This funded Interdisciplinary event was organised by Sofia Doyle, Marion Greziller, Louise Wylie (Politics) and Abigail Bleach and Tania Shew (English), University of Manchester.
The event was a one day conference and activism day on International Women’s Day 8th March 2019, titled ‘Studying Gender in the Wake of #MeToo’. The event brought together activists, PhD students, early career researchers and members of the public to discuss issues pertinent to gender and the academy. The event included a roundtable on Women’s Experiences in Academia, and two panel sessions entitled ‘Resisting Institutional Violence’ and ‘Research and Activism Across Europe’. After these sessions, the day concluded with a feminist zine making workshop run by a local feminist activist and zine making specialist, where we explored alternative ways to represent our research and personal experiences of gender, the university, and the #MeToo movement.
A wide range of disciplines, and approaches to the study of gender and academy were represented, as well as a range of Higher Education institutions. In regards to those who spoke on panels and at the roundtable, the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol were represented as well as a local activist organisation. The disciplinary backgrounds of academic speakers included those from Politics, Anthropology, and International Political Economy. On the whole, ECR and PhD researchers were mainly represented, however a Professor of Politics at Manchester (Prof. Georgina Waylen) was invited to speak at our roundtable on experiences in academia in order to give the session a range of perspectives across academic stages, from PhD to Professor. Alongside this, the methodological approaches of our speakers varied, encompassing qualitative, quantitative, and a diverse range of different theoretically oriented approaches to studying gender / feminisms within the university in the context of #MeToo. Our zine workshop also allowed us to explore the practice of zine making as an alternative methodological approach to the study and understanding of gender/feminisms and #MeToo. Amongst attendees, an even wider range of institutions were present, with attendees from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, a visiting scholar from the University of Kassel (Germany) as well as members of the general public and two local feminist activists.
Twitter, Facebook and Eventbrite were used to publicise the event. Facebook and twitter were found to be very helpful resources to reach a range of institutions as well as disciplines. The Facebook event, for example, enabled us to reach members of the public as well as those affiliated to many universities, through people ‘sharing’ the event and its accompanying Eventbrite page. In regards to the use of twitter, our tweets were retweeted by academics, PhD students and research groups across disciplines at the University of Sheffield, the University of York, University of Bristol, University of Manchester, University College Dublin, University of Exeter and the University of Leeds.
Emails were also sent to the Manchester PGR and MA lists within the social sciences, and to all Politics Research Cluster email lists. All members within the University of Manchester Social Sciences Women’s Collective group were contacted via email, which includes members from the following disciplines: Politics, Anthropology, and Sociology. Emails were also sent round to multiple disciplinary subject lists at the University of Sheffield, as well as between research groups within the Politics/Social Sciences.
As well as this, printed posters were put up across the University of Manchester (i.e departmental areas/buildings, libraries etc)
Feedback on the event has been predominantly verbal (with some written email feedback), and has been very positive from all speakers and attendees, particularly on the range of perspectives covered and the dynamic and enjoyable discussions had. We are also hoping to create a special issue of the Manchester Politics Graduate Journal from the event.
For information on how to apply for NWSSDTP funding to run your own Interdisciplinary Event, please visit https://nwssdtp.ac.uk/current-students/interdisciplinary-events/