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Who’s Here? Who’s Queer?: Making space for Queer ECRs in Academia

A BSA Early Career Forum Regional Event

20 January 2021 (13:00–17:00)
An online event via Zoom (however due to postal restrictions we will only be able to send craft packs to UK home addresses)

About the Event

Academia can be an ‘unhomely’ space with unique challenges faced by queer, or LGBTIQ+, early career academics, and this has been exacerbated by the current climate, which is even more acute for trans academics (Pearce, 2020; Slater and Liddiard, 2018; Vincent, Erikainen and Pearce, 2020). Given the restrictions and stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to the precarity of jobs and expected mobility of ECRs, creating online and regional networks for ECRs is more important than ever (Butler-Rees and Robinson, 2020; Rao, Hosein and Raaper, 2021). This is more acute for LGBTIQ+ people who may face additional barriers to feeling ‘at home’ in academia (Taylor, 2016). We seek to challenge these experiences and focus on ways we as a community can ‘make space’ for ourselves and others.

This event celebrates queerness by encouraging LGBTIQ+ ECRs to carve out space for themselves within academia, and begin to create networks that resist the confines of spaces and places. Through this virtual event, we want to craft a more homely academic space for queer ECRs; we ask you to participate from locations in which you feel ‘at home’ to think through creating and reimagining spaces and sources to be ourselves in academia (acknowledging that many of us are constrained in our choices in this respect during Covid19).

We will use creative practices to queer and play with written (including draft and unfinished) work; motivations for being in academia; and making connections with each other (we seek to reimagine the typical ECR focus of publications; career trajectories; and networking).

We welcome you to join us in using sociological approaches to construct queer and friendly spaces beyond disciplinary boundaries, celebrating our diversity of backgrounds. We will provide a pack of craft resources to assist you and we do not expect you to have an established creative practice to participate. Additionally, we have invited two ‘local’ academics who have published recent relevant work in this area (Pearce, 2020; Taylor, 2016) to help us to think through the methods and means through which this ‘making space’ can be attempted.

This is a brief summary of our proposed patchwork of activities:

  • ‘Found’ poetry created through the re/construction of participants’ own written work: queering one’s own writing to engage our emotional reflections and connections both to our work and to academia more broadly;
  • A ‘making space/making self’ craft activity destabilising ‘linear’ notions of career trajectories, considering queer community making and activism as work, and considering our embodied presence within the academy;
  • ‘Queer Connections’ - structured coffee breaks (in addition to actual breaks) in which attendees can choose whose research to discuss (with everyone offered an opportunity to hear others and discuss their own if they wish);
  • Guest speakers: Prof Yvette Taylor, University of Strathclyde, and Dr Ruth Pearce, University of Glasgow.

We seek to use creative activities to embrace the queer potential of connections with each other and bring queer joy through this programme of activities.

Registration

  • BSA Member: £5
  • Non Member: £15

If you sign up to this event we will send a pack of craft resources in the post to any UK home address, so please make sure you include the address in your registration information that you will be residing in the week before the event (as this is when we will send it) and watch out for your package in the post!

Contact the Organisers

For any further information please email hazel.marzetti@ed.ac.uk and rhi.humphrey@strath.ac.uk.

Bibliography

Butler-Rees, A. and Robinson, N. (2020) 'Encountering precarity, uncertainty and everyday anxiety as part of the postgraduate research journey'. Emotion, Space and Society, 37 100743.

Pearce, R. (2020) 'A Methodology for the Marginalised: Surviving Oppression and Traumatic Fieldwork in the Neoliberal Academy'. Sociology, 54 (4), pp. 806-824.

Rao, N., Hosein, A. and Raaper, R. (2021) 'Doctoral students navigating the borderlands of academic teaching in an era of precarity'. Teaching in Higher Education, 26 (3), pp. 454-470.

Slater, J. and Liddiard, K. (2018) 'Why Disability Studies Scholars Must Challenge Transmisogyny and Transphobia'. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 7 (2), pp. 83-93.

Taylor, Y. (2016) 'Making space at the (queer) academic table?'. In: Crowhurst, A.K.A.C.S.I. (ed.) Sexualities Research: Critical interjections, diverse methodologies and practical applications. London: Routledge, pp. 29-40.

Vincent, B., Erikainen, S. and Pearce, R. (2020) TERF Wars: Feminism and the fight for transgender futures. London: Sage.