H2020 Info Days and new gender equality resource. H2020 Science With And For Society – presentations available from Information Day

Presentations and a video are now available from the recent SWAFS information day. The presentations covered the main topics for the 2017 call: Science Education; Public Engagement; Ethics and Research Integrity and Gender. The call will officially open on 12 April 2017 and deadline for applications will be 30 August 2017.

A new resource for improving gender equality

Science Europe have made a number of presentations available from the launch of their new practical guide on ‘Improving Gender Equality in Research Organisations’. The guide, and the presentations, include thoughts on: avoiding unconscious bias in peer review; monitoring gender equality and improving grant management practices.

Obituary: Professor Richard Pankhurst

Professor Richard Pankhurst died on 16 February 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He was the founder and first Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University, and for 10 years the Librarian of the Royal Asiatic Society in London. He had lived, together with his wife Rita, in Ethiopia for five decades. Professor Pankhurst devoted the greater part of his life to the study of Ethiopian history and culture, and wrote extensively on the subject (29 books and countless articles). When Richard Pankhurst was awarded the OBE ‘for services to Ethiopian studies’, he wrote to the Queen urging the repatriation to Ethiopia of six Ethiopian manuscripts looted by British troops from Emperor Theodore’s fortress of Magdala in Ethiopia in 1868. They are currently held in the Royal Library in Windsor Castle.

Unsurprisingly there has been an outpouring of grief in his adopted country resulting in widespread calls in Ethiopia for Richard to be accorded a State funeral. Only one other westerner has been given such an honour; namely his mother Sylvia Pankhurst. Both she and Richard gave invaluable support and solidarity to Ethiopia. Richard Pankhurst was a founder patron of the Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee – a committee formed to campaign for a public memorial in the form of a statue to be erected in honour of his mother, Sylvia, who had campaigned since 1935 against the Italian fascist invasion of Ethiopia and edited the New Times and Ethiopia News for 20 years. Richard was unstinting in his support and enthusiasm for a memorial to his mother that is also intended to mark her many other crusades: for the suffrage, against World War One, for working class women, against racism, imperialism and fascism. Richard too supported these causes as is clearly shown in the seminal book he wrote about his mother Sylvia Pankhurst, Artist and Crusader: An Intimate Portrait.

We know he would be pleased to learn that we now have the support of Islington Council and the Corporation of London to raise the statue of Sylvia on Clerkenwell Green, London. We are sure he would agree that Clerkenwell Green is a very fitting place given its long standing radical traditions. London’s first May Day march, organised by the London Trades Councils, set off from the Green in 1890 and still does. It was the site of Chartist gatherings, rallies supporting Irish freedom and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Clerkenwell Green is also home to the Marx Memorial Library, a meeting place for many progressive causes in the nineteenth century. In 1933 it was established as a library and Workers’ School against the background of the barbarism of fascists burning books in Germany in 1933. It houses the archives of the International Brigade and the Bernal Peace collection. This is where the book of donors to the statue will be kept.

Written by Professor Mary Davis on behalf of the Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee

Northern Power Women Awards

Professor Julia Rouse and Dr Helen Woolnough attended the second Northern Power Women Awards on the eve of International Women’s Day in a glittering evening ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Deansgate, Manchester.

Along with others from Man Met, and representatives from St Anne’s Hospice and Santander, over 500 guests celebrated the women and men working towards creating gender balance in organisations and businesses across the Northern Powerhouse.

Northern Power Women (NPW) is led by Simone Roche and is supporting the ‘Generating Routes for Women’s Leadership’ (GROWL) research project currently underway within the ‘Sylvia’ at Man Met. The GROWL project uses the methodology of ‘Engaged Scholarship’ to work with organisations under the Northern Powerhouse to reflect on what we know causes leakiness in the pipeline of women’s leadership, compile examples of better practice and build relationships with organisations in the North to co-create organisational change.

NPW Awards

Picture of Julia, Helen and Linsdey Watkin, Associate Head, Man Met.

Towards Utopia – Rethinking International Law Call for Papers: Walther Schücking Workshop for Young International Lawyers Kiel, 19-20 August 2017


We welcome submissions that engage with utopian thought and international law – either in form of substantive suggestions or recursively on utopian approaches in general and the possibility of rethinking international law. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • The role(s) of utopianism: Which role(s), if any, does utopianism play in current international legal theory and political morality? Which should it play? Are some areas of law (e.g. human rights, ius cogens) particularly relevant – or troublesome?
  • Moral and legal progress: How, if ever, can we reach or work towards utopia? How should progress be measured? What are the implications for conceptualising time, morality, and law?
  • Existing structures: How do current structures of international law (e.g. certain dogmatic approaches, formalism, supposed objectivity or neutrality of law) relate to utopian thought? How, if ever, can these be overcome? Should they?
  • Critical approaches revisited: Can primarily critical and deconstructive approaches (feminist, queer, anti-colonialist, critical race or disability studies, etc.) be given positive and utopian formulations?
  • Practical implications: What should utopian proposals actually look like? What are their implications for structural reforms of international law and international organisations? What would such reforms entail?

Interested scholars should submit an abstract of around 750 words to the organising committee (utopia@wsi.uni-kiel.de) by 8 May 2017. Abstracts must include a title and the name and affiliation of the author; preference will be given to those at an early stage of their career (PhD students or post-docs). We encourage scholars with different backgrounds to apply – interdisciplinary submissions are welcome.

If your abstract is accepted, you will be expected to submit a paper of around 8,000 words (including footnotes) by 7 August 2017. The papers will be circulated among the workshop participants in advance to facilitate an in-depth discussion. Selected papers may, subject to peer review, subsequently be published in the German Yearbook of International Law

The Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre was proud to welcome a mixed audience of delegates with a shared interest in family law to the first annual Family Law Conference on 4 March.

The Conference attracted legal academics, solicitors, barristers, mediators and students, all working and studying in the field of family law, and provided a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for discussion of topical family law issues.

The line-up of speakers included some exciting high profile names, as well as taking the opportunity to display some of the excellent family law research that is taking place at Manchester Law School.

Professor Rebecca Probert from Warwick University presented a fascinating paper about early feminists and their influence on the institution of marriage. She considered whether civil partnerships should be opened up to heterosexuals and wondered whether it might be better to offer a more radical alternative to marriage instead.

Lucy Crompton from Manchester Metropolitan University presented a devastating critique of the courts’ tendency to short change the long-term impact of career sacrifice when dealing with financial matters on divorce.

Barrister Lucy Reed provided an absorbing insight into transparency (keeping the public meaningfully informed about the work of the Family Court), concluding that much work is still needed in this respect. Lucy is the chair of the Transparency Project (http://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/), a charity aimed at improving the quality, range and accessibility of information available to the public both in the press and elsewhere.

Edwina Higgins and Kathryn Newton from Manchester Metropolitan University analysed the ‘parental involvement presumption’ that has recently been introduced into the Children Act 1989 and questioned whether it would have a detrimental impact of child autonomy by making it more difficult for a mature child to refuse contact with a parent who he did not want to see. Practitioners shared their experience of how the presumption is working in practice, concluding that it has not really made any difference to the courts’ existing pro-contact approach.

The Conference also hosted a mixed panel of academics and practitioners to discuss ‘Family Law in the News’. The recent case of Owens v Owens, where the wife’s divorce petition based on the husband’s behaviour was refused, was the topical issue that caused the most discussion, with practitioners concerned about the negative impact of having to make concrete allegations of fault in order to get a divorce without separating for at least two years. There was also some interesting discussion of proposals to deal with the problem of abusers cross-examining their victims in the Family Court.

We were thrilled with the turn-out. The speakers were very well received and it was wonderful to provide academics and practitioners with a forum to discuss the issues that matter in family law right now. We’re very pleased that so many of the delegates are already looking forward to more of the same next year.

Forging stronger links between the legal sector and academia is vital to ensure that research is relevant to current issues and challenges and that this research informs both teaching and practice. This is the first of many Family Law Conferences at Manchester Metropolitan University, which will continue to develop as a centre of excellence for family law.

Jess Napthine, Research Group Officer, Faculty of Education reports on the International Women’s Day event on Self-defence

Jay Cahill and Richard Lawrence of Fighting Fit Martial Arts Centre and Keysi Northwest presented a self-defence session in the Geoffrey Manton. Jay led the session, focusing on presenting an air of confidence and asserting oneself when necessary. She explained how individuals could mitigate the chances of being involved in a dangerous situation through awareness of surroundings, using their voice and not being afraid to push someone away if they present a threat. Jay and Richard went on to demonstrate techniques for distance management and escaping from holds, which participants practiced against each other and the instructors. The participants got fully involved in practising the techniques and asked insightful questions to further their knowledge. The event was very well received and there was a marked difference in the confidence level among the participants.

I hope that this event inspires participants to continue furthering their knowledge of self-defence and that Jay and Richard can provide more sessions for us in future. For me, training in Keysi and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have made a big difference to how I feel when walking around Manchester. Having an increased awareness of my surroundings and the knowledge that I could defend myself if I needed to give me confidence and peace of mind. Also, training at Fighting Fit is a really enjoyable way to keep fit and it is a really welcoming community.

If you want to find out more, please check out:



Copies of the following interview were also available at this event:

Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons is a graphic novel trilogy portraying the adventures of an all-women secret society of bodyguards who protect the leaders of the radical suffragette movement during early 1914. The trilogy’s author, Tony Wolf, provided us with an exclusive interview about his work, what inspired him and the relationship between the suffragettes and martial arts.

Fighting Fit Martial  Fighting Fit Martial 2

EHRC Social Research Associate positions

The EHRC is currently recruiting two Senior Associate (Research) positions for our London or Manchester offices. The posts are being advertised in The Guardian and Civil Service Jobs. Please pass on the details to any suitably qualified candidates in your respective institutions (or elsewhere) who might be interested in applying. The closing date for applications is 2 April.



Please note that any queries about the positions should be sent to: recruitment@equalityhumanrights.com .