2017 CASWE/ACEFE Institute: Intersectional & Intergenerational Feminism

Our biannual CASWE/ACÉFE Institute focusing on Intersectional & Intergenerational Feminism took place at Ryerson University on May 28th, 2017 as part of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) annual conference. We welcomed over 30 individuals from a variety of perspectives on feminist scholarship to present, share and discuss issues of intergenerational and intersectional feminism relevant our personal and professional practice.

Session 1. Video screening: Women Warriors 

IMG_1267To open the institute. CASWE President, Kathy Sanford shared a video co-produced with Darlene Clover and Bruno Jayme from the University of Victoria that focused on a recent conference held in Victoria, BC featuring Women Warriors. The screening of the video prompted rich and interesting discussions of the meanings of and responsibilities in intersectional and intergenerational feminism.

Session 2. Partner Panel

Following the discussions, the institute hosted a panel presentation with speakers from McGill University and the University of Ottawa. The panel was comprised of two sets of IMG_1279partners who had been exploring intersectional/intergenerational feminism through reflexive interrogations of their own positioning in the academy. Claudia Mitchell & Lisa Starr, McGill University  from McGill University discussed the metaphors of roads less travelled and open spaces to illustrate the need for us to continue to critique and question the world from a feminist perspective.

Presentation slides: Intergenerational Feminism.CASWE.2017

IMG_1281Saba Alvi and Ruth Kane from the University of Ottawa shared their feminist journey into the academy. Both spoke of the powerful role their families played in guiding their  journey. Saba spoke about the importance and challenges of being a racialized woman in academia.

Session 3. Single Paper Presentations

Petra Zantingh (Redeemer University College. pzantingh@gmail.com): Women, art, love and fear. ABSTRACT: In my arts-FullSizeRenderbased research project, my objective was to investigate how older women develop their skills, personal language and confidence as visual artists through the medium of drawing in a small group setting. In this environment we formed a community of practice in which our situated knowledges became the basis for meaning-making and where new understandings relevant to community art education and life long learning emerged. Presentation slides: Space for drawing

IMG_1864Philipa Meyers (Western University, pmeyers5@uwo.ca): Intersectionality: The future of feminist research? Engaging in a multidimensional model of intersectionality. ABSTRACT: Intersectionality is a significant concept in feminist research, and it proves a unique way of understanding and analyzing societal complexities and lived experiences. Although ambiguity may be one of intersectionality’s strengths, it also creates practical challenges to research, such as how to fully engage intersectionality in research practices. This study draws on a multi-dimensional model of intersectionality to gain understanding about and analysis of the educational experiences of Latin American students in Canadian schools. This paper provides insight into the successes and challenges of engaging this multi dimensional model of intersectionality to frame the study and the data analysis. Significant learnings from intersectional research processes are discussed. Presentation slides: CSSE Intersectionality Model Presentation

Carol Harris (Acadia, Victoria, harrisce@uvic.ca): Educational explorations of women leaders in IMG_1866‘retirement’: Does the meaning of ‘lifelong learning’ suffice? ABSTRACT: Carolyn Heilbrun (1997) begins her text “The Last Gift of Time” with the following quotation by Cicero: ” Since [nature] has fitly planned the other acts of life’s drama, it is not likely that she has neglected the final act as if she were a careless playwright” (p. 1). My purposes in the proposed research are to explore the drama as enacted by six women educational leaders now in the latter stages on their lives; to expand concepts of scholarship, pedagogy, research, and action; and to affect policy decisions about the inclusion of senior women in educational action and decision-making. Presentation slides: PP CASWE 2017

Session 4. Panel: Intergenerational Mentoring. Alice Pitt, Barbara Crow, Carol Altilia, York University

IMG_1871The panelists spoke about the trends, themes and implications of intersectional leadership in the university system and emphasized the importance to have feminist leadership at the table. More than in the past, the university system is much more tightly tied to an economic engine and governmental accountability than ever before. Faculties of Education are well positioned as leaders in universities that have begun to care about learning and student success. A key consideration to the future of graduate programs is the diversification of the interests and potential of doctoral graduate students as they negotiate and complete their programs.

What does it take to take on a big role? Individuals interested in academic leadership have to learn a great deal about how the university functions. Intersectionality is one way to consider diversity as well as a means for feminism to travel between and within the university silos. Creativity and generativity are key features in being able to IMG_1872.JPGsuccessfully work across sectors. Drawing on the example of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, the skills and abilities of women leaders overemphasize a focus on the individual rather than a more collaborative, distributed model. Despite having current parity between male and female university graduates, the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership persists.  The panelists discussed mentoring/sponsoring, networking and organizing as strategies for advancing women in leadership. A key component emerging from those strategies is creating a more mutual and comprehensive view of building a feminist orientation toward leadership at the intersection between academic and non-academic leaders. An important feature in that process is promoting feminist engagement around the shared experience of the gendered work of leadership. In that space between the academic and non-academic resides incredible potential for change. The benefits of inter-professional collaboration for the institution are clear.  The benefits for developing leaders or growing into leaders creates a space for women to cultivate those competencies more holistically and from a feminist perspective.  Your success is largely determined by the team that operationalizes the leadership you provide.

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