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The profession we want

Practical ways to improve Philosophy.

Date: 15 May (10.30-5.30) and 16 May (10-5.30), 2017
Venue: Arthur Lewis Building / Humanities Bridgeford Street 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

Registration is now closed.

About the conference

View or download the provisional conference programme

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.

Delegates are also invited to attend the Dorothy Emmet Lecture (also by Sherri Irvin) and wine reception at 6pm on 15 May (before the conference dinner). More information and free registration


  • 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).
  • Two of the parallel sessions are just across a courtyard from the Arthur Lewis Building, in Humanities Bridgeford Street. This is fully wheelchair-accessible.
  • The Dorothy Emmet Lecture, on Monday night, is in University Place (just the other side of Oxford Road), in Theatre A. Accessibility information is on the DisabledGo page. A hearing loop will be in operation for this.
  • 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 in the conference venue 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. 

Contact information

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

For queries relating to accessibility, registration and Analysis bursaries, please email Helen Beebee (

For general queries about the conference, please email Katharine Jenkins (