Happy LGBT History Month! We’re approaching the middle of February, and so it seems like a good time to let you all know what I’m up to.
26th January 2018: Meeting with Bath Welcomes Refugees / Julian House: As part of my new job, I’m eager to make sure I’m doing my bit so that the University and the local community are working together to tackle whatever issues Bath might face. This meeting looked at how BSU can support the incredible work being done by BWR/Julian House in relation to the (predominantly) Syrian refugee families within our midst.
I left with a number of actions and ideas, including a community ‘cultural feast’ event, looking at whether we can extend BSU’s student refugee initiative (which already waives tuition fees in some cases) to including supporting living costs, and the promise that BSU would be able to provide an evening space for an upcoming General Meeting.
1st February 2018 (daytime): Time To Talk Day: This annual day, set up by Time To Change, encourages us to all be a little more open about mental health – to talk and to listen. Myself and Joe Simmonds (Bath Spa SU) had been planning some activities for a couple of weeks, and the day went smoothly.
After determinedly plonking myself down in the SU, I spoke to numerous students and staff members about mental health and their time at university, as well as taking part in some ice breakers – from conversational prompts, through to crafts and even a temporary tattoo! The day is a small drop in an ocean of work that needs to be done, but I think it’s a helpful tool for starting discussions.
1st February 2018 (evening): Off The Record Stakeholder Event: I was invited by one of my favourite organisations ever (Off The Record BaNES) to attend an evening of refreshments, LGBT+ History month craft activities, the launching of various documents young people have worked on and chances to feedback about experiences of the service. It was a great evening, with great people, and I even managed to have some fun with a gender unicorn:
February 2018 (whole month): LGBT History Month: I’ve had tremendous fun (and tremendous stress in some places!) putting together Bath Spa University’s first ever LGBT History Month programme, and it’s a doozey. All events are open to staff, students, and the public – so come along if you can!
You can grab your free tickets here: http://bit.ly/LGBTHM2018
I hope to be doing more of an in-depth write up for each event as they happen, but bear with me as it’s a bit of a hectic time at the moment (as I’m sure you can guess!).
5th – 11th February 2018 : LGBT History Month: Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week / #ItsNotOk #NeverOK Campaign: Despite the recent news trends, it remains apparent that we don’t talk about sexual abuse enough. This awareness week was established to give an opportunity for the general public, statutory and third sector organisations to participate in a discussion about sexual abuse and sexual violence.
Events have been happening nationally, but on my end of things I have been working with the University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Bath Spa SU and the local community to promote a local initiative (set up by Bath Uni) called #NeverOK. At the start of the week we launched a student survey so that we might understand more about students’ direct experiences of sexual harassment and assault.
We also held an awareness stall on Wednesday (7th Feb) where we were handing out badges, busting rape myths, talking to the community about their perceptions and experiences of the issue, as well as asking them if they’d like to make a pledge to help tackle it. Shout out to my amazing colleagues Sara, Danny and Emma for all their hard work and enthusiasm on this!
6th February 2018: #100Years #Suffrage100 Celebrating 100 Years Since Some Women Got the Vote: I didn’t have anything official planned for the day (International Women’s Day is coming up, and that’s taking up a lot of my time right now!) but I did a little tweeting:
8th February 2018: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Calendar: I think the below banner probably tells you enough! If you use Google calendar, please do feel free to add it to your repertoire.
13th February 2018: University of Bristol and UoB SU’s ‘Making History: LGBT+ Activism‘ panel: I have been invited to sit on a panel discussing LGBTQ+ activism – more info incoming about that, but I believe it’s only open to Bristol Uni staff and students.
15th February 2018: How Can I Help? The 101 Guide to Being an LGBTQ+ Ally: Part of the series of events I’ve organised for LGBT History Month. Dominic Arnall (Stonewall Head of Projects and Programmes) gives non-LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ individuals alike the opportunity to explore what it means to be an ally. You can book your free ticket here: http://bit.ly/LGBTHM2018
21st February 2018: Stuart Milk at bath Guildhall: Bath Council, along with my amazing friends Cheryl Morgan and Ellen Edenbrow, have organised an evening with Stuart Milk – an international human rights activist and youth advocate and nephew of the former San Francisco mayor and civil rights activist, Harvey Milk.
27th February 2018: The Vision of Empowerment – Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny: Super excited to be attending this lecture at the LSE by the ineffable Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser. Get in touch if you’re thinking of going too and let’s have a glass of wine.
23rd February 2018: From Academia to Activism: Bringing Queer Theory into the Real World: Part of the series of events I’ve organised for LGBT History Month. LGBTQ+ activist and video blogger Nik Jovčić-Sas speaks about his work in the UK and Eastern Europe, and the importance of taking his student activist experiences outside of university, to make the world a more LGBTQ+ tolerant place. You can book your free ticket here: http://bit.ly/LGBTHM2018
28th February 2018: Writers, If Your Past Isn’t Queer It Isn’t Realistic: Part of the series of events I’ve organised for LGBT History Month. Run by my aforementioned friend Cheryl Morgan, who is an award-winning editor and runs her own publishing company, as well as being a Director of The Diversity Trust.
2nd March 2018: Queers and Beers The Social: Part of the series of events I’ve organised for LGBT History Month. To finish off LGBT History Month in style, come and have a drink (soft or alcoholic!) with members of the local LGBTQ+ Bath community. Everyone welcome. Find out more here.
8th March 2018: International Women’s Day: It’s coming up to that time again! I’m working with the newly-created BSU Women’s Leadership Network and our Dean of Education to make sure there’s plenty happening this March 8th.
Ongoing: Recharge and Resist: If you’re not yet following my latest campaigning project, Recharge and Resist, now’s the time to start!