Sussex Gender Studies Annual Event June 9th – Open Space on intersectionality in HE
Date and time: Thursday 9th June 2016, 9:30 – 6 (wine reception 5-6pm)
Venue: Moot Room, Freeman Centre, Sussex University
The term intersectionality, which originated in the work of black feminists such as Kimberlé Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins, often operates as a ‘buzzword’ in progressive and feminist spaces in higher education. Originally intended as a tool for dialogue and coalition-building across structural and individual difference, intersectionality can sometimes now give a sense of competing identities and agendas across which we are unable to meet. These discussions go to the heart of issues such as identity, safety and speech, in higher education contexts in which inequalities around structures such as gender, race, class, age, sexuality and disability persist. They are also framed by the macro-political rationality of neoliberalism, and policies and practices such as league tables, Prevent and the REF, which both force and inhibit different types of disclosures.
As a response to such difficult conversations at last year’s Annual Event, our Centre for Gender Studies Annual Event 2016 hopes to bridge some of these divides and facilitate a constructive discussion around the following central question: ‘How can we create truly intersectional spaces in higher education?’ This question will be addressed via a radical Open Space format in which participants will be given the freedom to take a lead in exploring issues they are concerned with in a supportive and nurturing setting. We hope the outcomes of this will help us all to develop our thinking around intersectionality in our own work and politics, potentially shaping the strategy of the Centre, feeding in to university policy, facilitating future research collaborations and inspiring curriculum innovations.
Grounded in principles that enable problem solving, creativity and collaboration, Open Space is a democratic, self-managing framework that enables participants to create their own programme of workshops around a central theme. Open Space conferences have no keynote speakers, no pre-announced schedules of workshops and no panels. Instead, participants self-organise based on what matters to them, ensuring that anything important to anyone about the theme has the opportunity to be discussed. Open Space enables a ‘whole systems’ approach to exploring complex issues. It cultivates connection and coalition across difference and supports collective commitment to implementing changes envisioned during the process.
We warmly invite all students, staff and members of the public with interests in intersectionality to attend and contribute to this event. Attendance is free, and lunch and refreshments will be provided. If you would like to be part of our Open Space, please register your interest with Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.