Gender transformations in higher education
Bell A., Hawkins L., Kelleher L., Lambert C., Lexmond J., Lyle S., Nordin A., Parker A., Perrier M., Rayment J.
This paper offers a critical perspective on issues around gender and sexual transformation within the context of UK Higher Education. Drawing on qualitative data carried out by undergraduate and postgraduate students, the analysis explores some of the diverse and often challenging ways in which young/er women and men are thinking and talking about gender, sexuality and feminism, as well as their strategies for turning ideas into political action. The research focuses on the activities and opinions of students belonging to an anti-sexist organisation within one UK university, who are engaged in campaigns to raise awareness about the damaging effects of gender and sexual inequalities, as well as promoting the popular appeal of contemporary feminisms. Locating the voices and research findings of the students themselves at the centre of the discussion, the paper is produced collaboratively between students and teachers who are involved in both the activist and research elements of this project. The paper also argues for (and provides evidence of) the transformative potential of alternative and critical forms of student engagement and student/ staff collaboration in relation to gender informed academic activism.