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Philosophy

The Profession We Want

Practical Ways to Improve Philosophy.

Date: May 15-16, 2016
Venue: Arthur Lewis Building, Oxford Road, Manchester
Organised by: The Society for Women in Philosophy UK and the British Philosophical Association
Supported by: The Mind Association and the Analysis Trust

About the conference

The discipline of philosophy has for a long time been a needlessly difficult environment for women and the members of other marginalised and/or minoritised groups (including, but not limited to, groups marginalised/minoritised on the basis of race, class, disability status, and sexual orientation). Some progress has been made, especially over the last few years, in understanding and responding to the causes and consequences of this fact.

In the UK, this includes the success of the BPA-SWIP Good Practice Scheme, the expansion of Athena Swan scheme to philosophy and other humanistic disciplines in the UK, and the forthcoming introduction of the Race Equality Charter.

Other encouraging signs include initiatives made by some departments, student groups, journals, and learned societies.

In this context of understanding and change, SWIP is seeking to lay further foundations for progress by identifying effective ways to practically respond to these problems at a departmental, national and disciplinary level. This crucially involves identifying effective strategies, implementing urgent actions, and allocating specific tasks to organisations, groups or individuals who are in a position to monitor and develop them. This conference is devoted to these aims.

As well as offering theoretical resources, we are interested in talks and sessions with a more practical character. Accordingly, the second afternoon of the conference will be devoted to a two-part collaborative planning session. The first half of this session will aim to identify actions of immediate priority and strategies for implementing these, and the second half will aim to establish which organisations, groups or individuals are best able to take these on and how they can be supported to carry them out.

The conference will be run in accordance with the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme guidelines.

Keynote Speaker: Sherri Irvin

Sherri is Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Social Justice at the University of Oklahoma. She has participated in or led initiatives to develop best practices for fair hiring, recruit a more diverse graduate student population, and train faculty members in dismantling dynamics of racism, sexism, classism and ableism in the classroom. She regularly gives workshops on such topics as inclusive pedagogy, combating implicit bias, and fair hiring, tenure and promotion procedures.

Call for submissions

Deadline: 1 February 2017

We invite submissions that address one or both of the following aims:

1. To promote the improvement of the profession, for example by assessing strategies and techniques; identifying, pooling and disseminating resources; and fostering the development of relevant skills.

2. To provide practical support for those who have been or who may be negatively impacted by the problems affecting the profession, including mentoring, advising, and skill-sharing.

Submissions could take a variety of forms. We welcome each of the following:

  • Traditional philosophical papers on relevant topics. These might include implicit bias, stereotype threat, syllabus diversification, alternative histories, structural injustice, and norms of philosophical practice. We welcome papers with an empirical component, papers that take an intersectional approach, and papers that focus on the specific issues raised by a particular axis of marginalisation/minoritisation. Papers should be suitable for presentation in 20 minutes.
  • Symposia and roundtable discussions. These could feature any number of participants. They should be no longer than an hour and a half.
  • Practical workshops and participatory sessions. These could take a variety of forms, and could be directed towards either or both of the workshop aims. Examples of the sorts of proposals we welcome include sessions aimed at skills building and sharing, sessions aimed at collaborative assessment of proposals for action, sessions aimed at disseminating information about resources and organizations, problem based sessions, and facilitated discussions. They should be no longer and an hour and a half.

Submissions for individual papers should take the form of an abstract and should be no more than 750 words long. Submissions for symposia, roundtables, practical workshops, and participatory sessions should be no more than 1000 words, and should explain the aims and content of the session and the desired length of the session (up to a maximum of an hour and a half).

We welcome submissions for individuals, groups, and organisations. Individual and group submissions should be suitable for anonymous review; submissions from organizations can be anonymised or not at the preference of the organisation and based on practicality.

Submissions should be emailed to tpww2017@gmail.com by Wednesday 1 February. We aim to complete the review process by the end of February. (Note: Please use this email address for submissions only; for other enquiries, please contact the organisers directly.)

Accessibility

  • Full accessibility information about the venue (Arthur Lewis Building) is available from the DisabledGo website. The building, all of the conference rooms and the quiet room are fully wheelchair-accessible, and there is disabled parking about 50m from the building entrance in a marked bay on Bridgeford Street (access via Higher Cambridge Street: no vehicle access from Oxford Road).
  • Please let us know when you register if you require a hearing loop so that we can ensure that we have enough to cover the break-out sessions.
  • The nearest hotel is the Ibis Hotel on Princess Street, which has rooms suitable for those with limited mobility; please call or email the hotel to discuss your requirements with them. It is about 1200m away from the ALB; however the 147 bus is wheelchair-accessible and stops about 20m from the hotel, and maybe 100m from the ALB. If this is unsuitable, you can book a wheelchair-accessible taxi from the hotel reception desk. 
  • All mantax taxis are wheelchair accessible. They are the largest taxi company in Manchester so you're pretty likely to be able to pick one up from the taxi rank at Piccadilly or Oxford Road station; you can also book one by phone or online. The 147 bus also goes from Piccadilly (across the street, under the railway bridge) to the hotel (and from there to the University). 
  • There will be a dedicated quiet room available throughout the event.
  • Attendees with any specific access needs are invited to contact the organisers directly with any queries. If you have needs that have cost implications (e.g. BSL interpreter), please get in touch; we may be able to fund this. 

Registration and costs

Registration will open in 2017. The registration fee will be kept as low as possible (current projection: £30 Non-SWIP members, £25 SWIP members and supporters, £10 student/unemployed/under-employed [note: this will be a self-designating category]). We have some Analysis Trust bursaries that will cover 50% of the accommodation costs of a limited number of postgraduates and recent underfunded postgraduates. We are committed to ensuring that financial considerations do not present a barrier to participation; where necessary, we will work with participants to try to secure funding to cover travel and accommodation. 

Contact information

The conference organisers are Helen Beebee (Manchester), Katharine Jenkins (Nottingham), Ian Kidd (Nottingham) and Jenny Saul (Sheffield).

For queries relating to the Call for Submissions, please email Ian Kidd (ian.kidd@nottingham.ac.uk).

For queries relating to accessibility and registration, please email Helen Beebee (helen.beebee@manchester.ac.uk).

For general queries about the conference, please email Katharine Jenkins (katharine.jenkins@nottingham.ac.uk).