Feminist Wiki Edit-A-Thon @LU Library


In 2011, a survey found that more than 90% of contributors on Wikipedia were men. While the reasons for the gender gap are up for debate, the practical effect of this disparity is not: content is skewed by the lack of representation from cis and transgender women as well as non-binary folks.

Let’s change that.

Join us at the Pilkington Library, on 28 March, anytime between 1 pm and 5 pm for a communal updating of Wikipedia entries.

Come along to learn how to edit on Wikipedia’s global database and play a part in socially-just knowledge production. You can work individually or as a group with others, and you can focus on the figures that suit your interests. We will have online and print resources available to consult at the library, as well as some suggested pages ready for editing if there is not a particular person you want to work on. Bring your laptop or use the ones available at the library.

In preparation for the main edit-a-thon, two sessions in smaller groups (10-12 persons) will be organized on 14 March from 7pm to 9pm and on 21 March from 2pm to 4pm. We will discuss subjects related to feminism and knowledge production such as algorithms and bias, visibility/invisibility for artists & activists or unpaid immaterial labour. These are meant as preparation sessions for the main editing event on the 28th, but you can come along to as many or as few sessions as you want. Attending a preparation session is not necessary in order to join the drop-in session on the 28th.

RSVP to attend one session or both:


We invite people of all gender identities and expressions to participate.

If you wish, you can create a Wikipedia account before the event. You can learn how to do that here:https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:CreateAccount&returnto=Main+Page

Event organised by members of the Centre for Doctoral Training: Feminism, Sexual Politics and Visual Culture in collaboration with the Pilkington Library and LU Arts.

Feminism Professor delivers inaugural at Loughborough

Report by Agostinho Pinnock, doctoral student, Loughborough University


Professor of Feminism, Art and Theory, Hilary Robinson (far right), after delivering her inaugural professorial lecture, smiles with students from the Centre for Doctoral Training: Feminism, Sexual Politics and Visual Culture. They are (from left, foreground): Sophia Kier-Byfield and Marlous Van Boldrik; Mikaela Assolent (Second row, from left) and Tom Nys; and, Daniel Fountain (in back).

Professor of Art, Feminism and Theory, Hilary Robinson, who is also Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT): Feminism, Sexual Politics and Visual Culture, delivered her inaugural professorial lecture Wednesday 28 November at the Loughborough Design School. Entitled “Radical Pedagogies for Changing Times: or: Why I Like Adelaide Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait”, Robinson’s talk used the work of the eighteenth-century French artist as her focus.

Several members of the University, including Vice Chancellor Robert Allison, colleagues from the School of Arts, English and Drama, and students from the CDT attended the lecture. Professor Robinson’s husband, Dr. Mehmet Ali Dikerdem, and members of her own PhD cohort were also at the event. She used the occasion to acknowledge her intellectual heroine, renowned feminist scholar and art historian Griselda Pollock.

Robinson’s incisive analysis of the radical and complex history of women’s art and teaching in the academy begun with pictures from her own family album as context. Underscoring the importance of feminist scholarship in helping to complicate contemporary uses of art history, she said photographic technology had enabled her to “see more clearly through the power of representation.”

Robinson praised Labille-Guiard’s revolutionary work as feminist. She said: “using different methods to analyse and explore the Self-Portrait, I want to demonstrate in practice how feminism cannot be reduced to a single academic method or theory, but rather, that a feminist position is a live and dynamic set of politics with many methods and theories at its disposal.”

Professor Robinson indicated that female artists like Labille-Guiard were expected to paint appropriate ‘female’ subjects – a reality she actively subverted, through her Self-Portrait. Robinson said that such women were often vilified for operating outside of the expectations of ‘female art’. According to Professor Robinson women artists strategically used self-portraiture to overcome criticisms that their works were not original.

Robinson also used a series of investigative approaches to explore the genealogy of women’s knowledge. She called the various religious images of maternal pedagogy in European art history subversive. Robinson illustrated their connections to Labille-Guiard’s now seemingly innocent Self-Portrait, saying the elements within the work conveyed a much more complex meaning. 

Robinson concluded by questioning the implications of the painting for current women artists. She said Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait powerfully demonstrated ‘student-centred’ learning, underlining the need to engage more skilled women artists and racialised peoples in art production.  The latter are still marginalised in contemporary art, Robinson emphasised.

2-year Postdoc Opportunities

Doctoral Prize Fellow

Loughborough University – School of Arts, English and Drama

If you would like to discuss a project that relates to the Gendered Lives research group, please use our contact details to get in touch. 

Recently finished your PhD, or expect to do so soon, and looking for a golden opportunity?

Doctoral Prize Fellowship – up to 10 positions available across all Schools.

This is a rare opportunity at such an early career stage to gain a prestigious 2-year Fellowship to pursue your own ambitious research idea and develop your skills as an independent researcher, with the support of a Loughborough University academic sponsor. During the Fellowship you will be expected to prepare and submit for an appropriate externally-funded Research Fellowship to advance your research plans further.

You must have passed your PhD examination, including completion of any corrections to the satisfaction of your examiners, by the time your Doctoral Prize Fellowship begins. You must also be within two years of your PhD examination on the closing date for applications.

We would particularly like to encourage BME and female applicants as we are actively seeking to increase numbers of academic staff from these under-represented groups. Applications from those who might want to work part-time are very welcome.

Join us and build excellence. Visit www.lboro.ac.uk/excellence100 to find out more.

Informal enquiries should be made to Anna Duncan, Human Resources Officer, by email at: a.duncan2@lboro.ac.uk.

The closing date for applications is 10 May 2018.

Interviews will be held during weeks commencing 25 June and 2 July 2018.

To apply, click here. 

Feminist Methodologies Symposium


Please do join us 20th-21st March 2018 for an exciting methodological line-up. Registration is open here.

Feminist Methodologies introduces current innovative feminist methodological work from across the arts, humanities, and the social sciences. Six speakers from different disciplines and methodological approaches will present their work in a mixture of workshops and research seminars. They will showcase and discuss new research methodologies emerging from feminist scholarship, including ethnography and self-reflexive feminism; memory work; affect and motion, intersectionality, and vulnerable writing. These will be useful to a range of feminist approaches to research, with applicability across different disciplines.

This event has been made possible by the support of the Loughborough University Gendered Lives Research Group, the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, and the Advanced Research Methods Institute


Dr Karen Lumsden (Sociology, Loughborough University) — Reflexivity and feminism in social research: its legacy and its current role in the context of fast academia and the managerial university

Dr Line Nyhagen (Sociology, Loughborough University) — Embedding memory/work experiences in your research and/or teaching practice

Dr Tiffany Page (Sociology, University of Cambridge) — Vulnerable research and writing as feminist methods

Professor Hilary Robinson (Art History, Loughborough University) — tbc

Dr Karen Schaller (English, University of East Anglia) — Contact work: Affect and feminist pedagogy in the literature

Professor Shirley Tate (Sociology, Leeds Beckett University) — What makes research Black, feminist and decolonial?


Feminist Methodologies is organised by Jennifer Cooke, Line Nyhagen, Moya Lloyd, and postgraduate students Hazel McMichael, Hannah Newman and Sian Lewis.

Summer Research Seminar Summary (May 2017)

Sexual Modernisms and Sapphic Self-Fashionings

On Wednesday 3rd May 2017, the final Gendered Lives Research Seminar of this academic year took place with papers from Jana Funke (University of Exeter) and Sarah Parker (Loughborough University). Jana began her paper, titled ‘Sexual Modernism, Women’s Writing and Sexual Science: The Case of Bryher and Havelock Ellis’, by outlining her challenge to the existing body of literature linking modernist writing and sexual science. Her paper aimed to foster a new understanding between the two fields by criticising the assumption that sexologists deal only with the deviant and the perverse. Arguing against this, Jana contended that previous work examining the field overlooked the fact that sexologists were also interested in other forms of sexual identity and sexuality such as heterosexuality, motherhood, maternity and marriage. Her paper made the case for more nuanced arguments relating to sexology; it is not simply a monolithic field with a fixed set of norms, instead these norms are far more complicated that one might assume. Jana used the relationship between sexologist Havelock Ellis and literary writer Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellermann, 1894-1983) to question why modernist women writers turned to sexual science in the first place. Through this primary case study, she emphasised the ways in which modernist women writers troubled and subverted a set of sexual identity categories (homosexual, masochist, sadist etc.) which were brought to the forefront of nineteenth- and twentieth-century culture by the field of sexual science. In particular, Jana’s paper paid close attention to the concept of ‘Sexual Inversion’. Moving through various examples from Bryher’s fiction – including her protagonist Nancy in autobiographical novel Development (1920) – and her letters to Ellis, which were brought to life in Heart of Artemis: A Writer’s Memoir (1962) – Jana challenged the idea that this was a biologically-grounded and fixed form of sexual identity that allowed Bryher to naturalise lesbian or transgender identity. Her paper called for a new story about the relationship between sexual science and modernist women’s writing: one that emphasises shared interests relative to creativity, subjectivity and the imagination.

Sarah’s paper, on the other hand, explored representations of queer women poets through photography by asking the key question: ‘What does it mean to look femme?’ Using various images of women writers (Natalie Barney, Renee Vivien, Olive Custance and Liane de Pougy) as key evidence, Sarah examined the superiority of Sapphism and argued that photographic masquerade was a way for women to illustrate this glorified identity. She paid close attention to a series of photographs featuring the women in order to understand the costumes and personas they adopted and whether these changed over time. Sarah’s paper aimed to ascertain whether the womens’ personas could be linked to their literary works (namely their poetry) and whether the ‘self-fashioning’ presented by them in these photographs suggested a correlation between their lesbian identities and their identities as poets and writers. Sarah highlighted how important femininity was to these women: Renee Vivien would often praise women for their delicacy – their softness, weakness and vulnerability – in her poems. In seeking to continue Sappho’s celebration of virginity and the body of the female adolescent, the women would emphasise the grace, charm and sweetness that comes through in Sappho’s verses by re-embodying this in their photographs. However, Sarah argued that a combination of masculine and feminine qualities in some of the womens’ photographic masquerades conflated the roles of page, prince, knight, lady and princess which complicated this ‘femme identity’. The women would often swap the role of photographer and muse or rework these roles of page and lady for one another which blurred the distinction between them. As she reached her conclusion, Sarah identified several issues with this kind of self-fashioning that she hopes to explore further throughout the chapter she is currently working on. In particular, she argued that there is an ‘overdetermined whiteness’ present: the women masquerade themselves as femmes who are so pale in complexion that they almost can’t be seen at all. Their femme identity is literalised and femmes of colour become doubly invisible which in itself is hugely problematic.


Summary: PGR Research-in-Progress Seminar

On Wednesday 29th March GLRC held its annual PGR research-in-progress seminar. Three PGR students presented their work including; Eleanor Dumbill (English), Eva Lippold (English) and Hannah Newman (Social Sciences).

The first speaker, Eleanor outlined her aim to explore the relationships between nineteenth-century women writers and their male publishers. Eleanor explained how George Eliot, despite being well-respected had to prove her ability on multiple occasions to the men in her life who doubted her ability. Eleanor contrasted Eliot to Frances Milton Trollope and Frances Eleanor Trollope who, though successful in their lifetimes, have been forgotten by modern criticism. Eleanor drew on the two Frances Trollopes close relation to Anthony Trollope, and Frances Eleanor’s relation to Dickens, to further highlight the importance of networks. Eleanor’s work aims to use Pierre Bourdieu’s theories theoretical framework to understand the capital of the writers, asking questions such as how one writer has more social/economical/cultural/symbolic capital than others. Eleanor concluded her presentation by asking; if everything were judged on merit, would Anthony Trollope be Britain’s best loved Trollope?

Eva’s thesis explores women in the theatre, focusing on comedies at the London Theatre during 1760-1800.Eva’s research questions ask what it was like for a woman to work in the theatre and how these women were perceived as women had changed career paths to focus on poetry because of their negative experiences. It was identified that women playwrights used political issues, such as slavery, to explain marriage and drew parallels between slavery and women being sold in markets. Eva’s focus on comedy meant she had identified that women tended to write about domestic issues and it was easier for playwrights to use political issues as they could be disregarded as jokes in comedy.

Our final presenter was Hannah from Social Sciences. Her work explores female strength and power using an ethnographic approach of the sport Strongwoman. Hannah outlined that existing literature identifies sport being traditionally dominated by men, however there has been an increase in women weight lifting and weight training due to more Olympic role models, the rise of social media and an international focus on health. However there remains a dearth of research about Strongwoman. Hannah seeks to explore the subculture of the sport of Strongwoman through ethnography and auto ethnography, using her own experiences. Hannah read two of her diary entries about her recent experience of a Strongwoman competition, sparking questions and discussion from the audience. Comments included; the ethics of an auto ethnographic approach and the difficulty in defining the balance between exercise and health?

Thank you to all of the speakers. 

Upcoming Event: Transgender participation in Sport- informal seminar


26th May 5-6pm

ZZ 105, Matthew Arnold Building

Beth Jones, a PGR student in School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, will be discussing her research with a presentation entitled ‘Physical activity and sport engagement within the transgender population’. In addition, Taylor Le Fin will present Switching Teams, a short film about their journey through gender transition in the world of Roller Derby.


PGR Work-in-Progress Seminar, 29th March

All are welcome to come and hear the diverse work in progress from 4 PhD students within the Gendered Lives research group.

29th March, 3-5 pm, MHL.0.07, downstairs in Martin Hall 

Amita Bhakta (Civil and Building Engineering), ‘Unveiling hidden experiences: Exploring the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Needs of Perimenopausal Women’.

Eleanor Dumbill (English), ‘Eliot and the Trollopes: The Relationships Between Nineteenth-Century Women Writers, their Male Publishers, and the Canon’.

Hannah Newman (Social Sciences), ‘Exploring Female Strength and Power: An Ethnography of Strongwoman’.

Eva Lippold (English), ‘Women in the Theatre: Gender and Comedy, 1760-1800′.

Lesbian Identities – The Gendered Lives Summer Research Seminar

Our summer research seminar welcomes Jana Funke from Exeter and Sarah Parker from Loughborough and focuses upon lesbian identity in the late Victorian and early twentieth-century periods. Abstracts are below and author bios below that. 

2-4 pm, Wednesday 3rd May2017, MHL.0.07, Martin Hall

Jana Funke (University of Exeter), ‘Sexual Modernism, Women’s Writing and Sexual Science: The Case of Bryher and Havelock Ellis’

Sexual science and modernist women’s writing have often been seen as related but oppositional projects: sexual science has been viewed as a field mainly populated by men who tried to classify human sexuality on the basis of biologically defined identity categories and reinforced gendered and heterosexist views of sexual behaviour. Modernist women’s writing, on the other hand, has been celebrated for troubling allegedly ‘normative’ sexual scientific understandings of gender and queering the very concept of sexual identity. Even scholars keen to stress the empowering potential of sexual science have put emphasis on the ways in which female modernists ‘reworked’ or ‘reappropriated’ ideas derived from sexual science, thus overlooking the very reasons why sexual science and modernist women’s writing could exist in productive dialogue in the first place.

This paper works against such antagonistic views by examining the intellectual exchange between Havelock Ellis, the most eminent British sexual scientist, and literary writer Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman). Bryher and Ellis first met in 1919 and developed a friendship that also involved Bryher’s life-long partner, the modernist poet and novelist H. D. Ellis introduced both Bryher and H. D. to recent medical understandings of cross-gender identification and same-sex desire, which fed into Bryher’s early autobiographical novels Development (1920) and Two Selves (1923). Rather than pointing to a one-directional model of influence in which medical views are interrogated and reclaimed by literary writers, the case of Havelock Ellis and Bryher opens up a more nuanced understanding of exchange across disciplinary and gendered boundaries. The paper introduces the concept of ‘sexual modernism’ to capture this dialogue and to work towards a new understanding of sexual science and female, lesbian or Sapphic, and queer modernisms.

Sarah Parker, ‘Looking Femme: Femininity, Sapphic self-fashioning and photographic masquerades, 1890-1920s’

The majority of scholarship on lesbian representation in literature and visual cultures of the late-Victorian and early twentieth-century has tended to focus on gender transgression, drawing on the theories of sexual inversion developed by sexologists such as Havelock Ellis and Kraft-Ebing (who wrote of ‘the masculine soul, heaving in the female bosom’).

This paper will instead look closely at the possibilities for recognising and reading lesbian (or as the subjects would describe it, Sapphic) femininities during this period. I will focus on three interconnected figures: Natalie Barney, Renée Vivien and Olive Custance, analysing their literary self-portraits (autobiography, roman à clef and poetry) and their playful engagement with photographic tableaux and masquerade. The question that unifies my paper is: what does it mean to look femme? This concern links to recent discussions regarding femme histories (see http://notchesblog.com/2017/02/16/femme-histories-roundtable-part-i/) and also connects to my wider project on photographical representations of the woman poet during this period.


Jana Funke is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities, based in the English Department at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on modernist literature and culture, the history of sexuality, sexual science and medicine, and feminist studies and queer theory. Books include The World and Other Unpublished Works by Radclyffe Hall (MUP, 2016), and the co-edited volumes Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (Palgrave, 2011) and Sculpture, Sexuality and History: Encounters in Literature, Culture and the Arts (forthcoming with Palgrave, 2018). In 2015, Jana was awarded a Wellcome Trust Joint Investigator Award to direct (together with Kate Fisher) a major five-year project on the cross-disciplinary history of sexual science. Jana is committed to making her research accessible to wider audiences and collaborating with non-academic publics. Public engagement and impact work includes the Transvengers project (led by Gendered Intelligence); various contributions to the Wellcome Collection’s Institute of Sexology Exhibition and its engagement programme, Sexology Season; and Clay & Diamond’s Orlando: The Queer Element project.

Sarah Parker is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her first monograph is The Lesbian Muse and Poetic Identity, 1889–1930 (2013). Her other publications include articles on Michael Field, Amy Levy, Djuna Barnes and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her most recent article is ‘Framing the Woman Poet: William Archer’s Poets of the Younger Generation (1902)’ in Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens (Autumn 2016).

Gendered Lives Mini-Profiles: Professor Nóra Séllei

Nóra Séllei is from Hungary, working for the Department of British Studies, Institute of English and American Studies at the University of Debrecen as a Professor of English, but she is also the founder of gender studies at the university, and the head of the Gender Studies Centre (http://ieas.unideb.hu/index.php?p=465&l=en). Apart from doing research and publishing several monographs, edited volumes and more than a hundred articles on Victorian and modernist women writers in English literature, she is particularly interested in gendered lives. In 2001, she published a monograph in Hungarian on autobiographical texts by twentieth-century women writers. The basic question posed in the monograph is how the female autobiographical subject is (self-)constructed in Virginia Woolf’s “A Sketch of the Past”, Gertrude Stein’s “Ada” and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Jean Rhys’ Smile Please, Mary McCarthy’s Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood, and in a text by a Hungarian modernist woman: Margit Kaffka. Some of these chapters, even if not in their entirety, are available in English too. In addition, she also published an article on Sylvia Plath’s highly autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, which was selected for republication for Janet McCann’s Critical Insights: The Bell Jar (Passadena, Cal.: Salem Press, 2012.) A further research article written by her is entitled “The Mother in Mourning as the Subject of Autobiography in Rosamond Lehmann’s The Swan in the Evening: Fragments of an Inner Life” that came out in Maternal Subjectivities, in the volume The Personal to the Political: Towards A New Theory of Maternal Narrative edited by Silvia Caporale and Andrea O’Reilly (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna UP, 2009). Her most recent publication in the area of life writing is in Hungarian, a long article (about 80.000 characters) on the war memoir (available in English: One Woman in the War) by a Hungarian woman writer, Alaine Polcz, where she basically tackles the issue of women’s victimisation in war, including rape.

In 2007, she gained an Andrew Mellon scholarship to the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where her research topic was life writing by women. From 2011 to 2013 she participated, as the leader of the Hungarian team, in an international, EU-funded Grundtvig project that was related to gendered lives: “Is Women’s Education (at) Risk”, which asked – and tried to answer – questions relating to the market value of degrees gained by women, and the Hungarian team’s research was based on twelve in-depth interviews: gendered live narratives by women with an arts degree.

She is not only a scholar, but also the Hungarian translator of Virginia Woolf’s Moments of Being and Three Guineas, and Jean Rhys’s Smile, Please.

You can see her full profile at http://ieas.unideb.hu/sellei (click on the English language sign at the top).