School of the Arts, English and Drama

Staff research

Feminist Methodologies || 20-21 March 2018, Loughborough University, UK

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. 

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

This session discusses the influence of feminist research methods and theories on the reflexive turn in the social sciences. The work of feminists in the 1970s was crucial for recognizing and drawing attention to the androcentric nature of social research prior to that period: done by men, for men, and in the interests of men (Golde, 1970; Easterday et al. 1982; Harding, 1987; Warren, 1988; Stanley and Wise, 1990). Feminist writers such as Oakley (1981) highlighted the hygienic nature of research accounts which failed to acknowledge that the researcher is part of the world that she/he is studying and that participants are not merely ‘objects’ of research. Examples will be drawn on to highlight the intersectionalities and positionalities of female researchers in a range of research settings, and which highlight the power dynamics at plan. It is argued that a reflexive-feminist awareness of our research is even more pertinent in the current socio-political-cultural context, and more specifically in relation to the rise of managerialism, audit culture, and ‘fast academia’ (O’Neill, 2014; Lumsden and Goode, 2017) in UK universities. I will consider how we can carve out a space for reflexivity in this challenging environment.


Dr Line Nyhagen (Sociology, Loughborough University)

Embedding Memory Work/Experience Stories in Your Research and/or Teaching Practice

Session 1
The first part of session 1 introduces you to the innovative pedagogical and research method of memory work/experience stories. We look at the origins of memory work as a method, at examples of research, and at examples of the use of memory work as a pedagogical tool in the classroom. We then move on to examine in more detail the different phases involved in doing memory work. The workshop will collectively discuss and agree on a topic that we will be writing our experience stories about. The topic will be of relevance to gendered forms of behaviour and/or other forms of intersecting identities and inequalities. The second part of session 1 includes an individual writing session where the workshop tutor and participants write their own (anonymous) experience stories.

Session 2
The anonymous experience stories form session 1 will have been typed up and copied so that they are ready to be discussed and analysed in this session. We will read and discuss the stories in teams, and then discuss them collectively. The aim of the discussions is to analyse the stories, make sociological observations about them, and to link them to relevant academic scholarship on gender and/or other intersecting identities and inequalities.


Dr Tiffany Page (Sociology, University of Cambridge) 

Vulnerable Research and Writing as Feminist Methods

This workshop-style session will introduce theories of vulnerability and direct these towards questions and ways of engaging with the challenges and difficulties of how to represent the lives of others, and your own, within research. We will discuss how it might be possible to write vulnerably or to explicate and recognise vulnerability in writing.


Professor Hilary Robinson (Art History, Loughborough University) 

The Anthology as Feminist Space: Practice, Theory and Academic Politicss

This presentation will take Feminist-Art-Theory 1968-2000 and Feminist-Art-Theory 1968-2014 as case study. I will address the academic and political impulses for the books, the methods used in structuring the books and why, and the feminist professional struggles that resulted form the publication of the first edition.


Dr Karen Schaller (English, University of East Anglia)

Affect and Feminist Pedagogy in the Literature Seminar

‘Contact’ does important work in how teaching and learning are framed in British universities. The form and time of contact (one hour lecture, three hour seminar) are metrics that academics account for in module documentation, programme specifications and promotional materials, and staff contact is one of the qualities of course experience measured by the NSS. For both students and academics, ‘contact’ is also affective: whether at admissions events, in student feedback, or academic workload discussions, ‘contact’ surfaces as a site of anxiety between the different bodies – students, academics, administration – involved in university education. Preoccupied with contact time, however, we rarely talk about what we mean by contact itself: from ‘touching together’, contact reminds us that university pedagogy is affective and embodied. In this paper I want to explore what’s at stake in ‘contact’ by asking three questions from my own practice in literary studies: what are the forms and affects of contact already at work in the literature seminar? How might these matter for feminist pedagogy? And what can we learn from disciplines that specialise in contact work? My paper will bring together current dialogues about the affective practices of literary studies, practical examples from my own experiences of feminist teaching and learning, and reflections from my own engagement with fields that specialise in contact and body work about their relation to literary studies.


Dr Sumi Madhok (London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)) 

On Doing a Feminist Historical Ontology of Human Rights

Recently, 'decolonising the academy' has acquired a renewed theoretical and a political urgency and resolve. This urgency has taken the form of methodological, pedagogical and epistemic critiques: of finding different methods, of producing different histories and intellectual trajectories and, of teaching different curriculums. This lecture considers these decolonizing interventions within feminist and mainstream scholarship in order to argue that work on alternative trajectories and different genealogies must be supplemented by scholarship aimed at conceptual production -- this is significant, if we are to disrupt and shift the epistemic center of knowledge production. But how does one engage in this work of epistemic disruption? And what does it involve methodologically? Drawing on my current research on human rights/vernacular rights cultures in South Asia, I outline the decolonising significance of doing conceptual work on gender and human rights from the global south and explore some of the epistemic shifts this might put in place. Methodologically, I consider feminist historical ontology as a potentially enabling conceptual-empirical methodological apparatus for documenting the stakes and struggles over rights and human rights in ‘most of the world’, and thereby enabling also of ‘epistemic disruption’.

Venue: Martin Hall, Loughborough University, Epinal Way, Loughborough, LE11 3TU. For a campus map click here.

Travelling by train: Loughborough is approximately a 90-minute train journey from London, an hour from Birmingham, or two hours from Manchester or Leeds. Direct trains to Loughborough depart from London St Pancras, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, and York. A shuttle bus service from Loughborough rail station to the university runs throughout the year and departs up to every 10 minutes.

Travelling by air: The nearest airport is East Midlands. The yellow Skylink bus service from the airport to Leicester goes right through the centre of Loughborough. Buses depart every 20-30 minutes during the day from stand D outside the airport arrivals hall.

Travelling by car: Loughborough University is two miles from junction 23 on the M1. The University is clearly signposted on all other main routes. Car parking on campus can be difficult so you may wish to leave your car at your hotel or the station and get public transport to campus.

Accommodation at Loughborough University

  • Burleigh Court
  • A limited number of rooms are available in student halls on campus. These can be booked through the online store link

Accommodation in the town

There is a good range of accommodation suitable for different budgets in the town

**Other hotels are available, including links to these hotels does not consitute an endorsement on the part of the organisers

Booking for the conference is now open and will close at noon on 5 March 2018

Delegate rates

The delegate rate includes refreshments during the conference, and there is an optional buffet lunch on both days and a conference meal 

  • External standard rate £40.00
  • External postgraduate students £10.00
  • Loughborough University staff and students - Free of charge, but please contact us for the password to register your attendance

Optional extras

  • Optional buffet lunch on both days £12.00
  • Optional conference meal £16.50
  • Optional one night's accommodation on campus in student halls £40.00 (**limited availability for bookings before 31 December 2017**)


Book your place at the event now via our online store

Tuesday March 20th

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM Registration.

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM Welcome.

10:45 AM – 12:45 PM Workshop: Memory Work, Part 1, with Dr Line Nyhagen.

12:45 PM – 1:45 PM Lunch and networking.

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Talk: Contact Work: Affect and Feminist Pedagogy in the Literature Seminar, with Dr Karen Schaller.

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Comfort break.

Two parallel sessions (please note, due to their capped number of participants, both sessions will run again tomorrow):

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Workshop: Vulnerable Research and Writing as Feminist Methods, with Dr Tiffany Page.

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Talk: Reflexivity and Feminism in Social Research, with Dr Karen Lumsden.


4:30 PM – 4:45 PM Comfort break, with tea and coffee.

4:45 PM – 5:45 PM Talk: The Anthology of Feminist Space: Practice, Theory and Academic Politics, with Professor Hilary Robinson.

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Performance (TBC) and wine reception.

8:00 PM Dinner in town.

Wednesday March 21st

09:00 AM – 09:15 AM Welcome

09:15 AM – 10:15 AM Talk: On doing a feminist historical ontology of human rights, with Dr Sumi Madhok.

10:15 – 10:30 AM Comfort break, with tea and coffee.

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Workshop: Memory Work, Part 2, with Dr Line Nyhagen.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch and networking.


Two parallel sessions:

1:30 PM -3:00 PM Reflexivity and Feminism in Social Research, with Dr Karen Lumsden.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Workshop: Vulnerable Research and Writing as Feminist Methods, with Dr Tiffany Page.


3:00 PM – 3:15 PM: Comfort break, with tea and coffee.

3:15 PM – 4:00 PM Roundtable and Discussion (all presenters and participants).

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Evaluation and Ending.


Hosted by

Sponsored by

and co-organised by Dr Jennifer Cooke, Dr Line Nyhagen, and PhD students Hazel McMichael, Hannah Newman and Sian Lewis