Women’s Studies Without Walls (WSWW) is an initiative launched by The Feminist Library in Autumn 2012. In a very short time it has drawn in a cross-section of feminists of all generations from within academia and without, and from all round the country – we are already in touch with women from Cardiff, Swansea, Shrewsbury, the East Midlands, Leeds, and Oxford.
The impetus for WSWW was a concern that much of what is now taught in universities as Gender Studies has lost touch with grassroots feminist activism, coupled with a fear that the neo-liberal and cuts agenda across education will remove any possibility of radical education at any stage of learning. WSWW plans to return Women’s Studies to its rightful place – informing and encouraging women to take radical feminist action through learning and sharing skills, experience, and information.
We are launching WSWW with a weekend of assorted workshops, talks, and skill-sharing at the Feminist Library on 19-20th January 2013, the theme of which will be ‘The Personal is Political’. This will be followed by a weekly series of WSWW evening events at the Feminist Library, and, we hope, by sister events elsewhere. We are very open to all your input, and we want to broaden out to include a wide range of contacts, and indeed, geographical areas – we are, after all, without walls.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, any input or suggestions you may have, and for dates of upcoming WSWW organising meetings.
Podcasts made by Yula Burin and women at the inaugural Women’s Studies Without Walls event are available to listen via Camden Community Radio.
- On Consciousness Raising
- How the event felt
- On making women’s studies inclusive
- On connecting theory, feelings and political response
- On the history and value of Women’s Studies to activists
- Personal choices are constrained by politics
- Reflections on the Personal is Political
Women’s Studies Without Walls Programme
Women’s Studies Without Walls: Weekend gathering on the theme ‘The Personal is Political’– 19th and 20th January 2013, Feminist Library.
Saturday 19th January
Room 2 Room 3 Periodicals Room Room 4 Room 1 11am – 1pm Plenary: Feminist Library + other groups. Open discussion, why we are here, the Cuts etc 1pm – 2pm Lunch 2pm – 3.30pm Feeling feminist — an old-fashioned consciousness-raising workshop – Rob and Jane Recording Women: Part 1 – Yula Abortion politics and Ireland – Anne and Marian Women taking part: an empowering learning programme — Sue and Jill 3.30pm – 4pm Tea Break 4pm – 5.30pm Feminism, identity and difference – Terese and Aura Feminism, Photography, History – Patrizia Creating a Zine – Scarlett Feminist Sex and Relationships Education –Feminist Fightback
Stuff Your Sexist Boss! –
South London Solidarity Federation
6pm onwards Social event: food, feminist open mic, film shows
Sunday 20th January
Room 2 Room 3 Periodicals Room Room 4 Room 1 11am – 1pm A practical introduction to consciousness-raisingGail and Ruth
Part 2 – Yula
Writing Feminist Flash Fiction – Zoë
Feminist Reflections on Developing Women’s Studies – Miriam
Women’s Self Defence – Carolyn 1pm – 2pm Lunch 2pm – 3.30pm WSWW – Future Planning, including spreading to other places. General FeedbackMeeting room 3.30/4pm onwards Playback from Recording Women sessions, informal networking: food, film, fun.
The PDF of the programme can be found here.
Feeling Feminist: an old fashioned consciousness raising workshop
Roberta and Jane
Feeling feminist: an old fashioned feminist consciousness raising workshop exploring what it means to be feminist by reflecting on our own experiences, hopes and dreams, hardships and real world realities.
Recording Women: Part 1
An exploration into the historical importance of women’s stories in feminist activism, and how audio recordings are an important means of conveying those stories. Participants will learn how to operate recorders and prepare questions for interviewees, to be completed during the course of the weekend.
Abortion Politics and Ireland
Ann and Marian
This brainstorming workshop aims to confound the image of Irish abortion seekers who cross the Irish Sea in droves as silent victims of draconian anti-abortion laws in both Irish states.
Women and Transformational Leadership
Sue and Jill
In this workshop we would like to share our experience of developing and delivering learning programmes that support and encourage women to be active, critical and challenging citizens.
Feminism, Identity and Difference
Gender, ethnicity, class, dis/ability, age, sexuality, religion: different parts of our identities influence how we experience the world, including the ways in which we are oppressed and privileged. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how understanding our different backgrounds and experiences is crucial, and share strategies for anti-oppressive feminist organising.
Feminism, Photography and History
In this workshop we are going to discuss the late photographer Jo Spence’s collaborative work to raise the issue of how it might be possible to celebrate the achievements of women artists without creating canonical figures that subscribe to notion of the artist as a special, privileged, unique individual.
Creating a Zine
Feminist Sex and Relationships Education
As a society we have problems discussing, and having, sex and relationships in empowering ways. As we are all potential learners and teachers of SRE we need to find ways to change attitudes. A workshop to explore ways and means to do that!
Stuff Your Sexist Boss!
South London Solidarity Federation
Part of the London Solidarity Federation’s ongoing project to produce a new pamphlet about practical methods of resisting sexual harassment in the workplace. Come along, share your own experiences if you wish, and exchange ideas on tactics for working collectively against workplace harassment and discrimination.
A practical introduction to consciousness-raising
Gail and Ruth
Recording Women: Part 2
Following on from Saturday’s session. In this workshop we will engage in the challenge that is editing in order to create a prepared piece from the previous day’s recordings for a broadcast at the end of the day.
Writing Feminist Flash Fiction
Flash fiction is fiction you can read in a flash. Fiction that makes you blink – and think. Writing Feminist Flash Fiction with Zoë Fairbairns is open to a maximum of 10 participants. Please bring your own writing materials.
Feminist Reflections on Developing Women’s Studies
What are the contributions of feminism to the development of pedagogies in and outside universities? Miriam will offer insights from her book: Passion, Pedagogies and Politics: Feminism, Gender & Universities (Routledge 2013) about this creative endeavour.
Women’s Self Defence
A look at how and why feminists organise women’s self defence classes, and the revolutionary potential of doing so. A chance to experience a short “radical practical feminist self defence” class, and learn/ practice/ share some basic strategies -verbal and physical techniques- that we can use to defend ourselves, assert our boundaries, and confront problem behaviour. All women, ages and abilities welcome; we can adapt what we do to suit your body. Any questions? Please email us: feministselfdefence @ yahoo.co.uk.