Europe is coming to Gothenburg with ATGENDER

2012-12-13 13:48

Preparations are underway. Participants will come from all over Europe for the three-day conference to discuss gender and equality issues with a focus on teaching.

The ATGENDER Spring Conference is an annual event at which members of the ATGENDER network have the opportunity to meet, work together and network.

“The ATGENDER Spring Conference contributes toward connect different working groups . It is a conference for academics, students, librarians, activists, decision makers and practitioners in the field of gender studies, feminist research and activist work on gender equality,” says Andrea Petö, co-chair of ATGENDER.

ATGENDER – a place to share experiences

According to Andrea Petö, the ATGENDER Spring Conference opens the way for networking and exchanging good examples in teaching, research and in activist work in gender studies.

“We also want to make sure that this is a meeting place between generations and a place to share experiences in recent developments in gender studies,” she says.

When the conference starts in Gothenburg, round table discussions, expert discussions, workshops and talks with WeAVE, which is a network for students in ATGENDER, will be arranged. Books will also be launched such as the controversial book Undutiful Daughters and the new volume in book series published by ATGENDER and CEU Press: Teaching with Gender -series that presents articles on libraries and feminist teaching.

“We will also hold discussions about what type of knowledge is produced in the framework of gender studies and look at the ways that gender studies is taught in the different sites of knowledge transfer”.

To the question of what challenges researchers, academics and working groups meet today, Andrea Petö answers with an analysis of the present European political context. On the one hand she says that gender studies are institutionalized in most European countries. But she has also noticed in the past few years that there is a general backlash in national and international support of work on gender equality and for professionals working in this critical field. She says that there is a general dismantling of the state in the form of cutbacks in the care and education sectors that have an obvious effect on gender equality work.

“We see how the budget for work on gender equality is getting smaller. But what’s most important to utilise the framework of the European Union because the equality agenda might be taken over by conservative forces,” say Andrea Petö in a telephone interview from Hungary.

To study what kind of knowledge is produced

Andrea Petö says that work on gender equality often reduced to do with counting the number of women in each activity in different areas of society. This can be an important goal in itself for certain countries, but she feels that at the same time it is important to talk about how knowledge is produced, transmitted and how gender studies reflects, responds and initiates change. At the time of the conference, the Tuning Educational Structure in Europe brochure will be presented. It contains material that makes it possible for programs in gender research, women studies and/or feminist studies to evaluate and develop the quality of their teaching programs.

“It’s important to discuss how teaching gender is happening and see what kind of knowledge it creates.”

The ATGENDER Spring Conference will be held in about four months, and Sara Ahmed, Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London, has accepted the job of being the keynote speaker.

“She’s an important voice in addressing critical race studies. Having her as the keynote speaker opens up the conference for a critical discussion.”

Expectations are high. Andrea Petö hopes that the participants and representatives of different institutions will be able to strengthen the formal and informal contacts among each other. An important part of the preparations is financial support.

“I want to take the opportunity to say that the organisation is working to get some scholarships available for ATGENDER members so they could continue working in a European context.”, says Andrea Petö in closing.

Save the date: 26th-28th of April, 2013

Author Roxana Ortiz
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