Whew, with LGBT History Month and International Women’s Day out of the way, I feel like I finally have some breathing room.
13th February 2018: University of Bristol and UoB SU’s ‘Making History: LGBT+ Activism’ panel: I was invited to sit on a panel discussing LGBTQ+ activism (alongside the lovely Nik Jovčić-Sas and Dylan Woodward). The event was a great experience, and the students were very switched on with their questions – some of the things asked got me really thinking and talking, particularly the ones relating to my loss of faith and my campaigning.
15th February 2018: How Can I Help? The 101 Guide to Being an LGBTQ+ Ally: Well, this one certainly turned out as a surprise! Sadly, Dominic Arnall from Stonewall was unwell on the day of the workshop and unable to make it – however, he encouraged me to step in at the 11th hour and deliver it myself! So, alongside the amazing Danny Whitebread (Bath Spa SU Activites) I delivered a 2 hour workshop which I had exactly 1.5 hours of rehearsal for – to a room which included the Vice Chancellor of the University!
What did I learn? Firstly, that I know a lot more about the subject of LGBTQ+ activism and allyship than I give myself credit for. I was able to answer with ease the questions from the audience about tangentially-related issues. Secondly, that I bloody love delivering workshops. Who knew?! Certainly not me. I think I’d been lumping them in the same pile as giving talks (which I don’t particularly enjoy) and it took being pushed to do a workshop in an area I was intensely familiar with to see how much fun I could actually have.
So, maybe I should start putting together a series of workshops to deliver? I’m thinking ‘Grassroots Activism’ and ‘Self Care’?
HUGE thank you to Danny for joining me, and to Dominic for having faith in my abilities to take over the workshop at short notice (as well as the affirming chat afterwards!).
21st February 2018: Stuart Milk at Bath Guildhall: Bath Council’s Kate Murphy, along with my amazing friend Cheryl Morgan, 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.
I was thrilled to be invited to the official Reception before the main event, where I had the chance to catch up with some of Bath’s finest activists and campaigners, and then go along to the event itself. Stuart’s talk had me in tears at multiple occasions, and I would encourage anyone who ever has the chance to hear this remarkable man speak to do so.
23rd February 2018: From Academia to Activism: Bringing Queer Theory into the Real World: Part of the series of events I organised for LGBT History Month. LGBTQ+ activist and video blogger (and now good friend) Nik Jovčić-Sas spoke 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. Go Nik!
27th February 2018: The Vision of Empowerment – Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny: Alas, I had to leave London a day early due to the snow and had to miss out on this lecture at the LSE by the ineffable Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser.
However, the exciting news is that I did manage to grab a drink with Sarah, who is a renowned academic in exactly my areas of research, such as feminist theory and activism, and who is going to be taking over as Head of Department at my old department at the LSE in Summer (can you see where this is going?).
We got on smashingly (after I got over my fangirling) and she has agreed to be my future PhD supervisor if I decide to apply to LSE. I am over the bloody moon.
27th February 2018: WHEN (Women in Higher Education Network): Earlier in Feb I received a message from one of the coordinators of a new HE women’s network, asking if I’d be interested in getting involved. Well, of course I would! So I wrote an article on the importance of intersectionality as a foundation. WHEN (here’s the website) write about themselves:
WHEN is the first and only network for all women who work in higher education. We are all different, but we share a unique set of challenges. WHEN recognises and celebrates our differences, bringing women together to build connections, share stories, exchange ideas and to learn from and with peers from across the whole sector. Whatever your role and story, if you are a woman and you work in higher education then we are stronger together.
28th February 2018: Writers, If Your Past Isn’t Queer It Isn’t Realistic: Part of the series of events I 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.
The event was incredibly well-received, with students even asking if it could be added to the Creative Writing syllabus. I also learnt SO MUCH about sodomy (never thought I’d be able to say that about an event at work!).
5th March 2018: Featured in SPACE Magazine: I was chuffed to be given a double page spread (!) in SPACE Magazine, where I was able to talk about the equality work I’m currently doing at BSU.
8th March 2018: International Women’s Day: I organised a number of events to celebrate IWD 2018 at BSU: an Imposter Syndrome Workshop, an Influencing Skills Workshop, a lunchtime talk from the Rev Jan Knott, and an all-day stall in the Students’ Union – as well as by a certain Equality Officer running around campus at 7:30 am putting up banners, balloons and bunting!
Tickets sold out for both workshops in under two days, and turnout was fantastic. Thanks to everyone involved, from speakers and attendees through to the bath Spa Uni Schools who provided funding.
15th March 2018: Crazywise Community Screening: I am working with the amazing Nicky Hayward (who is doing 99% of the organising!), as well as Virgin Wellbeing, on this event. Photojournalist, human rights commentator & film maker PHIL BORGES, director of 2017 documentary CRAZYWISE, comes to Bath Spa University on Thursday 15th March from 7:30 – 10:30 pm(ish!) for a Community Screening of the film, Director’s Q & A Session and an optional extended informal discussion/networking opportunity from 10:15 onwards. Find out more here.
16th March 2018: Queers and Beers The Social: Part of the series of events I organised for LGBT History Month, but this one had to be rescheduled due to the snow. 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.
21st March 2018: Joint Equality Forum: The University of Bath Equality and Diversity Team and Bath Spa University, will host the annual Joint Equality Forum on Wednesday 21st March 2018. We are delighted to announce our guest speaker, the outstanding, award-winning stand-up comedian: Francesca Martinez. This event is open to University of Bath and Bath Spa University staff and students.
Ongoing: Recharge and Resist: If you’re not yet following my latest campaigning project, Recharge and Resist, now’s the time to start!
Ongoing: PhD Planning & Application: I’d really appreciate advice from those going through PhDs/who have completed a PhD – particularly those who got ESRC funding!