Below is the programme as it has run previously.

This programme offers non-academic activists working around issues of gender and/or sexuality a funded residency (1-2 months with flexibility) at the University of Brighton. The aim is to foster connections and intellectual and political exchange between academics and non-academic activists. Applicants don’t need any academic background or training, just a desire to develop and share activist knowledges around gender and sexuality.

The residency will give activists access to the University’s resources (including desk space, venues/rooms, media equipment, art practice spaces, lectures, libraries, journals, a web page with long-term hosting, administrative support, and academic staff). In addition, the Activist-In-Residence will receive a budget of £2,000 to be spent on new or existing activist projects/activities, travel, accommodation, living expenses, and other desired resources to support their residency. Activists do not need an existing project to apply, and are welcome to use the time and resources just to help advance their thinking and develop new ideas.

During the residency the Activist-In-Residence will use the University’s resources to develop their activist thinking, work, or projects; and to contribute to the University’s intellectual and political culture. We hope that the Activist-In-Residence will directly engage the University’s staff and students in some way – this might involve:

  • Meeting, discussing, and working with academic staff, students, and local activists
  • Explaining their work and thought in a public presentation
  • Running a workshop
  • Planning an arts exhibition
  • Writing a publication
  • Designing a zine, video, or podcast

We welcome applications from activists who do critical work around many issues of gender and sexuality, from a variety of perspectives. This might include (but is by no means limited to):

  • Menstrual liberation and period activism
  • Queer men’s body image
  • Asexuality and ace activism
  • Spaces of misogynoir
  • Bi invisibility in the media
  • Reproductive rights and abortion
  • Digital media and dating apps
  • Activisms based in LGBTQ subcultures
  • Domestic abuse and coercive control
  • Pride events and people of colour
  • Improving intersex healthcare
  • Histories of gender and sexuality activisms

The application process of 2020

To apply for the University of Brighton’s Gender & Sexuality Activist-in-Residence Programme, the call is made to complete the application form and send to sexgencentre@brighton.ac.uk by specifed date .

The process for selection is that a successful applicant will be chosen by a selection panel from CTSG and Radical Futures, including an activist from the local area. When reviewing applications the panel will consider: the fit with the ethos and aims of the CTSG and Radical Futures; the potential for cultural and societal impact; the potential for dialogue and knowledge exchange between the hosting institution and the activist in residence. The decision will be announced in March, and the residency is expected to begin from April (with some flexibility). The residency must have been completed and approved costs claimed by end of July.

International applications are welcome but while we are happy to provide a letter of invitation the programme cannot pay for visas. Individuals who wish to represent larger activist groups are welcome to apply.


2023 Shanshan Ouyang   


The 2023 CTSG and CAPPE Gender, Sexuality and the Politics of Disability Activist in Residence is Shanshan Ouyang (she/ her), who is a Chinese graduate student from the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Ritsumeikan University, Japan and a LGBTQ+ activist, in residence 7 -28 June.

Shanshan is interested in the experiences of LGBTQ+ people with disability, and their participation in social movements, and has done research on an activist group from Taiwan named “Disable+Queer”. At her home university, she’s a member of LGBTQ+ student groups and is involved in advocacy for improving the accessibility of LGBTQ+ events, including Pride Parades in Japan. The focus of Shanshan’s project while in residence here at the University of Brighton is to explore how LGBTQ+ youth (including students) with disabilities participate in the LGBTQ+ movement. She will host an event around this based on her experiences and research about LGBTQ+ events in Japan, (date TBC) but would also like to meet and discuss with as many students as possible how they participate LGBTQ+ movements, and to hear their ideas for how Pride can be made more accessible to people with disabilities. You can contact Shanshan via the CTSG at sexgencentre@brighton.ac.uk


2020-2021 Ven Paldano and Shona Raine   

University appoints first Activists-in-Residence

The University of Brighton has appointed its first Activists-in-Residence to work on issues of gender and sexuality.

The first two chosen are Ven Paldano and Shona Raine from the Queer Trans Intersex People of Colour (QTIPoC) Narratives Collective Brighton.

They will receive a £2,000 budget to work for between one and two months on a project exploring the ways folklore has subverted oppressive systems and institutions that have silenced historical cultures of indigenous gender fluidity.


Ven Paldano (they / them) is a non-binary trans-masculine QPoC entrepreneur, architectural assistant and community organiser, who co-founded Brighton QTIPoC Narratives Collective to make ‘safer space’ for QTIPoC. As someone who works in property renovations and until recently a restaurateur, they are particularly focused on the power and application of craft, skill sharing, community mental health and wellbeing. Through pragmatism and a do-it-yourself attitude, they have immersed them-self in learning the skills of site carpentry, plastering, BBQ from Southern American Pitmasters and French cooking for the last fifteen years. These disciplines have led them to question the effects of colonialism within their own gender identity, the built environment, how property laws have driven us to today’s oppressive border control systems, the roots that drive neoliberal property development schemes and the definition of ‘safe space’. They will be continuing their RIBA Part 2 studies in Architecture at the RCA with an aim to focus on policies that isolate the marginalised in urban space.

Shona Raine (they / she) is a QTIPoC writer and poet, currently studying Yoga and BSc Psychology. Dealing mainly with themes of identity, prejudice, myths and mental health, Shona uses poetry, art and yoga as therapy; hoping to support people of colour fighting to carve out new lives and possibilities. Having found that disability, chronic pain and disabling societal structures have left Shona’s selfhood quite disjointed, writing and creating have become a way of building anew and re-centring Shona in their own narrative.

Shona is deeply inspired by the Sankofa, an Adinkra symbol which reminds of the importance of using lessons and wisdom from the past to build progressive and joyful futures. The Sankofa grounds Shona in their practice, a reminder of how communities can begin imagining and taking action towards building alternative realities. The Sankofa also stands as an indelible visual reminder of the practice of psychology around the world. These ways of knowing are often unacknowledged by dominant western narratives and the education system, which centre whiteness and inaccessible academic theory. Shona hopes to share what they are learning through Psychology with their peers, in order to combat isolation and help create reciprocal community space where each person is valued and supported.

Both Ven and Shona have found solace in community space reclaiming and building due to the challenges they have faced in accessing space through institutions, as a result of their intersecting identities. In a world where meritocracy is an oppressive structural key that the most marginalised must partake in if they wish to access space on their terms; they are keen to use their status as insiders / outsiders to agitate knowledge production through narrative and craft.

The programme has been launched by the University’s Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender and Radical Futures, which harnesses disruptive ideas, open debate and progressive thinking to redress inequalities and social injustices of the twenty-first century.

Dr Olu Jenzen, Director of the Centre, said: “Ven Paldano and Shona Raine’s project has real potential for cultural and societal impact both locally, nationally and beyond, and we very much look forward to fruitful dialogue and knowledge exchange.

“The hope is that our community will find themselves in these hidden stories and find empowerment and inspiration in the fact that people of colour have found ways to resist subjugation in a world where much of our known histories are about succumbing. The Activists-in-Residence will also work on how to achieve more accessible private and public space for QTIPoC.”

The programme offers non-academic activists working on issues of gender and or sexuality, a funded residency aimed at fostering connections and exchanges with academics.

Dr Jenzen said the Activists-In-Residence will use the University’s resources to develop their activist thinking, work, or projects, and to contribute to the University’s intellectual and political culture: “We hope that the Activist-In-Residence will directly engage the University’s staff and students.”

Applications came from around the UK and abroad including India and Hungary.

As Dr Jenzen said: “We invited applications from activists who do critical work around many issues of gender and sexuality, from a variety of perspectives. We were very happy about the interest we have received in the residency and we were excited about receiving such a fantastic range of applications.”

Dr Nick McGlynn, who chaired the selection panel, said of the chosen project: “This was such an excellent proposal, pushing the bounds of scholarly and activist work in really interesting and challenging directions. It brought together multiple marginalised communities and offered a fully realised creative vision of the proposed activities.”

Professor Mark Devenney, Academic lead for the Radical Futures said: “The University is committed to exploring Radical Futures for a planet that is in crisis. The Activist-in-Residence programme does exactly this. It challenges all staff and students at the University to engage with the deep legacies of inequality and oppression that constitute the world we live in – and it fosters our engagement with local and global communities committed to challenging every form of inequality.  We are thrilled to welcome Ven Paldano and Shona Raine as the first Activists-in-Residence. Their focus on intersectional struggles and on the suppression of gender fluid indigenous histories is already transformative. We are sure it will have the same affects in the University.”