The 2020 ATGENDER Spring Conference will explore the possibilities for and necessity of embedding care in policy and activism.
Our conference has sadly been cancelled due to Covid-19 but our keynote speakers have agreed to offer live online sessions, which we will host here. This website will also connect participants and host resources.
Audre Lorde demands we recognise the political power and revolutionary potential of care and caring. Reflecting on Lorde's defence of self-care, Sara Ahmed (2014) considers the privilege of being cared for and the necessity of self-care for those who are not: ‘Some have to look after themselves because they are not looked after: their being is not cared for, supported, protected.’ Care, being cared for, caring about and self-care, are necessary political acts and therefore are imbued with power relations (Toronto, 2010). Burton and Turbine, 2019 argue that ‘care is, most of all, a constant vigilance as to your power and how you wield this’.
The absence of care operates across lines of privilege and inequality. This is demonstrated, to take an example, by the uneven effects of the UK government’s withdrawal of care during almost 10 years of austerity measures. UK austerity measures have cemented a lack of care in government policy and a state withdrawal of the provision of and responsibility for care. Austerity measures across Europe have had similar effects. Bassel and Emejulu (2018 and 2017) argue for the role of care as a radical means of solidarity and survival in minority women’s activism against the cuts. Overall, there needs to be more attention given to the diversity of care (Bartos, 2018 and Raghuram, 2016) and understanding of it in a transnational context (Naire et al., 2017).
This conference seeks to explore care and caring in all its diversity and invites participants to reflect on the devastating consequences of an uncaring state (across a range of time and places), and the vital work of activism and policy that centres care.
ATGENDER, The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation, is a broad association for academics, practitioners, activists and institutions in the field of Women’s, Gender, Transgender, Sexuality, and Queer studies, feminist research, women’s, sexual and LGBTQI rights, equality, and diversity.
Jumoke is a Nigerian-born British woman who wants to travel and eat her way around the world. Having contracted polio at a young age, Jumoke has learned to adapt to her surroundings and making the most out of every opportunity. She is half of the Triple Cripples, is fluent in two languages and currently working on her third. When not speaking struggling Spanish, she can be found delighting Kym and others with her rather unique idiosyncrasies. A writer & speaker (Guardian, Black Ballad, University of Oxford, Sussex Police), Jumoke refers to herself as a lazy travel blogger (Jay on Life), as she is a much better traveller than blogger. While the world is nowhere near as accessible as it should be, and at times people are not accommodating, Jumoke makes her way around with a leg brace, crutches and a cutting remark here and there.
Shareefa is a spoken word poet, writer, workshop facilitator and mentor. Her work addresses themes of belonging, mental health, intuition and self-esteem, political awareness, colonialism and injustice. She was awarded with the UK Entertainment Best Poet 2017 Award and nominated for the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture & Theatre award by the Arts Council in 2019. She released her spoken word neo-soul jazz EP 'Reasoning with Self' in 2015. Her debut poetry collection – Galaxy Walk - was published by Burning Eye Books in November 2019. Her poetry has featured on BBC The One Show, Channel 4 and ITV.
Erika is an artist and activist whose work ‘documents stories, news, events, journeys and random ideas in pictorial form’. Erika will present her ‘Postcard from Prison Diary’ work that documents her experience of being in HMP Holloway and her experience of the prison’s closure. Erika will be illustrating the zoom events, creating a memorable and lively record of our conversations.
Mandy is the founder of Treasures Foundation, a charity that supports women leaving prison. Founded on a premise of care, Treasures supports women at every stage of their journey, providing social, financial and legal support. As well as accommodation, they provide training and employment and peer support and a range of psychosocial support. Mandy will speak on the vital need for providing care and support to women leaving prison.
Kym is “…An unapologetically Black, African AND Caribbean, British, Disabled, Woman with a wheelchair-ish case of Multiple Sclerosis…". Kym, is dedicated to illuminating her ‘lived experience’ with a long-term condition - examining its psychological, emotional, practical, social, cultural, structural and interpersonal effects. She is a Writer (gal-dem), Speaker (WOW Festival, LSE), Expert Lecturer (University of Oxford, KCL), Sex & Dating aficionado (Inner Hoe Uprising, Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy), ‘Peer-reviewed Vegan Food Critic’, Professional Cackler and the 'Official Goddess’ for the TRIPLE CRIPPLES (BBC, Metro) - a platform dedicated to highlighting the narratives and increasing the visibility of People of Colour, living with Disability. A deep lover of Anime and a UX design student, Kym (allegedly) spends umpteen hours staring at a screen talking to herself, like she has an audience. Ironically, she also happens to be a qualified Personal Trainer and Integrative Health Coach, who spends most of her days lying in bed, feeling poorly and promising herself that “tomorrow” will be the day that she eats better & goes to the gym...
Jalé is sociology BA third year student. She has recently been researching the impact of invisible disabilities on the transition to adulthood. As a young woman who was diagnosed with a lifelong chronic illness at 17 she has used her experiences to educate and support fellow young
people living with invisible disabilities which led her to take the presidential role for Middlesex Disabled Liberation Group and host mental health talks for the students. Despite the many challenges she has faced adjusting to her disabled identity and being a student she has been determined to use the lessons she has learnt along the way to help bring awareness of the impact of invisible disabilities and is currently writing a book to help those who live with chronic illnesses and those that support them.’
Carole is a community gardener, beekeeper, activist and walker. She was part of the Eden Project Team England for the Big Lunch community walk in 2019. Carole advocates for the power of nature and walking for bringing communities together, she writes: ‘I want to promote the simple act of walking and talking as a point of accessibility, which aren’t dependent on social, cultural or financial status in society’. Carole organises regular walks for carers in South London and is passionate about celebrating her local area and community. Carole will lead a community walk for around Hendon. In her walks Carole reflects on history, politics, family and the importance of care, community and conversation.