The Feminist Research group is a SSoA initiative which began in 2018. It came about due to the recognition that a number of staff and PhD students were engaging various feminist approaches in their research. As a result, we wanted to collectively establish a shared space where we could discuss theories, methodologies and practices.
Our central objective in setting up the group was to create an accessible shared space of learning and thinking with. In time, this has developed into an intellectual friendship network guided by the feminist readings and discussions we shared amongst us. The main framework and shared values of the group is developed through the wealth of knowledge and experience every member of the group brought in. We also strive to form a network of feminist thinkers that extends beyond the arts tower as a knowledge structure and flows among other spaces, geographies, and languages. We have begun working on this by reaching out to other disciplines across the university. Together with alumni and ex-staff who contribute from their remote locations in different geographies, the group has a considerable number of members who take the initiative at different times to organise activities and to keep enriching our shared knowledge. No single person or group of people lead the group, everyone has equal responsibility for its continuation. We aim to share labour and deconstruct hierarchies as a way of challenging the formalised structures of the institution.
Meetings are organised by one or two people who are interested in unpacking a particular topic. Readings are suggested and questions are posed in advance to allow people to reflect prior to the discussion. Topics presented so far have included: the act of being a feminist in the academy, fieldwork messiness, decolonial feminisms, intersectionality and feminist writing. We keep a shared reading database and contribute to making readings accessible to all.
Within the challenging structures of academia, the feminist research group became a caring and supportive space for its members. It provided us not only with the theories and methodologies for thinking and learning but also the collective space to reflect on and question our encounters, especially in spaces of teaching and research. We have seen the impact of this group through related events and collaborations, the development of professional and personal relationships and the growing commitment to feminist pedagogy throughout the school.