Historically salons have been a force for women’s education and disseminating and debating progressive political ideas. St Hilda’s College, Oxford, was a women’s college from 1893-2008.
Contemporary feminism is vibrant, challenging and riddled with conflicts. The St Hilda’s Feminist Salon is a space to bridge the gap between feminist theory and practice, and to discuss the complexities of feminism today.
For each salon a guest is invited to act as host. A range of exciting speakers are invited, from the cutting edge of feminist theory, art and activism. Each salon will be different.
The salon will be available on the internet and people outside Oxford can participate by sending in questions via twitter or facebook.
I had an amazing experience speaking at the St. Hilda’s Feminist Salon. The organisers of this salon were very inviting, flexible, and open to what and how I wanted to share. This made for a relaxed environment, and very inviting space to openly discuss topics I felt were relevant to my work and the salon. I notably enjoyed the unstructured approach to sharing. There was no prescribed style expected. This definitely contributed to the great discussions and insightful questions. I highly recommend this salon to anyone who is interested in questioning dominant knowledge systems, and who wants to learn about current real issues impacting women today. I am thankful for the opportunity to connect with incredible people and have important, relevant dialogue in this safe space for sharing.
Lisa Monchalin, a former host
The salons create an amazing intimate space where people come together to discuss and understand intersectional feminism. Not just in an academic way that is distant from the day-to-day realities of activists. In the salons, we explore the joys and sorrows of feminist activism, of going through life with an awareness of feminist issues. It is a space where we gather together to comprehend the nuances of oppression, of inequality. The salons have been an invaluable contribution to our Oxford community.
Hamsa Rajan, a former discussant
I had the absolute pleasure of addressing a St Hilda’s Salon in March 2017. I co-presented with Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A. (Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion) about the impact of the restrictive abortion laws in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man on people who want to end their pregnancies. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the evening was a great mix of questions and questioning, of making and breaking assumptions. I think we all learned something. I would recommend this event to anyone who seeks a unique opportunity to have an intimate discussion with a group of engaged students.
Mara Clarke, a former host
It was a pleasure and a privilege to be the discussant for the very first Feminist Salon at St. Hilda’s. It was particularly nice to join a dear friend and colleague, Fatemeh Shams, with whom I’d collaborated in the past but about whom I learned many new things that evening. Both of us and many audience members felt like the structure and ‘feel’ of the salon were refreshingly different from the usual academic talks we get at Oxford. No doubt the intimate setting encouraged the searing openness with which Fatemeh reflected on the effects of gender ideologies on her life and poetry. It was a truly unique and memorable event, impeccably prepared by the organisers.
Zuzanna Olszewska, a former discussant
We were honoured to be invited to speak at the Feminist Salon. The meeting was well-organised, we had an engaged audience and a most interesting discussion on disabled women, intersectionality, and what Sisters of Frida as a collective [does]. Many thanks to our host for making our visit accessible as well.
Zara Todd and Eleanor Lisney (Sisters of Frida), former hosts