I have a long interest in eco/feminism, politics, activism, naturecultures, feminist theory, methods, and time manifests in multiple ways in this work.
I have been committed to recording and creating eco/feminist histories and archives, work which happens in the context of a feminism curiously obsessed with time, past, present and future. Feminist histories abound with accounts of the ‘end’ or ‘death’ of feminism; waves; movements; generations and generational conflicts’ legacy; claims for new waves of feminism, ‘third’ and ‘fourth’ waves, ‘new’ feminist materialisms. I am interested in what is disavowed in many of these moves, and how disavowal sometimes happens through placing people and events in the past, in history, by declaring them out of step, out of time. I am currently completing a monograph drawing on research with women environmental activists (The Changing Nature of Feminism: Unnatural Histories of Eco/feminism from Clayoquot Sound).
Stories of ‘burn-out’ from activism have led me to reflect on ways of refiguring politics as radical everyday activism which might sustain activists as well as the planet, and refigure care of the self as a profoundly collective and community-based practice. I am involved in participatory research with a young lesbian and bisexual women’s organic allotment project in Manchester, and I have emerging research interests in radical approaches to food and nutrition, alternative health practices, as well as other embodied practices such as yoga, Alexander Technique, and mindfulness; practices which stress an embodied mindfulness as an approach to being in the world. I am also interested in their take up as a resistance to Western notions of ageing as a degenerative process.
I am also fascinated by questions of time and research. As well having in mind the time involved in doing research with communities, and questions for researchers who are also involved in the communities being researched, of when is community being practiced and when is research being practiced, I am more generally interested in the temporalities of many methods (and disciplines) used in research with communities. Oral history, interviews, ethnography, memory work, genealogy, the generation and creation of archives, often carry implicit notions of history and time and how history is being recorded and researched, but also of how the research is understand to happen in and through time.
Niamh's Pecha Kucha
I am in the first year of an MRes in Social and Cultural Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. My studies so far have focused on heritage walks around Manchester, critiquing official narratives and seeking alternative routes. I am also really interested in blurring the boundaries between academia, activism and my professional life.
I founded and facilitate The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) a Manchester based interdisciplinary collective of artists, activists and academics interested in psychogeography, social justice and public space. It is a not-for-profit community group which curates walks and other events which reframe the neo-liberal city as a site of subversive play and critical engagement.
The LRM seeks to unravel the myriad stories that contribute to the city and the historical, political and economic forces that shape space. Our work is also interested in emotional responses; how places make us feel and how active participation can positively transform its development. Our conception of history is rhizomatic and thus the derive is our favoured tool for exploration. The city is also a sensory experience and walking offers a direct connection to the ghosts under the pavement.
I have worked as a Community Development Officer for the past eleven years and have been employed by GMCVO (Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation) since November 2007. My role involves providing training, consultancy, information and one-to-one support to a wide range of groups, specifically community hubs i.e. places that generate social capital.
Morag's Pecha Kucha Presentation
During my time at Sheffield Hallam University (Centre for Education and Inclusion Research) I have been involved in a variety of research projects broadly connected with the wellbeing of young people and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities (regarding health inequalities, health related education/services, and so on). As a Sociologist, I am particularly interested in the social influences on wellbeing (e.g. experiences of heterosexism and homophobia, perceptions of ‘belonging’ and ‘acceptance’, etc.), and specifically the relationship between sexual identities and perceptions and experiences of ‘community’, and the implications of this for health and wellbeing. Within this, changing experiences over time become important: growing (legal) equality in the UK for LGBT communities contrasts starkly with experiences among older LGBT groups who may have experienced criminalisation and/or ‘treatment’ for their sexual identity and/or practices. How do these historical contexts (still) affect people’s ongoing identity development and expression, their wider wellbeing / ‘quality of life’, and the development and experience of ‘community’ and ‘connectivity’ more generally (including political activism, ‘scene’ spaces, and forms of social support)? I am interested in exploring these ideas with regard to broader social wellbeing – which my lightning talk will address – and within the context of wider debates about socio-cultural change, community connectivities, and temporal belongings.
Slides from Eleanor's Lightning Talk