A facilitator’s story: Reflecting on the RGS-IBG’s Qualitative Methods Postgraduate Workshop. By Eveleigh Buck-Matthews

In July, the GFGRG co-sponsored the ‘Reflecting on Qualitative Research Methods’ workshop.  In this second post from the workshop, one of the workshop organisers reflects on her experience of the day.

This is the second year I’ve run a postgraduate workshop at the RGS-IBG. The RGS-IBG and the research groups are happy to let us postgrad reps run free and explore the building, supporting and creating a space for us, the geographical academics in training or otherwise known as PhD researchers.

It has been a bottom up process. Me and my fellow GFGRG postgrad rep, Heather Jeffrey saw a need. We didn’t feel our institutions offered us enough methods training during our PhD studies and because both of us weren’t in geography departments we had to go outside our universities to seek out workshops. I also had a social need, I was one of only three PhD’s to start in my new research centre. I was lacking in geographically likeminded people. I also had no opportunities to teach which I had always wanted to engage with, so the solution was to ask the RGS-IBG if we could run a workshop. Courage, enthusiasm and energy arrived in the guise of my fellow postgrad rep for GFGRG. We soon became thick as thieves!

We had about 15 PhD students for our first workshop, we had a fantastic key note; Dr Erin Sanders who walked us through her research, a sensory ethnography of Soho and her thoughts on her PhD and subsequent early career experience. It was a warm workshop and a pleasure to facilitate, a friendly environment. The feedback, it was needed. We had got what we needed – confirmation that it was wanted and had been helpful and supportive.

Therefore, 2017 rolled up. We had some tricky times, we had to push back the workshop later in the year as Viva preps and hand in dates meant we had to give ourselves more time. However, we took on a friendly face in the form of Dan Casey which gave us the breathing space and support we needed to pull a larger event together.

We were so lucky to have Prof Gillian Rose speak on her work on #smartcities and digital geography methodologies. It was methodologically fascinating as well as being visually beautiful. Following lunch I was up with a free writing workshop, it’s purpose was twofold. To get researchers to reflect on who their participants were and what their needs may be. Secondly, to put forward an alternative way to write and to think about writing. To break down the barriers we may put up against the process of writing and break into ways to encourage creative thinking. My last session looked at mapping, we are geographers after all. The glitter came out and people had the choice to body map or produce imagined maps based on their own research idea’s. A workshop designed to help researchers reflect on their work and research practice and to play with some creative methods of data collection.

(Photo courtesy of @TheaShahrokh)

After a tea break we were back with a session on reflexivity in research. Vignettes framed the ethical jungle that research fieldwork can be. We problematised and worked through how to deal with sometimes dangerous, awkward, confusing and tricky situations that come with primary research. There was strength in having talked through these situations and we practiced the ways in which we may write up reflexivity as well as deal with difficult situations at the time.

It was an exhausting yet fantastic day. The feedback we received was glowing and so pleasing to see. Feedback received such as “Very friendly, supportive, with lots of practical info and advice. Made PhD research seem fun again …!” makes the day worthwhile. People had taken so much from the day and also given us some constructive feedback which we can take forward with us if running similar events in the future. I would again like to thank everyone involved, especially the research groups that supported us:

Participatory Geographies Research Group (@pygyrg) Social Cultural Geographies Research Group (@SCGRG_RGS) Postgraduate Forum (@PGF_RGSIBG) Gender & Feminist Geographies Research Group (@GFG_RGSIBG) Geographies of Leisure and Tourism (@GLTRGuk)

I’d ask that if you are a PhD who has had a good experience, a light bulb moment, a space created you feel has helped please consider actively creating one yourself. It is a lonely experience doing a PhD and it doesn’t take a lot of energy to create a space with and for others, even if it’s just an email around seeing if people fancy the pub. Give back, however, whenever you can and if you’re looking for a way to do this consider becoming a postgraduate representative? running a session? running a workshop? Once you become confident, pass it on and show others it doesn’t have to be lonely, I made sure mine wasn’t.

To look at the day, check out our Twitter story: https://storify.com/eveleigh_bm/rqms

Contact:eveleigh.buck@gmail.com

Twitter: @eveleigh_bm

 

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Re-figuring the city: A feminist walk of London’s monuments to women. By Rosie Martin and Louise Rondel.

… [T]he normative figure of leadership and especially in battle has been masculine.  Women’s inclusion into the nation has been quite specific.  Certainly, ample qualities of stone have been utilised to carve female statues of the nation.  In these, though, women predominantly feature as symbols of virtue, beauty, nurture and justice … It is men, however, who are metonymically linked to the nation.   Women feature as allegorical figures that signify the virtues of the nation.  It is men who literally represent and defend the nation.

Nirmal Puwar (2004) Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies Out of Place  

The nation’s story is told and retold in those who have been memorialised in stone, bronze and brass in its streets and squares.  London is, in part, made by these statues as well as by those who visit them, pausing to read the plaques attached to them, having their photograph taken with them or indeed passing by without noticing them.

Feminist journalist and activist Caroline Criado Perez (2016) documents that, of the 925 statues listed in the UK national database of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, ‘a mere 2.7 per cent are of historical, non-royal women’:

If you’re a woman, your best chance at becoming a statue is to be a mythical or allegorical figure, a famous virgin, royal or nude.

Googling ‘female statues in London’ and taking out those of allegorical figures or royalty – we want to visit ‘real women who have done real things’ – we find sixteen statues (and it must be noted that of these sixteen, thirteen are of white women) and design a walk that takes in eleven of them starting in Gordon Square and ending at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Violette Szabo
Special Operations Executive
Albert Embankment, SE1

Louisa Blake
Surgeon
Tavistock Square, WC2

(For practical reasons, we do not visit the statues of preacher Catherine Booth in Champion Park, SE5, a woman holding a baby as a memorial to women of the Caribbean in Stockwell Memorial Garden SW9, musician Amy Winehouse in Camden NW1, actor Sarah Siddons in Paddington Green W2 and ballerina Anna Pavlova at the Victoria Palace Theatre SW1).

Noor Inayat Khan
Allied Special Operations Executive
Gordon Square, WC1

Leaving Gordon Square where groups of people are enjoying one of the first warm spring evenings amongst the blooming flowers and budding trees, we make our way alongside commuters rushing to get to the tube station at Holborn from where we cut through Covent Garden heading towards the tourists and living statues of Trafalgar Square.

Virginia Woolf
Writer
Tavistock Square, WC2

Margaret MacDonald
Social reformer
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2

Edith Cavell
Nurse
St Martin’s Place, WC2

As we approach the tall, imposing monument to Edith Cavell, a German tourist with her son stops to ask us directions to an attraction, and we think through what we know of the area from past experiences here, and check maps on our phones in order to help her navigate accurately across Trafalgar Square and onwards. Surrounding the base of the Edith Cavell statue is a group of real women, older women wearing black and holding signs that reference the lives of women in Yemen affected by UK arms sales.  The Women in Black claim the space around Edith dramatically. As we take a photo of the statue, they ask us who we are, we reply ‘nobody’, explain our mission, then move on too.

Florence Nightingale
Nurse
Waterloo Place, W1

We walk along Whitehall and discuss the last time we were together, standing here at a rally outside Downing Street on a cold January evening to protest Trump’s ‘travel ban’.  Amongst the tourist crush, we arrive at Westminster Bridge, everyone trying to get a photo of themselves with Big Ben whilst we try to navigate around them to get to the statue Boudica, the plaque now hidden by a stand selling London souvenirs.

Boudica and her daughters
Queen of the Celtic Iceni Tribe
Westminster Bridge, SW1

We pass through Parliament Square and out to the quiet of the river.  Reaching the memorial to Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst in Westminster, we speak about the story of Emily Wilding Davison who hid in the crypt of the Houses of Parliament on the night of the 1911 census, so that she could emerge and have her address registered in the House Of Commons. She was indeed enumerated there, and died just two years later when she famously threw herself under the King’s horse.

Emmeline Pankhurst
Suffragette
Victoria Tower Gardens, SW1

Monument to Women of World War 2
Whitehall, SW1

Finally crossing Lambeth Bridge, tired, the light fading and the last few commuters cycling past us back to south of the river, we wander along Embankment reaching the end of our walk at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Mary Seacole
Nurse
St Thomas’ Hospital, SE1

Throughout the evening, we are walking at a different rhythm to those around us, our eyes are drawn elsewhere and our attention is focused on what others are oblivious to as we search for the statues, feeling elated when we find them.  We feel that we are occupying a different city to other people and through this occupation, we are making the city differently.

Rosie Martin is a writer and sewing blogger who makes simple instructions so that anyone can make their own clothes.  She takes a hackers’ approach to clothing, opening it up so the power to make it is in everyone’s hands.  She has written DIY Couture: Create Your Own Fashion Collection and No Patterns Needed: DIY Couture from Simple Shapes.  For more information see her website.

Contact: diycouture@gmail.com

Twitter: @diycouture  

Louise Rondel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.  She is interested in the relationship between bodies and cities, the beauty industry, sensory methods and feminist geographies.

Contact: l.rondel@gold.ac.uk

Twitter: @LouiseRondel

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Call for Papers: American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting (AAG) 2018, New Orleans, LA, April 10-14th 2018

Destitution Economies: Mapping Relationships of Enforced Precarity and
Migration Control

 
Session organizers: Kate Coddington (Durham University, UK), Deirdre Conlon
(University of Leeds, UK), Lauren Martin (Durham University, UK).

 
Recent and emerging work by critical geography and migration studies scholars
examines the incremental, ongoing, everyday, and seemingly banal sites and spaces
where forms of commodification, dispossession, and destitution are (re)produced in
immigration enforcement and in migration control and management. Scholarship on
migration ‘hotspots’ at Europe’s external borders and polymorphic borders (Burridge et
al. 2017; Martin and Prokkola, 2017; SocietyandSpace.org Nov 8, 2016), for example,
describes how states and power are respatialized and reconfigured to produce flexible,
surreptitious, and possibly unintended forms of control. In addition, research that goes
beyond privatization of immigration enforcement and management examines how
bureaucratized, commoditized domopolitics are embedded with the experiences of
detained migrants and asylum seekers on a daily basis (see Mountz, 2010; Darling, 2011;
Conlon and Hiemstra, 2016; Gill, 2016). Critical analyses of the intersections between
(humanitarian) care and control also explore how precarious, insecure, or clandestine
forms of subsistence for destitute asylum seekers as well as other irregular migrants
have become increasingly commonplace (Martin, 2015; Coddington, 2017; Lewis et al.
2015; Williams and Massaro, 2016; Mayblin, 2017).

 
Fundamental to this work is attention to political economies alongside a feminist
political geographical focus on the everyday workings of states and other agents and
institutions of power. Within this framework, economies are understood to incorporate
and also to exceed more traditional approaches to political economy. Here, economies
are taken to be about production and exchange; yet, simultaneously they are linked to
social, cultural, intersectional, and intimate relationships that manifest in uneven and
complicated ways (see Gilmore, 2007; Wilson, 2012; Pratt and Rosner, 2012; Katz,
2015). This work is also attentive to the slow violence (see Nixon, 2011; Pain, 2014;
Cahill et al. forthcoming) of current policy and practice in immigration enforcement and
control. Work on the reproduction of precariousness through immigration enforcement
therefore highlights the everyday, continual, staggered, and oft-invisible iterations of
structural violence that irregular migrants and other marginalized groups encounter
relentlessly in their day-to-day lives. We identify the production of ‘destitution
economies,’ the sites, spaces and practices where precarity and slow violence are
(re)produced and enacted for irregular migrants, as a key element of life for irregular
migrants today.

 
This paper session aims to build upon these urgent concerns and emergent research
contributions by bringing together political economic, feminist geographic, and
interdisciplinary work on sites, spaces and practices where (irregular) migration and
destitution economies converge. We invite submissions from those thinking about
destitution economies and/or engaged in related research and activism. Possible
themes may address (but are not limited to) these questions:

 
– Where do destitution economies take shape? How might they be identified,
mapped, and accounted for?

 
– How, precisely, do destitution economies work? How do forms of migration
management rely on destitution economies and also help to produce them?
How are they configured? What are their logics and/or limits?

 
– Who is involved in operating destitution economies? What roles do different
state / non-state agencies and actors play? What is gained (or lost) with their
involvement?

 
– What are the short term and longer-term effects and impacts of destitution
economies vis-à-vis migrant everyday life, migration management/control, and
for critical conceptions of the same?

 
– What methodological challenges and opportunities are presented by ‘destitution
economies’?

 
– How are / might critical researchers and migrant support activists/advocates
work (together) to challenge or disrupt the slow, incremental, and frequently
invisible violence that destitution economies effect?

 
Please send title and abstract of no more than 250 words by Friday October 20th 2017.
Abstracts and inquiries should be sent to: Deirdre Conlon d.conlon@leeds.ac.uk
and Kate Coddington kate.coddington@durham.ac.uk

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I am new to this but it’s OK. By Katie Brailsford

In July, the GFGRG co-sponsored the ‘Reflecting on Qualitative Research Methods’ workshop.  In this post one of the participants reflects on her experience of the day.

Friday 21st July marked my first experience of a RGS-IBG Reflecting on Qualitative Research Methods Day and what a brilliant day it was.  The day started with networking over a well-deserved cup of tea after travelling to the RGS-IBG London headquarters.  I have to admit it is easy to feel daunted approaching a building of such stature, but I soon felt welcome as the session began with an introduction to the day and an explanation of some of the key RGS-IBG research groups, see here for information regarding RGS-IBG postgraduate fellowship.

The session that followed was a key note by none other than Professor Gillian Rose, a key figure in the world of geography. Professor Rose led a key note entitled “A cultural geographer in digital times: doing qualitative methods differently.” This is an area of research that was completely new to me and it was fascinating to hear the methods and techniques Professor Rose used to integrate the analysis of images from twitter into the heart of her research project. As a qualitative researcher who has stuck firmly to the world of interviews, Professor Rose opened my eyes and the question and answer session afterwards also helped me see that as researchers our skills are constantly developing and adapting to the changing world around us. For more information on Professor Rose’s work please click here.

After a tasty lunch and a chance to talk more the afternoon sessions began. This is where my trepidation went up a notch. I can now admit I don’t actually start my PHD until October, what was I going to bring to an interactive session on qualitative methods? There was no need to worry what followed was a superb session led by Eveleigh Buck- Matthews practising free writing, imagined maps and body mapping. Free writing is exactly what it says on the tin: you time yourself for a minute and just write.  This was centred around three themes: the first, how would we feel as our participant? We had one minute to just write whatever came into our heads if we got stuck we just repeated the last word. The next round involved thinking of the tactile qualities of our research what did it feel like as an object and as a sensory experience? For this again we had a minute just to write. For the final round, Eveleigh was generous and gave us two minutes to write how we felt about our research. This was a very liberating experience as there was no right or wrong and there is something very satisfying about getting words onto paper. I feel this technique will come into its own when writer’s block hits allowing progress to still be made. For the second half of this workshop I focussed on creating an imagined map of my project, allowing me to create an image on the current status of my master’s project and map ideas for my upcoming PHD. Eveleigh also explained the practical use of imagined maps for research and how they can be a powerful tool to aid discussions around a particular topic.

The last session of the day was centred around reflexivity where Heather Jeffrey took us through an activity based on other research projects challenging us to talk in small groups stating our opinion on the situation and what we would have done differently. The catch, we were not allowed to comment on anybody else’s opinion allowing us to gain confidence in the validity of our own voice.

Overall the whole day was six hours long but I think it is one of the best six hours I have spent in terms of progression in my thinking surrounding use of different methods. I titled this piece ‘I am new to this but its OK’ because as I left the RGS-IBG that day this is how I felt, after discussion with my peers and a brilliant day of activities I knew that any imposter syndrome feelings I had were just that, feelings, and I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome. So I would recommend all masters or early stage researchers to tackle the imposter syndrome straight on and attend events like the RGS-IBG Reflecting on Qualitative Methods workshop. Sometimes the world of research can be isolating but there are opportunities out there to come together and help each other, so take that leap of faith!

Thank you Eveleigh Buck- Matthews, Heather Jeffrey, Dan Casey, Professor Gillian Rose and all those at the RGS-IBG that supported this event.

Katie Brailsford is based at the University of Portsmouth.

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Arguing for Planning from a Gender Perspective. By Gaurav Sikka

Involving both men and women at all levels of development planning, implementation and evaluation will make a world of difference in the entire society by carrying out social change through development interventions. Such planning processes ensure women to be a social resource and treat them as partners in development. This argument presents a robust underpinning for the Gender and Development (GAD) approach. GAD focuses not on women per se but on gender relations i.e. the relations between men and women in diverse settings. GAD approach considers women as active agents and not passive recipients of development.

Planners must have the significant task of listening to both men and women and then to build their vision into planning strategies. A sense needs to prevail that planning is more than just a technical and mechanical exercise. The policymakers may set the planning agenda but it is the planners’ perspective which influences the levels of ardour to fulfil the policymakers’ wish. In fact, the planners are front-line agents of the state’s development intervention. Therefore, they are not merely technical experts but also political actors in the development process.

Since women are affectively attached to the welfare of the household, they are more aware than men about the needs for infrastructure and services for their household. They are also more committed to the success of the projects that improves living conditions, therefore, women’s participation is a means to improve project results (Young, 1997).

Moreover, in 1997 the gender mainstreaming adopted by UN as a global strategy which was based upon the Beijing Platform for Action, has also incorporated many gender planning concepts (Moser, 2014). Gender planning attempts to bridge the gap between theory, practice and gender planning, its prin­ciples and practices are still relevant today. Furthermore, gender planning contributes to the continuous demand for practitioner-focused gender frameworks to create awareness among new generations, as well as providing associated tools for policy, planning and project formulation and implementation.

Good Practice

A case study of Song Bong 4 Hydropower project in Vietnam can be mentioned as a good practice of planning from a gender perspective. The resettlement plan of the project has ensured the equal participation of women at all stages. Women’s voices were heard and agreement was reached in resettlement consultations, women’s role in site selection, women’s contribution in design and management of infrastructure at sites were some of the pioneering features of gender inclusive approach adopted by these authorities.  The intrinsic value of women’s participation for both women themselves and their communities is reflected in the fact that women are continuing to meet on a regular basis even after their villages have been fully relocated (ADB, 2014). These meetings are avenues to discuss issues ranging from private to community matters at the resettlement sites. Gender-related benefits in resettlement have also emerged in this project. Women have equal entitlement to compensation like joint titles in the name of both husband and wife, the same individual rights have been guaranteed for households headed by a single man or a single woman and the practice of paying cash compensation to both husbands and wives equally, transparently and publicly. Besides, women have direct channels of grievance redressal, women enjoy improved mobility, access to services like healthcare and maximum opportunities to develop skills and capacity of affected women.

Further Readings:

Asian Development Bank, “Navigating Gender Inclusive Resettlement: The Experience of the Song Bong 4 Hydropower Project in Vietnam”, Manila: Asian Development Bank, 2014

Moser, C.O.N., “Gender Planning and Development: Revisiting, Deconstructing and Reflecting”, DPU Working Paper Series: Reflections, No. 165/60, London: Development Planning Unit, University College London, 2014

Moser, C.O.N., Gender Planning and Development, London: Routledge, 1993

Young, K., “ Gender and Development”, in The Women, Gender & Development Reader edited by Nalini Vivanathan et.al., 51-54, New Delhi: Zubaan- An Imprint of Kali for Women, 1997

Young, K., “ Planning from a Gender Perspective”, in  The Women, Gender & Development Reader edited by Nalini Vivanathan et.al., 366-374, New Delhi: Zubaan- An Imprint of Kali for Women, 1997

Gaurav Sikka is a PhD Research Scholar at Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi (India). He holds positions on the steering committee of International Geographical Union Task Force for Young and Early Career Geographers and the executive committee of the Royal Geographical Society Gender & Feminist Geographies Research Group. Presently, Gaurav teaches at the Department of Geography, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, University of Delhi.

Contact: gauravsikkageo@gmail.com

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GFGRG Networking Event – Wednesday 30th August at the RGS-IBG Conference

You are warmly invited to join us for a networking lunch at this year’s RGS-IBG Annual Conference.

The lunch sponsored by the GFGRG will take place on Wednesday lunchtime in the Tea Room.

Grab your packed lunch and join us in the tearoom for a lunchtime of networking. This year the GFGRG will be conducting appreciative inquiry to collate good practice in academia. Everyone is welcome at any stage or level of geography, it won’t take long, it won’t be difficult and you’ll come away with some sound advice on how to survive academia.

If you have any questions, please contact Eve – eveleigh.buck@gmail.com or if you can’t make the event and wish to receive feedback from the day please make contact and we will put you on the mailing list.

We look forward to seeing you in September,

GFGRG.

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Book Launch – Thursday 31st August

The GFGRG is excited to be hosting the launch of Erin Sanders-McDonagh’s monograph Women and Sex Tourism Landscapes during the RGS-IBG’s Annual International Conference.

Woman and Sex Tourism Landscapes focuses on the ways in which women interact with and explore sexual spaces in two specific touristic contexts – Amsterdam and
Thailand. Ethnographic data collected in both countries suggests that far from being male-centered spaces, the red light districts and associated sexual entertainment venues
are very much open to female tourists. The author argues that some women are indeed interested in exploring sexualized zones challenging assumptions about women’s
involvements with sexual space. By exploring these spaces with geography as a theoretical starting point, this analysis brings a new angle to understanding these types of sexual
zones, with a feminist edge.

All are invited to join us for the book launch which will take place on Wednesday 31st August at 18.45 in the RGS-IBG Drayson Room.

 

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GFGRG at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017

We are delighted to be sponsoring a number of different panels, networking events and book launches at this year’s RGS-IBG Annual International Conference.

Below are the dates, times and places of each of our sessions.  Please click on the links for more details of each session:

Wednesday 30th August

Session 1 – 9-10.40

The Costs of Decolonizing the Discipline (1) (Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Lecture Theatre G34)

Transformative Stories: Trauma, Therapeutic Geographies and Hope (Sherfield/SALC Building, Room 5)

Session 2 – 11.10-12.50

The Costs of Decolonizing the Discipline (2) (Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Lecture Theatre G34)

Plenary and lunch – 13.10-14.25

GFGRG mentoring and networking session (RGS-IBG Tea Room)

This lunch time session will provide a space for GFGRG members and non-members to meet and network during the conference. The session is to promote mentoring within the research group, enabling postgraduates and early career researchers to access advice and guidance from more experienced members.

Session 3 – 14.40-16.20

Home futures: towards a critical feminist geography of housing, ageing and health (1) (Skempton Building, Lecture Theatre 201)

Rethinking decolonial and postcolonial knowledges beyond regions (1) (Sherfield/SALC Building, Pippard Lecture Theatre)

Session 4 – 16.50-18.30

Home futures: towards a critical feminist geography of housing, ageing and health (2) (Skempton Building, Lecture Theatre 201)

Rethinking decolonial and postcolonial knowledges beyond regions (2) (Sherfield/SALC Building, Pippard Lecture Theatre)

Evening

GFGRG Dinner at Thai Square

Thursday 31st August

Session 1 – 9-10.40

Innovative Research within Gender & Feminist Geography (1) (Skempton Building, Room 064a)

Session 2 – 11.10-12.50

Innovative Research within Gender & Feminist Geography (2) (Skempton Building, Room 064a)

Plenary and lunch – 13.10-14.25

GFGRG AGM (Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Room 120)

We are looking to fill the following posts:

Secretary (1): This key role takes the form of organising and minuting of meetings and other GFGRG activities. This role also involves being an active member of our committee attending 3-4 committee meetings a year (usually via Skype) and helping with any other activities/events that GFGRG organises. Preference may be given to RGS-IBG members.This post is for three years.

Membership Secretary (1): We are looking for someone to handle membership promotion, enquiries and sign ups/renewals. This role also involves being an active member of our committee attending 3-4 committee meetings a year (usually via Skype) and helping with any other activities/events that GFGRG organises. Preference may be given to RGS-IBG members.This post is for three years.

Dissertation Prize Co-ordinators (2): This role involves co-organising and co-running our annual undergraduate dissertation prize and being an active member of our committee (see above). We are looking for two people to work alongside our one continuing dissertation prize coordinator. Typical duties include writing to sponsors, managing the assessment of the entries, marketing the prize and communicating with entrants. Preference may be given to members of RGS-IBG. This post is for three years.

Postgraduate members (2): We are looking for two postgraduates to be on our committee to represent postgraduate needs and concerns, to initiate GFGRG events for postgraduates, be an active member of our committee (see above) and to also organise and lead the GFGRG postgraduate sessions at the annual RGS-IBG conference. Preference may be given to RGS-IBG members. This post is for one year.

Ordinary members (up to 2): We are looking for people to join our committee who do not have a designated role, but play an active role in the committee (see above) and help with organising/running our various activities and events. Preference may be given to RGS-IBG members. This post is for three years.

Expressions of interest in the above posts can be given up until the start of the AGM either in person to myself or via email (katherine.brickell@rhul.ac.uk). If you are not able to attend our AGM but you would like to stand for one of the above posts, please email me a short paragraph outlining which position you are interested in and what experience/skills you have that you think would be useful for the post.

Session 3 – 14.40-16.20

Que(e)rying Gender, Tourism and Mobilities (1) (Skempton Building, Room 064a)

Session 4 – 16.50-18.30

Que(e)rying Gender, Tourism and Mobilities (2) (Skempton Building, Room 064a)

Evening – 18.45-20.00

Monograph Launch: Women and Sex Tourism Landscapes  by Erin Sanders-McDonagh (RGS-IBG Drayson Room)

Friday 1st September

Session 1 – 9-10.40

Geographies of Safe Space (1): Spaces of embodiment, identity and education (Skempton Building, Lecture Theatre 207)

Session 2 – 11.10-12.50

Geographies of Safe Space (2): Spaces of refuge, shelter and contact (Skempton Building, Lecture Theatre 207)

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GFGRG Dinner – Wednesday 30th August

A reminder that this year the meal for the GFGRG will will be held on Wednesday 30th August at Thai Square, 19 Exhibition Road, South Kensington.  Please sign up via this link by August 14th including what you would like to eat and the total price.

Members and potential members, all welcome.

This is a great opportunity to meet and socialise with other members of the research group and find out more about our areas of interest and activities.

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A Brief Introduction to the Feminist Archive South. By Maria Fannin

The University of Bristol holds a unique collection of materials related to feminist and women’s liberation movements in the UK. The Feminist Archive South is based in the University’s Special Collections department where I have been working with a trustee of the archive, D-M Withers, to put together a teaching resource for lecturers who want to include materials from the archive in their teaching. The archive was established primarily through the work of activists who contributed their personal collections and by the acquisition of materials by feminist archivists on a vast array of topics. Most of the materials date from the period 1960-2000 and include everything from books, magazines, posters and personal letters to vinyl records, clothing, badges and other ephemera.

image(Photo credit: D-M Withers, 2017)

The collection was catalogued using the indexing system of the European Women’s Thesaurus. In archivists’ terms, a thesaurus provides a list of terms used to classify or index and locate information in libraries. As Tilly Vriend writes, the major classification systems such as the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems are not neutral tools for organising and classifying information and materials, but reflect the particular presumptions of their creators and are the products of social and political forces. The Universal Decimal System has the more well-known examples of how sexism shapes the practices of indexing: in this system, “the term Women could be found under the category Morals and Customs, Menstruation under Medicine, and Lesbian women under categories such as Psychopaths and Hysterics” (Vriend 2009: 3). The European Women’s Thesaurus and its precursor, the Dutch Women’s Thesaurus, sought to explicitly reject these tendencies and generate new categories.

FAS Periodicals(Photo credit: D-M Withers, 2017)

The archive thus marks the important role that women’s libraries played as sources of information in an analogue age. In the heterogeneous array of materials brought together in the archive, we are also witness to the historical and geographical ‘event’ of bringing new kinds of political subjects into being. The archive contains the papers of several Bristol-based feminist activists, some of whom authored Half the Sky, one of the first British women’s and gender studies readers, published by Virago in 1979 and aimed at providing a resource for adult education courses in women’s studies. It holds print runs of magazines such as Mukti and FOWAAD written and published by black and Asian feminists in the UK to address sexism, racism and imperialism. There is material related to Greenham Common, guides for the volunteer pregnancy testers holding free pregnancy test clinics in an era before home testing, and so much more. My attention is drawn to the many materials related to ‘being a body’, including testimonials from the late 1970s of experiences of menstruation and volumes of leaflets and essays on feminist concerns over health and technology. Materials on birth, contraception, abortion, menopause, HIV/AIDS, drug use and cervical cancer are there, as well as organizational materials related to disability support groups, to the establishment of Well Women centres around the UK and to efforts to connect transnational feminist health activists with each other. And there is an intriguing account of architectural plans for feminist antenatal waiting rooms in the NHS!

The archive is in need of extensive cataloguing, so in addition to generating examples of how material in the archive can be used for teaching, we hope to secure resources to help carry out this important work. Our aim is to also incorporate collective annotation in the next phase of the archive’s life as a digital resource in which readers in the archive provide their own descriptions of materials in the catalogue to be shared with others.  This corresponds to the collective and revolutionary spirit that animated the feminist archive at its inception – to preserve and sustain alternative sources of knowledge and experience. In this way, we are exploring how theories of digital culture (Withers 2015) and the ‘social scientist in the archive’ (Moore et al. 2016) can contribute to making the archive a community and communal resource for educators, researchers and activists. D-M and I will be presenting our work in and on the Feminist Archive South at a workshop on ‘Making School in the Age of the Screen’ at Liverpool Hope University on the 26-27 May 2017 and at a public exhibition as part of the University of Bristol’s Brigstow Institute on the 23-24 October 2017.  If you’re in Bristol, you can visit the archive by contacting the wonderful Special Collections librarians or come to one of our upcoming ‘Collective Annotation’ workshops in June and July 2017. And do get in touch if you want to know more!

Dr Maria Fannin is from the School of Geographical Studies at the University of Bristol.

Contact: m.fannin@bristol.ac.uk

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