Sunday, 28 July 2013

Week 2 - The Pool of (Misogynist) Tears

I had the pleasure of meeting up with ULU Disabled Students' Officer Thomas Ankin to talk about his session at ULU Officer Training and to look at the accessibility issues in The Venue ahead of freshers week, where we plan to hopefully have a liberation Carnival event. I also met up with ULU LGBT+ Officer Andrew Turton to talk about the LGBT+ session at ULU training.
On Monday, Project Guardian finally launched with means I can talk about it loads now. Its a project involving hollaback london tackling sexual harassment on London transport. If you want to find out how you can combat sexual harassment on your campus make sure you attend Hollaback! ULU @ ULU Summer officer & activist Training 2013


I went along to the UEL Feminist Research Conference home of the Feminist Research Group. Having never a PHD or a masters I thought the event was important to go to in regards to trying to understand some of the issues that postgrad female students have to deal with. As one of my plans for the coming year is to establish ULU Women's Studies, a cross campus program involving free lectures and seminars on women's and feminist studies along with sessions on career areas which are usually dominated by men.  It was the first time I've been to UEL and the campus was amazing. First up was a talk by Yvette Cooper from London South bank who was excellent. She described feminism is a passionate practice and how having a feminist identify in academia places you on the outlines. After that there was a wider discussion of gender division in academia and delegates spoke about their experiences of sexism and ageism, especially as young female phd students.
 There was a presentation on seperative spaces and the the benefits and the criticisms of them. One woman talked about how there are many women's-only spaces in society however when it came to women discussing feminism its suddenly a big deal. Of course transphobia is an issue however there are ways of making trans-inclusive intersectionality women only progressive spaces, which is something we need to push through. There was also a presentation on feminist art which was really really good because feminism and art are my two fave things! I also got to attend a discussion workshop on intersectionality. I didn't really learn anything new but someone did hear two very interesting comments. The first being that Intersectionality has been great in explaining oppression but not as great with explaining privilege. The second comment about working class men should taking a leaf out feminism book and making the recall of their history more intersectional.
Of course I came home to a men's rights activist on Twitter trying pick an argument with me by tweeting insults because I was tweeting about the conference OF COURSE I DID - #misogynisttears #womensofficerlyf

If you've read my manifesto you'll see that one of the areas I really want to focus on this year is Sexual and Reproductive Health. I think that Sex & Relationship education in the UK is extremely poor and we need to act now, especially with the cuts to the public health services which we all rely on (unless you can afford private) hovering over your head. Students come into HE from various backgrounds and countries and things like S.H.A.G Weeks, when done well are a really good way of getting life changing information. Also, whilst shag weeks are key events its also important to talk about SRE throughout the year.
Great Skype meeting with Sexpression KCL to finalise what we are going to present next week at ULU Officer Training . Click here for more info on the event.

Thursday morning at work started a bit later than usual because I had to attend my last day of anxiety therapy. I was diagnosed with serve anxiety at the beginning of my final year at university and dedicated my final piece called Open Heart Chaos, on my contemporary media art course to exploring anxiety disorders. I started therapy the week after I handed in my project and I'm in a better place now and realise that part of my problem was no one around me during growing realising I had learning difficulties or anxiety issues. However, this has made me really want to get involved in campaigning to end mental health discrimination. Though my anxiety therapy as ended I may be starting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in a few months. If you also want to get involved in campaigning around issues like these, get involved with Time to Change.
At the end of the day I extended my office hours to facilitate a meeting by Kings College London Feminist Society. It was really good to see so many passionate feminist student activists organising to strengthen their society.

On Friday all the sabbatical officers spent allot of our time dealing with final preparations for ULU Training. I'll have you know that every single ULU Officer training agenda booklet was folded by my hands. I havn't ever been a sabb before and since I'm the first Women's Officer at ULU I haven't a had a job specific hand over, so I must admit its a bit strange being this side of training. When I was president at Royal Holloway I arranged workshops and talks every week so ULU Training shouldn't be too scary :P

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