, you read that right: the “T” word is very much in there. I suppose all that hot air from government departments and quangos about “equality strands” has to be good for something.

To my dismay, the section on transphobic bullying was tiny. Not because the EHRC didn’t put any effort into it – I’m pretty certain they were giving it their best shot – but because there was so little for them to write about. My heart sank when I came across that that classic phrase…

“there is little existing literature”

As in:

“Transphobia is an understudied area and there are very few UK-based studies which have explored this, especially in relation to transgender young people”

…and:

“In terms of preventing and responding to transphobic bullying, there is little existing literature highlighting particular issues for transphobic individuals”

…meaning that:

further research is needed to help identify young people who may be most at risk of experiencing transphobic bullying and the specific support needs they may have.

This is how it always goes. It doesn’t matter if the research is about bullying in school, access to health care, access to employment and/or benefits, experiences in the street or in the home: it almost always boils down to “further research is needed”. This is the case in pretty much any field (how else would academics gain gainful employment, after all?) but so much more the case with particularly marginalised groups, including travellers and asylum seekers as well as trans people.

There are a few utterly fantastic pieces of research out there dealing with trans experiences of discrimination and harassment, but in the broad scheme of things there’s very little for activists and public sector bodies to draw upon when trying to get a realist picture of what’s going on.

The thing is, there’s very few people doing trans research, and even less people prepared to fund it. With government-backed research councils being massively scaled down because of the cuts, this is only going to get worse. This is pretty disastrous if you’re trying to get public bodies to tackle transphobia, and even more disastrous if you’re trying to get the government to pass trans-friendly legislation. For instance, the Labour government refused to budge on the exclusion of non-binary gender identities from the Equality Act because there was “no evidence” of such people even existing.

Research reviews are all very well and good, but we’re being told over and over again that there isn’t much to say about transphobia: not because it doesn’t happen, but because not enough people have looked at it. It’s time for organisations such as the EHRC and NHS to put their money where their mouth is and actually back some thoughtful, in-depth trans research projects.