Intersectional Feminist Movement at Keele working on getting more women involved in every level of decision making.
The Women of Keele Educate (or W.O.K.E.) project aims to engage with and support all cis and trans women, and non-binary people; encouraging them to run for the paid student politics positions within the two unions (KeeleSU and the Keele Postgraduate Association, also known as KPA) – both of which are very heavily male dominated.
We also want to foster a wider engagement and empowerment of cis and trans women, and non-binary people to take part in decision making across our Keele campus.
Our first year has so far been successful, having carried out most of our aims and mission statements.
Our group was all inspired by the work Celeste Jones has done at Sheffield SU, along with conversations that have been discussed with one of the past female KeeleSU Presidents, Emily Horsfall.
The First Year
In our first year we have run a series of evening public talks which started in October 2018 and occurred every two weeks during term-time on Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. (18:00).
We organized trips to see feminist stand-up comedy, attended protests outside Yarl’s Wood, went to show solidarity with Goldsmiths AntiRacism Occupation, ran #SheShouldRun campaigns in both unions. We had film screenings and workshops and made sure that the needs of those often silenced were heard in various places on campus.
In wider campus activities, our group fed back into shaping a conference at our university: ‘What are universities for now?’ We managed to signpost our very own W.O.K.E Champion, Gabriella Gay, to speak on behalf of all postgraduates at Keele. In addition to this, we also managed to push for more women of colour speakers – two of which were professors we recommended! The recommendations came from the lovely PhD student, Aysha; whilst Sophia pushed for this recommendation to be sought through.
The Year Ahead
Our events always aim to be at various different times of the day and on different weekdays to make it as accessible as possible to the widest collection of people.
W.O.K.E. continues to welcome guest writers for our website, and you can get in contact at any point in the year.
There are recommended topics if you so need some inspiration, but you can also write about personal experiences.
It is hoped that having women’s experiences and learning from them through this website, as well as the many resources available (see reading resources on our menu) for others to follow in our footsteps; we are hoping that this will make it easier for other institutions to make some much needed changes within their own culture too.
We also work with many existing structures on campus, including both student unions, the SU and the KPA, LQBTQ+ Soc, BAME Soc, Decolonise Keele and we have collaborated on projects with two of the institutes, The Institute for Liberal Arts and Science (ILAS) and the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion (KISI). We welcome the chance to work with as many people as possible and are hoping to work more with medics at Keele next year.
How to take part in our mission:
- Speak for us: If you can be a speaker or participate in a panel, coffee morning or event please get in touch.
- Write for us: If you can write for our website, which will have a theme each month and collect women’s experiences – get in touch to let us know.
- Direct the collective: If you have recommended reading or an article that speaks to this project, send it our way! We will collect reading on one of the pages.
- Sponsor an Event: We are currently putting our budget together, if you can sponsor an event over the year, feel free to email us.
- Help us with the Everyday: If you can help with the work to: set up an event, put posters up, help us tidy up, tweet about us, take photos (the list could go on forever) – please volunteer! A community can only be as strong with the support of its members.
- Keep us Accountable: Whenever anything is done for this project, we want to thank everyone and credit ideas and contributions. Please help us with this.
We will be planning the next academic year over the summer so please do get in touch. We should be having some brainstorming days in July.
This academic year of 2018-19 has been filled with so many events and we are blessed to have had so many people willing to get involved.
We would like to thank the incredible amount of people and give credit to where credit is due. The below is in no particular order, and we have probably missed a few people out (get in touch if you see someone is missing):
To our beloved community members in Keele who have worked with and supported W.O.K.E.:
- Aysha Mazhar – unseen labour behind the scenes, providing the resources to make sure women of colour are heard at Keele.
- Cat Hallam, Keele Faculty Learning Technology Officer, for all her work she has done with us, for being a supporting member of staff, for applying for funding for the video made at Keele on micro-aggressions, for attending our events, for contributing to discussions
- Felicity Adams – for setting up the questions to ask Munroe Bergdorf’s interview.
- Ahmed AlKady, BME Officer KeeleSU – for organising shared events such as: Black Women in Education Panel for Black History Month.
- Ade Bakare – co-ran the the Cultural Affairs Project and applied for the Keele Key Fund and received funding for the event; involved in Keele Communities; involved in panels such as Black Women in Education; became involved in protests; one of the hosts for the “In Conversation with Munroe Bergdorf” event; and constantly working hard for W.O.K.E. events, and signposting people to events.
- Phoebe Bell – for the continuous support; signposting, and making spaces more accessible.
- Yasmin Benjelloun – contributing as a writer for our W.O.K.E. website’s blogs; for the emotional support, and attending our events.
- Roxy Birdsall – co-founder of W.O.K.E.; for managing all the expenses and financial sides of W.O.K.E., including securing funding from the KPA trustees; attended many conferences; co-created this website, and for changing procedures within the KPA in order to make it more accessible.
- Emily Brannen – for taking the time to attend WOKE events and unseen emotional labour
- Sarah Briggs – for making the Green Keele W.O.K.E. collaboration possible.
- Phoung Bui, PostGrad Officer KeeleSU – for helping promoting events, especially for promoting Women in Sports; and for always attending W.O.K.E. events.
- Laura Brennan – for all the unseen labour, behind the scenes such as poster designs; and for being the emotional support of the W.O.K.E. community.
- Professor Sorin Baisasu– for applying for the KISI funding and securing it in order to have Munroe be our guest speaker.
- Laura Carter – for writing up a lot of our events; never-ending support of the work of W.O.K.E.; for making spaces more accessible.
- Fides Dagongdong – for contributing to the W.O.K.E.’s blog on the website; attending and supporting events; giving her voice for those who cannot; supporting and attending protests such as the Goldsmiths Anti-Racism Occupation, and an excellent sign maker.
- Molly Drummond – for coining the name for our community, W.O.K.E.; always attending and supporting our events; signposting people to events; general unseen labour behind the scenes, and the emotional support of the W.O.K.E. community.
- Shivy Doyle – working behind the scenes to make LGBT+ spaces on campus more accessible.
- Bethany Edge – ran in the KPA by-elections; participating in our W.O.K.E. events; for leaning into your discomfort, and allowing yourself to learn new things.
- Ele Fisher, Welfare Officer KeeleSU – co-founder of W.O.K.E. and signposted people to W.O.K.E.; designed countless posters and held stalls for W.O.K.E.; embodies intersectional feminist principles in every bit of her work.
- Jeffrey Francis – for being the one who listened at the beginnings of W.O.K.E., and encouraging us from the background; moreover, for helping us with some of the figures and planning.
- Raveena Francis – co-ran the Cultural Affairs Project and applied for the Keele Key Fund to secure funding for the project; involved in Keele Communities together; working with Student Services for Consent Workshops at Keele; newly elected 2019-20 academic year’s BME officer; attended protests such as Yarl’s Wood and Goldsmiths Anti-Racism Occupation; and most of all, for working hard for W.O.K.E. events and signposting people to events.
- Gabriella Gay – for being an inspiration to us all; has ran in the KPA by-elections winning the position of Equality and Diversity Officer; for promoting intersectional feminist events, and for being a regular and active member of the community.
- Zakiya Hussain – for contributing to our W.O.K.E. website’s blogs; the emotional support, and attending events.
- Keele Chaplaincy Team – fantastic support team from the Chaplaincy in so many ways, thank you for always supporting us.
- The lovely people at Keele Sports Centre – Naomi Parton, Mel Piper, Nina Walker – for the meetings to make the Sports Centre a more accessible space, and for their fantastic Women in Sport Talk.
- Amy Kings – invited Munroe Bergdorf to speak; and created our first semester’s email roundup, which included all the work that we had done during the first semester of 2018-19.
- ILAS’ Jo Flynn and Stephen Kilner – it is near impossible to list all of the work that they have done and continue to do behind the scenes, but to mention a few: frequently pushing for intersectional feminist approaches; ensuring there are a broad range of speakers at ILAS from different backgrounds and identities; making sure conferences have a multitude of voices that can be heard, and for listening to the core of W.O.K.E.’s group, they also invited some of WOKE to meet with Professor Iyiola Solanke
- Sophia Taha – co-founder of W.O.K.E.; for being a prestigious leader, humble, self-less and hard-working, and for being the main backbone of our community; for leading and organizing so many of the W.O.K.E. events, and even attended when sick. For the passion that and drive that continually inspires so many of our members, thank you.
- Alisha Mathers– for designing posters; attending events; for writing our current most popular W.O.K.E. blog post which is now on the reading list for all medical students at Keele, and being vocal in social media.
- Alan Borgars – for contributing to writing in our W.O.K.E. website’s blog, attending our events.
- Kiran – a LOT of behind the scenes labour, attending the “Ask Her to Stand” conference last summer, helped with setting up the W.O.K.E. website, and co-founding it; and for the continuous emotional support.
- Professor Farzana Shain – for being a great speaker; for helping with a lot of the unseen work, and for her great feminist work, working with us to decolonize the curriculum, listening to students, and collaborating on intersectional events.
- Dr Anne Loweth, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students, for launching WOKE at the start of the academic year, and sharing her journey in academia as a mature student and mother.
- Celeste Jones – for talking to us via skype, for doing work that inspired us.
- Emily Horshal – for taking the time to talk to WOKE, for inspiring us before we started, for supporting us emotionally along the way.
- Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party, for an inspiring talk at the very start of WOKE, for being down to earth, approachable and encouraging. Thank you.
- Leonie – For doing a fantastic workshop with us, it was work for those that attended and created some controversy to apparently far right Americans! The workshop “White Tears are Racist” was essential work as part of intersectional feminism.
- Fiona Wood, Former Staff SU President and First Trans President in the NUS, thank you for inspiring us, coming to talk to us, and encouraging our members to stand for positions to create change.
- Professor Zoe Robinson – for running our active listening workshop, and agreeing to do it again soon!
- Lucy Yates – for organizing the women in education panel as part of Green Week, for all her unseen labour
- Dr Mariangela Pallidino – for supporting us, for speaking to us about her own journey through precarious citizenship, for inspiring us and attending events.
- Dr Sorcha Ui Chonnachtaigh – for inspiring us and attending our events, for all her work as an intersectional feminist
- Munroe Bergdorf – for inspiring us and coming to speak to us
- Tia – for being our unofficial official photographer
Thank you all, for your continuous and incredible support. We are beyond grateful towards all of you.
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Women of Keele Educate