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Annual Event

Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster Forum

Friday 23 June 2023 – Online

For their 2023 annual event, the IGSRC is organising a research forum to provide its members with an opportunity to meet, exchange and present their current work or projects. The idea is to make space for informal and collaborative reflection and feedback on any topic relating to gender and sexuality. As such, we encourage all members to participate and present their latest completed paper, a work in progress, their preliminary research for a new project, or propose a topic for informal discussion on a theme that can support their current or future research.

We would be very happy to receive contributions in different formats (traditional papers, pre-recorded video or audio presentations, posters, visuals, informal semi-structured discussions, etc.) in order to ensure that the forum supports and enhances members’ current work, rather than adds to already busy workloads.

We invite all members to send a provisional title and a short description (around 150-200 words) of what they would like to present (and how) before Monday 24 April 2023 to both and


Online conference, 27-28 May 2021

Free Registration at:

Please register through the above link by the 25th May in order to receive the zoom link for the conference.

If you have issues with the access zoom link for the conference provided to you upon registration please email us at and we will resend the link

Link to the facebook page of the event

The event is organised by De Montfort University and the University of Birmingham, supported by the Institute of English at De Montfort University and will be hosted by the University of Birmingham.



UK (London) time

9.30-9.40                     Welcome Address

Michela Baldo (University of Birmingham

Marion Krauthaker (De Montfort University)

9.40-9.55                     Conference Opening

Jo Richardson (De Montfort University)

10.00-11.15                KEYNOTE LECTURE 1

                                    Chair: Richard Hall (De Montfort University)

Lisa Blackman (Goldsmith University): Dis-ordering and estrangement in the neoliberal university: a crisis intervention.

11-15-11.45                Coffee break

11.45-1.15                  FINDING A PLACE

                                    Chair: Lidia Salvatori (University of Leicester)

Karolina Krasuska, Ludmiła Janion & Marta Usiekniewicz (University of Warsaw): Gender Studies under Review: Paradoxes of Academic Evaluation in Peripheral Neoliberalism and Illiberal Isolationism.

Mireille Rebeiz (Dickinson College): Teaching While Arab in the United States of America. The pressures experienced by untenured women of color teaching in America in and outside the classroom.

Alena Sander (University of Louvain): Producing knowledge with care: Building mutually caring researcher-research participants relationships.

1.15—2.15                  Lunch Break

2.15-3.15                   GUEST OF HONOUR LECTURE

                                    Chair: Marion Krauthaker (De Montfort University)

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington (National University of Ireland, Galway): Taking on an Irish university with neoliberal values; winning my gender equality case and how it went viral.

3.15-4.15                     MARKETISATION AND RESISTANCE

                                    Chair: Michela Baldo (University of Birmingham)

Lili Schwoerer (London School of Economics): Pushing against and moving beyond institutional regulation – Feminist knowledge production and utopian imaginaries.

Joanna Chojnicka & Łukasz Pakuła (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland): When the obligation to be neutral becomes the right to discriminate: discursive struggles over LGBTQIA+ rights at Polish universities.


UK (London) time

9.30-10.30                  GENDER PRESSURE, GENDER VIOLENCE

                                    Chair: Nicole Fayard (University of Leicester)

Barbara Biglia (Universitat Rovira I Virgili), Itziar Gandarias Goikoetxea (Univerisad de Deusto), Pilar Parra Contreras (Universidad Compultense de Madrid) & Luz Martinez (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona): Same roots, different experience: Visibilising and measuring intersectional effects on Gender-Related Violence within the neoliberal university.

Anna Hush (University of New South Wales, Australia): In the belly of the beast: Feminist resistance to sexual violence in the Australian neoliberal University.

10.30-11.00                Coffee Break

11-12.15                      KEYNOTE LECTURE 2

                                    Chair: Federica Formato (The University of Brighton)

Helen Sauntson (York St John University): Language, gender and sexuality in the neoliberal academy: Contributions from applied linguistics.

12.15-2.00                  Lunch Break


                                    Chair: Michela Baldo (University of Birmingham)

Elia A.G. Arfini (CRAAAZI, Bologna (IT)/University of Milan): Performing the Institution, perverting the Academia, reproducing struggles.

Elspeth Mitchell (University of Leeds) & Lenka Vráblíková (University of South Africa, UNISA): Out of Office: Mycorrhizal Encounters and feminist paths through/beyond the University.

Carlotta Cossutta (Università del Piemonte Orientale) & Elisa Virgili (Università degli Studi di Milano Statale): Teaching Gender in Prison.

3.30-4.00                     Coffee Break

4.00-5.15                     ROUND TABLE

Chair: Michela Baldo (University of Birmingham)

Marion Krauthaker (De Montfort University)         

In conversation with the contributors of Spaccademia (Le Nine, Beatrice Gusmano, Elena Pavan, Gruppo Femminismi Pisa).




Situating universities within latest developments brought out by neoliberal and market ideologies, this conference invites proposals focusing on the impact of neoliberalism on gender(ed) experiences in academia, in particular in the wake of the 2020 UCU strikes and Covid health crisis. In the UK, profound transformations in the neoliberal university (Petrina and Ross 2014; Smyth 2017), such as marketisation, consumerism, funding-led audits and the introduction of managerial cultures have ushered in control and surveillance regimes and led to the suppression of academic freedom (Morrish and Sauntson, 2016, 2019). Today academia is complicit in reproducing power and inequalities, with the majority of students in British Higher Education belonging to relatively comfortable socio-economic backgrounds and being encouraged to behave as consumers rather than show interest in their academic and self-development (Burke, 2013; Connell, 2013; McGettigan, 2013). The inequalities produced by neoliberal politics are especially marked when considered through a gender and sexuality lens in their intersection with other categories such as race, class or ableism. They have also increased since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, which has left staff having to care for children in complex situations at the expense of their career, with little to no support from their employers. Regrettably, the subjectivities especially at risk of sexism, bullying, harassment or marginalisation are those who fall outside of the white cis heterosexual able male category established as the norm, or those who question gender and sexual binaries and male supremacy (Ahmed, 2015; 2017a; 2017b).

We call for papers, creative presentations and/or artistic performances exploring the
relationship between gender, academic elites and margins and how policies, structures or pedagogies in academia are affected by neoliberalism, both in and outside the UK. What does it mean to be a woman or a LGBTQIA+ and/or non-white, disabled, working class person in today’s University? Are entry and promotion schemes gendered to favour cis males and heterosexual students or staff members, and those who uphold the power inherent in these categories? How are expectations, entitlements and burdens experienced differently along the axes of gender, sexuality, social class or ableism? Is it at all possible to challenge such structural inequalities, and to inform pedagogies within a gendered and queer feminist perspective? Relatedly, we encourage scholars to focus on the extent of the power of educators and managers in either promoting or hindering gender diversity, the dynamics that have a positive or negative effect on gender equality as well as the pathways, voices and alternatives that inclusive and critical gender practices can foster.

We would also particularly welcome intersectional approaches, especially from scholars working in Modern Languages, and fields of studies coming under the umbrella of SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts), that are often perceived as less valuable by the neoliberal University. Although research and reports show that Modern Languages provide crucial linguistic and intercultural competences, as well as transferable skills and prepare highly employable students for the Global market (Higher Education Policy Institute Report 123, 2020), the discipline is often relegated to the margins as non-vocational and not worth investing in (British Academy Born Global, 2017). Presentations looking at drawing links between the pressures on subjects who fall outside the white cis heterosexual able male category and that towards less economically worthy disciplines in the neo-liberal academic context would therefore be of interest.

We encourage contributions on the following themes (but not limited to) as they apply to different disciplines and sociological, cultural and linguistic contexts:

  • Sexism, heteropatriarchy and heteronormativity in academia: gender imbalances,
    underrepresentation of women or members of LGBTQIA+ community among staff or
    students and career progression;
  • The effects and possible long-term consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, from a gender
    perspective, for instance on members of staff with care responsibilities;
  • Gender and/or sexuality studies teaching;
  • Feminist and queer pedagogies;
  • Academic policies, practices and processes focused on gender and/or sexuality
    structures and processes that facilitate or impede gender equality;
  • Resistance in the implementation of gender diversity measures/ the myth of the
    Equalities Act;
  • The position of ‘minority’ or ‘secondary’ disciplines in the neo-liberal academia;
  • Sexual harassment and/or bullying in academia;
  • Discrimination based on gender and sexuality in its intersection with race, and/or
    class, and or ableism;
  • Hierarchies of oppression in underrepresented groups;
  • Academic workload, especially pastoral work, as gendered work;
  • Collegiality versus managerialism and the impact on gender and sexuality;
  • Divided sisters: women benefitting from the oppression of other women;
  • The role of HE institutions in supporting systems of oppression and discrimination;
  • Student and staff complaints based on gender inequalities and the treatment of those complaints.

Please send your 250-300 words abstract by the 31st January 2021 to Marion Krauthaker ( and Michela Baldo ( The conference will take place on the 27th and 28th May 2021 and it will be online.

Confirmed keynote speakers are:

Helen Sauntson, Professor of Linguistics at York St John University (UK)

Lisa Blackman, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London (UK)


Ahmed, Sara (2015) “Sexism: A Problem with a Name.” New Formations: A Journal

of Culture/Theory/Politics, 86: 5–13.

Ahmed, Sara (2017a) Living a Feminist Life. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Ahmed, Sara (2017b) “Resignation is a feminist issue”. Available at

Amsler, S. (2011) “Beyond all reason: spaces of hope in the struggle for England’s universities.” Representations, 116(1): 62-87.

Amsler, S. (2014) “By ones and twos and tens”: pedagogies of possibility for democratising higher education.” Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 22(2): 275–294.

Ball, S.J. (2012) “Performativity, Commodification and Commitment: An I-Spy Guide to the Neoliberal University.” British Journal of Educational Studies, 60(1): 17-28.

Burke, P.J. (2013) “The right to higher education: neoliberalism, gender and professional mis/recognitions.” International Studies in Sociology of Education, 23(2): 107-126.

Connell, R. (2013a) “The neoliberal cascade and education: An essay on the market agenda and its consequences.” Critical Studies in Education, 54(2): 99-112.

Petrina, Stephen and Wayne Ross (2014) “Critical University Studies: Workplace, Milestones, Crossroads, Respect, Truth.” Workplace, 23:62-71.

McGettigan, A. (2013) The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education. London: Pluto Press.

Morrish, Liz. (2017) “Academic identities in the managed university: Neoliberalism and resistance at Newcastle University, UK.” Australian Universities’ Review, 2017, 59(2): 23-35.

Morrish, Liz and Helen Sauntson (2016) “Performance Management and the Stifling of Academic Freedom and Knowledge Production.” Journal of Historical Sociology, 29(1): 42-64.

Morrish, Liz and Helen Sauntson (2019) Academic Irregularities: Language and Neoliberalism in Higher Education. New York and London: Routledge.

Smyth, John (2017) The Toxic University. Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

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