Last week, the SHaME team was thrilled to hear that the Shameless! Festivals of Activism Against Sexual Violence had won the award for Public Empowerment at Birkbeck’s Public Engagement Award ceremony.
Shameless! is an ongoing arts-academia collaboration between The SHaME Project and The WOW Foundation funded by The Wellcome Trust. Since 2020, SHaME and WOW have worked together to develop, design and curate a festival model that centres survivors’ voices and provides an inclusive platform for urgent conversations on sexual violence to take place. Held at the Battersea Arts Centre in London on 27th November 2021, the first Shameless! Festival was a one-day event bringing together activism and art to confront and change attitudes towards sexual violence, share ideas, and imagine a rape free world. The day featured talks by high profile speakers, survivors, researchers and medical professionals, alongside performances by incredible artists, poets and musicians, as well as interactive workshops, ‘how to’ clinics and wellness spaces.
Team members from both SHaME and WOW have contributed an incredible range of academic and cultural expertise to bring the Shameless! Festival to life, and especial thanks go to SHaME Director Professor Joanna Bourke and Public Engagement and Events Coordinator Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh, as well as WOW Founder and CEO Jude Kelly, Senior Producer Shereen Perera, Senior Programmer Sabeena Akhtar and Head of Communications & Marketing Charlie Marshall for leading the collaboration and driving forward this initiative.
More information on Shameless! London can be found here and feel free to check out our blog post, in which our team members George and Rhian speak to contributors about about their work, their reflections on the festival, and their insights on creating a rape-free world.
Commenting on the award and the project, the organisers stated,
“This week, Birkbeck held its first in-person Public Engagement Awards ceremony since 2019. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the Birkbeck community has continued to produce excellent research and to successfully engage the public in inspiring, empowering and innovative initiatives. The awards ceremony was both a celebration and recognition of that work, and the calibre of entries for all four categories was extremely high. For the category Public Empowerment, Birkbeck was delighted to announce the winning entry as Shameless! Festivals of Activism Against Sexual Violence, led by Prof Joanna Bourke and the SHaME project team based at the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology in collaboration with the women’s and girls’ empowerment charity, The WOW Foundation. This category recognises outstanding projects based on the active sharing and development of research with the public which empower those involved and wider society.”
The Public Empowerment category is designed ‘for outstanding projects based on the active sharing and development of research with the public that empowers those involved and wider society. This form of engagement is dependent on mutual respect and equitable relationships with partners enabling academics and publics to share their knowledge and expertise and develop new initiatives, which empower public partners to deliver change for themselves, their organisations, the communities in which they work, and wider society.’
Supported by The Wellcome Trust, Shameless! Festival of Activism Against Sexual Violence is a three year project, and Shameless! in London was just the beginning. We have exciting plans for what will happen with Shameless! next, so keep an eye on our website for a big announcement…