‘The Desire for Identity’ key theme for 2022 Sexuality Summer School

This year’s Sexuality Summer School (SSS) at the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture will focus on ‘The Desire for Identity’ as a central theme. 

The SSS is an annual five-day series of workshops and seminars for postgraduates engaged in the study of gender and sexuality. The programme is complemented by a series of public events including film screenings, lectures, and performances taking place from 23-27 May 2022. 

Each year the SSS is organised around a particular theme, with this year’s theme posing interdisciplinary and methodological questions about how identities are formed, lived, expressed and contested and their relation to desire. The event’s diverse programming brings together students, artists, activists and academics from a range of backgrounds to interrogate ideas around gender, sexuality, race and identity, encouraging a thoughtful approach to social justice issues and providing a supportive environment for students to discuss their research and ideas with peers, and to liaise with high-profile artists, activists and academics.  

Public events programme 

Opening public lecture with Kadji Amin (Emory University, GLQ co-editor): ‘Indigestion: Transsexulaity and the Queer Aversion to Identity’ 

While feminist and queer debates have radically opened up the ways in which we think about identity categories, debates in trans studies often circle back to identity, highlighting the vitality and political urgency identities may offer. This talk looks back at these debates to consider the ways in which the notion of an autonomous gender identity is entangled with a liberal context that upholds the fictions of sovereign individualism and freedom from social determination. IN partnership with SICK! Festival. 

  • Venue: SALC Graduate School, University of Manchester  
  • When: Monday, 23 May, 15.00-16.45.
  • This is a free event, but requires registration by clicking here

Film screening + post-screening discussion: Rebel Dykes (2021, dir. by Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams), followed by discussion and Q&A with Siobhan Fahey (Rebel Dykes producer), Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams. 

Join us for a screening of Rebel Dykes, a raucous documentary using animation, interviews and archival footage to explore the story of a group of women who met in 1980s post-punk London doing art, music, politics and sex, and how they went on to change their world. Producer, Siobhan Fahey and Directors Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams will join us for a post-screening discussion and Q&A. Co-sponsored by Screen, HOME Manchester, and SICK! Festival. 

  • Venue: HOME Manchester 
  • When: Monday 23 May, 18.00-20.00 
  • Tickets may be purchased here

Performance Lecture: mandla rae (Manchester-based poet, producer, programmer, facilitator and theatre maker): ‘Category Mistake’  

Join us for a performance lecture by queer Zimbabwean writer, performer and curator, mandla rae. mandla’s work examines the notion of identity and its regulation on the body to explore possibilities of resistance through a performance practice of embodied movement, gesture, and spoken word. This performance tells the story of the experience of being a ‘category mistake’ – an identity that society does not want to admit exists.  In partnership with SICK! Festival. 

  • Venue: Anthony Burgess Foundation 
  • When: Tuesday, 24 May, 18.00-20.00 
  • This is a free event, but requires registration by clicking here

 Performance: Essi Rossi, ‘Ejaculation Falls’ 

This performance will see a group of people gather together to celebrate sexual diversity. It is an opportunity to share things regarding sex and sexuality that are often hidden or silenced in public conversations. 

The performance leads its viewers to the other side of norms and collective beliefs. It invites us to examine sexuality’s power and various dimensions, to give new words to the ways in which we talk about sex. Please join Essi and the performers for an open conversation, and to share your own experiences of themes addressed in the performance. In partnership with SICK! Festival and Baltic Circle. 

  • Venue: Stun Studios (Z Arts) 
  • When: Wednesday, 25 May, 19.00-21.00 and Thursday, 26 May, 19.00-21.00  
  • To purchase tickets, click here

Public Dialogue: ‘Performing Sexuality’ with Essi Rossi and mandla rae 

Join artists mandla rae and Essi Rossi for a dialogue exploring gender, sexuality, identity and performance. Mandla is a Zimbabwean writer and performance artist. mandla’s work explores the artist’s intersecting identities, reflections and musings – using a range of mediums but usually with an intricate focus on words and storytelling. Essi Rossi is a Finnish theatre director who lives in Helsinki and works variously with theatre and live arts. Her works are more or less tied to the question of change in the era of mass destruction and desires, and she is driven by candid ways of working with these themes. In partnership with SICK! Festival. 

  • Venue: Stun Studios (Z Arts) 
  • When: Thursday, 26 May, 15.00-17.00 
  • This is a free event, no tickets required. 

Book Launch and Roundtable Discussion: Feeling Queer Jurisprudence: Inquiry, Intimacy and Identity (Dr Senthorun Raj 2020) with Dr Senthorun Raj (MMU), Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones (Birkbeck) and Professor Sharon Cowan (Edinburgh) 

Senthorun (Sen) Raj is a Reader in Human Rights Law at Manchester Law School (MMU) and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. His research and advocacy interests include refugee law, anti-discrimination law, queer theory, emotion, critical legal studies, and human rights. His new book, Feeling Queer Jurisprudence: Inquiry, Intimacy and Identity draws on the analytic and political dimensions of queer, alongside the analytic and political usefulness of emotion, to navigate legal interventions aimed at progressing the rights of LGBT people. 

  • Venue: SALC Graduate School, University of Manchester  
  • When: Thursday, 26 May, 18.00-19.30 
  • This is a free event, no tickets required. 

Roundtable Discussion: Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis (Grace Lavery, 2022) with Grace Lavery (UCB), Honor Gavin (UM) and Sabine Sharp (Chair). 

Grace E. Lavery is assistant professor of English and affiliated faculty in the Program in Critical Theory and the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis is a speculative memoir of gender transition and recovery from addiction, refracted through pop culture, queer theory, film, TV, literature, and (what feels like) stand-up comedy–like The Argonauts caught in a hall of mirrors, with a lot more sex and humour. In partnership with Manchester Queer Research Network. 

  • Venue: HOME Manchester  
  • When: Friday, 27 May, 16.00-17.30pm 
  • This is a free event, but requires registration by clicking here

 For more on the Sexuality Summer School, please visit this link or find us on our Twitter, or Facebook pages. 

The SSS is grateful for collaboration and support from The SICK! Festival HOME Manchester, NWCDTP, ScreenManchester Queer Research Network, and the University of Manchester. 

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