Gendered Harms and Evidence Panel
Convenors: Dr. Avi Boukli & Dr. Julia Downes (The Open University, HERC)
We take as our jumping off point an episode of the Moral Maze called ͚Policing Offence͛, broadcast by BBC Radio 4 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07jyw9f). This programme focused on ͚the politics of offence͛ and critiqued strategies (such as safe spaces and trigger warnings) used to address and challenge normalised harms such as racism, sexism, transphobia and whorephobia. These resistance strategies have been created and/or used by women, queer, trans and non-binary communities, people of colour, survivors, sex workers and students. These strategies are critiqued in the programme for the way in which a) they are used against the powerful (men, white, middle class and high-profile people) but not the other way around; b) for protecting a ͚snowflake͛or over-sensitive generation incapable of dealing with challenging ideas; c) for espousing an unhelpful form of identity politics in which people use marginal identities to trump each other; d) for attacking freedom of speech, silencing and stifling debate in public spaces including our universities and social justice movements.
In a post-Brexit era of continued austerity the role of evidence becomes ever more crucial to justify public and financial support of services for ͚victims͛ and survivors of harm to gain justice, safety and freedom. Evidence is crucial to illustrate the lived experiences of interpersonal and structural harms and to critically analyse how equal, progressive and diverse our society really is. Various activist groups contest a myriad of structural harms experienced in everyday life including ongoing racism (Black Lives Matter UK), gendered violence (Sisters Uncut), transgender access to healthcare (Trans Action for Health) and incarceration (Empty Cages). We want to consider our role as academic researchers and activists in producing evidence to pressure the state to take responsibility to address ongoing harms but also to push beyond the state and open up space for transformative justice alternatives.
We aim to open up discussion of critical questions of gendered harms and evidence, centred around questions such as: Who speaks? Who is centred in activism and research? Whose experience of harm matters? Who creates knowledge about what is harmful? How do we challenge gendered harms at structural and interpersonal levels? How do we best confront the state?
Exploring Harm and Evidence
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
Free and Public Event
We are organising a conference on harm, evidence and the criminal justice system on 9th Nov, 2016, Conway Hall, London. This event showcases the work of our colleagues at The Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC) and our research partners, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS). The event – Exploring Harm and Evidence – brings together a range of academic and activist speakers, focussing on a range of issues, including drugs, homelessness, vagrancy, sexual violence, harms against LGBT communities, miscarriages of justice, crimes of the powerful and youth justice, by way of a consideration of the harms of contemporary social policy and criminal justice, and of the potentials for transformative justice alternatives. Please see the full programme here.
HERC is based in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University. It was formed in 2015 out of what was known as the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR). HERC’s research mission can be summarised as “evidencing harm and harmful evidence”. Central to its mission is a concern to engage critically with notions of harm and evidence, in order to better understand and tackle key issues about how evidence is used problematically in social policy and the criminal justice system, as well as assess the level of harms produced in these fields.