Feminist Emergency - International Conference

Venue: Birkbeck, University of London.
Booking details: Payment and booking required

Feminist Emergency
Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in collaboration Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality (BiGS), the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the British Comparative Literature Association.

General registration is now open 

  • Standard - £100
  • Solidarity Payment - £130 (If you are in full time employment and feel able to make the higher payment the extra £30 will be used to fund additional bursary places at the conference)
  • Concession - £30 (Student/Activist/Unwaged)


There are now only a limited number of places remaining but we will be releasing some more tickets shortly.

If you find you are unable to register please email and we will contact you with the details of the new ticket types and how to register when they become available. 

This major international feminist Conference emerges out of a shared sense that feminism today is confronted with a set of acute challenges to which it urgently needs to bring new resources and critical insight. Austerity policies, increasing social inequality, the general assault on collective policies of social welfare, the changes imposed on health care, the needs of an ageing population, the increasing worldwide visibility of violence (domestic violence, rape as a weapon of war, 'honour’ killing, female genital mutilation), all of these intensifying trends are placing women under renewed pressure and are heightening the need for women to reflect, speak and find new means of expression. At the same time, the rise of populism in the context of Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US, with the growing racism that has accompanied both, are contributing to a climate where bigotry and misogyny are granted new permission to parade themselves in the media and on the streets. Opening and closing the conference with poetry and literary readings by renowned creative writers from across the globe, our aim is to demonstrate the central role of cultural expression in representing, illuminating and resisting this new climate in which women find themselves today.

The conference aims to address these issues, and their implications for feminist thought, activism and creativity, and in relation to public policy in the UK and globally. To that end, we are especially committed to fostering a unique atmosphere of dialogue and exchange which will cross the boundaries between scholars, practitioners and literary writers, between generations of feminists, across different ethnic and cultural groups, between the trans-movement and feminism, and between critical thinking and the demand for social change.  The Conference will therefore gather together academics, literary scholars and poets, professionals, policy makers and feminist activists in the realm of health care, education, domestic labour and sexual violence. It will also be interdisciplinary, working across sociology and social history, economics, politics, psychoanalysis, sexuality and gender studies, literature, film and culture. Internationally renowned writers and thinkers such as NourbeSe Philip, Jackie Kay, Leila Ahmed and Drucilla Cornell will bring to the conference voices out of which we will aim to establish the forward looking nature of modern feminist expression and thought.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Leila Ahmed
  • Joanna Bourke
  • Drucilla Cornell
  • Rahila Gupta
  • Gail Lewis
  • Laura Mulvey
  • M. NourbeSe Philip
  • Nina Power
  • Denise Riley
  • Jacqueline Rose
  • Lynne Segal
  • Marina Warner

 Panels will include:

  • Feminism, Racism, Anti-racism
  • Gender, Brexit and Trump - Elections and Populism
  • Gender, Brexit and Trump - Migration and Race
  • Generations of Women
  • Radical Transfeminist Perspectives on Justice
  • Sexual Difference in the New Millennium
  • Sexual Violence and Coercion in the UK and Across the World
  • Sex Work
  • Trouble for Girls: Growing up in Rape Culture
  • Under the Skin of the City – Film Screening
  • Who Cares?: The Care Emergency and Feminist Responses
  • Women and Power? – Feminism and Shifting Gender Patterns in Neoliberal Times

More information on confirmed panels and speakers

The Conference will also include break-out sessions for more informal/activist engagements with the issues raised in the panels.

The full programme will be published in due course.

We are committed to making this conference fully accessible. If you have specific access needs or face barriers to participation, including caring responsibilities, please get in touch with us at bih@bbk.ac.uk so that we can support your full participation

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Further details: More information about this event …