Public keynote by Professor Emma Renold: "Ruler-skirt Risings: making da(r)ta and dartaphacts for ethico-political research assemblages"
Time and Location: Monday June 10, 9-10, PR101
“A choreographing of the political sees minor gestures everywhere at work, and it seizes them” (Manning 2016, p. 130).
In the spring of 2015, myself and a group of 15 year old teen girls made a graffitied ruler-skirt to lift the silence on routinsed sexual harassment and violence, in school, online and in their community - a post-industrial semi-rural Welsh valleys town in Merthyr Tydfil (UK). Unplanned, the idea to create a ruler-skirt arose from a throw-away comment by one of the girls; “boys lift up girls skirts with rulers”. It was one of those moments where an affective ‘snap’ (Ahmed 2016) meets creative ‘run(a)way methodologies’ (Renold, Ivinson and Angharad 2017) and “things in the making cut their transformational teeth” (Massumi 2015, ix). In a flash, the ruler seemed to become what Erin Manning (2016, p.1) calls a ‘minor gesture’ - an “always political (…) gestural force that opens up experience to its potential variation”.
The ruler-skirt has been activating and making ripples and waves in and across policy, practice and activist spaces that none of us could have predicted three years on. In dialogue with a rich history of experimenting with what else post-qualitative research on gender, sexuality and schooling can do, and in dialogue with posthuman feminist-queer scholarship in educational studies (e.g. Taylor and Ivinson 2013; Taylor and Hughes 2016; Osgood and Robinson 2018; Ringrose, Warfield and Baradisi, 2019), this presentation offers a collective of ruler-skirt risings (attuning to the revolutionary forces of Merthyr Rising in 1831). Each rising provides a glimpse of an affirmative pARTicipatory embodied process and practice that remains ‘on the edge’ – a tentative cartography that makes itself felt across a range of fields, in micro-resonating moments (e.g. the up-skirting comment, a ruler-rattle) and macro force-fields of change (e.g. an activist tool-kit, a national curriculum, a law). Being ‘open to the insistence of the possibles, and of the pragmatic, as the art of response-ability’ (Debaise and Stengers 2017, p.19) is only sustainable, however, through collaboration and the regular nurturing of multiple ethico-political assemblages that have taken years to trust in and forge.
Emma Renold is Professor of Childhood Studies at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales. She is the author of 'Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities' (2005), Children, Sexuality and Sexualisation' (with Jessica Ringrose and Danielle Egan, 2015) and the co-editor of the book series “Routledge Critical Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Education”. Inspired by feminist, queer and new materialist posthumanist theory, her research investigates how gender and sexuality come to matter in children and young people’s everyday lives across diverse sites, spaces and locales. Here, (see www.productivemargins.ac.uk) she has explored the affordances of co-productive, creative and affective methodologies to engage social and political change with young people on gendered and sexual violence, including the co-production of the creative-activist resource for young people and practitioners, ‘AGENDA’ (see www.agendaonline.co.uk). Emma recently chaired the Welsh Government's expert panel on the future of sexuality and relationships education in Wales (Renold and McGeeney 2017), and is regularly consulted in supporting the implementation of the recommendations. In 2018 Emma was winner of the ESRC Impact in Society Prize – a landmark achievement for how feminist-queer qualitative research-activisms can inform policy and practice.
The Keynote is part of a PhD course Moving with PhEmaterialist and Creative Methodologies for Research, Activism and Change, organised by Adj. Prof Tuija Huuki and PhD Suvi Pihkala. The course is organized by Academy of Finland funded project ‘Gender-based violence in pre-teen relationship cultures: How history, place, affect and arts interventions matter’ and University of Oulu, Faculty of Education / Gender studies.
Last updated: 7.6.2019