"Surviving Violence" conference

Pragna Patel  speaking into a microphone

A two-day multidisciplinary conference was held in Wadham College, University of Oxford as part of the British Academy funded project Surviving Violence: Everyday Resilience and Gender Justice in Rural-Urban India (‘Surviving Violence’).

The conference engaged with research on violence against women in their everyday lives and how survivors, especially those at the margins in different jurisdictions, experience, navigate, negotiate and/or resist institutional and cultural norms as well as legal rights, services, and provisions. The conference saw vibrant discussions in four panels and two roundtables by a multitude of speakers and an inspiring keynote on Day One by Pragna Patel, co-founder of the Southall Black Sisters. The conversations added to the discussions in feminist legal theory and feminist geolegality that are concerned with the myriad ways in which women create spaces to cope, if not thrive, in the face of the everyday violence in their lives. The primary themes that centred these conversations were: (I) the systemic violence perpetuated against women and girls by legal and social infrastructures; (II) the compounded vulnerabilities faced by migrant or minoritised women, with intersecting identities, in multicultural or plural legal systems; (III) visual art as transformative and a tool for resisting violence; and (IV) feminist transnational solidarities, collaborations, and other strategies for future interventions.

Shazia Choudry presenting to an audience

From the two days of panels, and conversations, many key questions on the journey forward were raised and many solutions provided. The questions spoke about survivors of gender-based violence, perpetrators of such violence, and infrastructures that support the violence.

Panel of 5 women sitting behind a white table

The diversity of presenters and panellists brought to the fore many intersections of experiences, ideas, and disciplines each providing new insights on how we understand gender-based violence and creating possibilities of collaborations on addressing it together.

A display board with text on it describing the Photography exhibiton

Alongside the conference was a photography exhibition displaying images which aim to reframe domestic violence by shifting the focus from the violent effect and victims onto the endemic and everyday nature of domestic violence and 'survival work'.  The exhibition will soon be on display at Queen Mary University in London.