Gender, Activism and Criminal Justice

University of Brighton, 24 May 2017

The School of Applied Social Science is hosting a one-day symposium on Wednesday 24 May 2017, which aims to bring together established scholars in criminology with a range of activists, campaigning and pressure groups.

The event aims at in-depth exploration of the opportunities and limitations of ‘activist criminology’, the methodological, philosophical and political issues raised by activist-academic collaborations, and it seeks to create a space where we can form new relations and collaborations, as much as critically interrogate relationships of this kind.

Questions we aim to explore include: To what extend can (and should) advocacy work in criminal justice be informed by academic research agendas? Is academic impact on campaign strategies desirable and how could it be measured and assessed? Should academics resist the call to produce practically-relevant research in an effort to maintain intellectual independence from political action?

The event will focus specifically on the impact and responses to gendered harms in the criminal justice arena. This allows us to draw from the insights of feminism campaigns, as well as from the wide literature and advocacy networks exploring the relationships of gender and the criminal justice system.

Key Speakers


  • Dr. Julia Downes (Open University) has led an important project on ‘sexual violence in activist communities’. There will be responses from feminist campaigners.


  • Dr. Emily Luise Hart (University of Lancaster) has carried out ethnographic work with women in prisons. Her work will be responded to by criminal justice campaigners involved in activism around the closure of Holloway prison and future plans for the site’s redevelopment.


  • Dr. Vicky Canning (Open University) has gained recognition for her work on migrants in immigration detention, especially female asylum seekers. Activists from a campaign to close Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre will be invited to discuss this work.

Draft Conference Programme



Raphael Schlembach:

Greta Squire:

Deanna Dadusc:

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