Race/Gender Matters

Race/Gender Matters (R/GM) is a research group that fosters critical and creative engagements with race, gender and sexuality, and their many intersections. Much of our research is concerned with materiality – of bodies, for instance – and with materialist methodologies, including those which contend with the political, economic and environmental conditions that shape sexualities and racialised and gendered experience.

R/GM is resolutely transdisciplinary in its focus and welcomes the involvement of all staff and postgraduate research students from across Kingston School of Art and beyond.

Race/Gender Matters events in 2022/23

Race/Gender Matters Work-in-Progress programme 2023/24

In these sessions we will discuss the research-in-development of staff and PGRs who are based at or who are visiting KSA. Their research has in common a desire to engage, critically or creatively, with race, gender, sexuality and/or materiality.

Unless otherwise stated below, material will be shared up to a week in advance of the session in which it will be discussed. You can access it via this R/GM WiP folder.

R/GM WiP sessions will take place either in person or online via MS Teams. In-person events will be held at Penrhyn Road, and we will typically try to book an Owl device to ensure people can access the session remotely. You can remotely join the R/GM WiP meeting here. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Wednesday 22 November

Prof Jennifer Munroe (University of North Carolina at Charlotte): ‘Colonial Botany and Environmental Justice: Mary Somerset, Knowledge-Making, and the Domestication of Plants in late Seventeenth Century England'

(Jen will give a talk followed by a Q&A)

  • Room: JG2003
  • Time: 2pm-3.30pm

Wednesday 13 December

Dr Caoimhe Mader McGuinness (Department of Performing Arts, KU): ‘Festivals of Britain'

  • Room: JG1003
  • Time: 3pm-4.30pm

Wednesday 7 February

Anna Johnson (Department of Humanities, KU): ‘Haunting as a Method of Knowledge: Life Writing and Maternal Experience'

  • Room: JG2003
  • Time: 2pm-3.30pm

Wednesday 28 February

Julia Ponds (Department of Performing Arts, KU): ‘Desire, economics, and the senses: A workshop and talk exploring potentials for re-imagining the economy through the body'

  • Room: Town House Studio 1-2
  • Time: 2pm-3.30pm

Wednesday 20 March

Dr Karen Lipsedge (Department of Humanities, KU): ‘Avoiding the Danger of a Single Story: What, Why, So What?'

  • Room: JG2003
  • Time: 1pm-2.30pm

Race/Gender Matters Work-in-Progress programme 2022/23

These work-in-progress (WIP) sessions have been organised by the Race/Gender Matters (R/GM) research group. In the sessions we will discuss the research in development of staff and PGRs who are based at, or who are visiting, KSA. Their research has a common desire to engage, critically or creatively, with race, gender, sexuality and/or materiality.

Typically, the work will be shared up to a week before the session in which it will be discussed. You can access it via this box folder.

All WIP sessions take place on Wednesdays, from 5pm to 6.30pm, in Penrhyn Road's John Galsworthy building (unless happening online). Everyone is welcome to attend!

16 November 2022, JG2004

Perry Hughes, ‘Food and the Maternal as Biblical Abomination in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene'

7 December 2022, JG2004

Sofía Martinicorena Zaratiegui, ‘Narrative Reactions to Suburban Heterotopias'

11 January 2023 (Cancelled. To be rescheduled, date TBC.)

Anna Johnson, ‘Failures of Feeling: Motherhood and Haunting'

8 February 2023, JG1010

Éadaoin Agnew and Shuhita Bhattacharjee (Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad), 'Gods and Monsters in fin de siècle India'

8 March 2023, JG1001

Katie Hall, ‘Under the Influencer: a work in progress'

29 March 2023, JG1010

Simon Brown, ‘The "nasties" revisited: James Herbert and the legacy of 1970s British literary horror'

Screening of Orfeas 2021, followed by a discussion and Q&A with filmmaker Foivois Dousos

7 February, Reg Bailey Building 0006, Penrhyn Road, 5.30 to 7.30pm

This February is LGBTQ history month; please join us for a special screening of Orfeas 2021, a Queer Sci-Fi Opera by artist duo FYTA.

Based on a radical reworking of Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo (1607), Orfeas 2021 is, according to its makers, ‘a retro-futurist story of utopian politics, ideological conflicts, supernatural leaders and totalitarian spectacle, which pits ‘cyberpunk queer pirates against rainbow homo-capitalist normies' and ‘revolution vs reformism; logic vs affect'.

This contemporary take on the myth of Orpheus oscillates between ‘operatic melodrama, queer DIY collage, 80s-inspired post-trash hauntology and VR/AI aesthetics', thereby creating ‘a kaleidoscopic take on political purity, alternative histories and institutional critique'.

What more could you possibly want from LGBTQ history month?

The event will be followed by small discussion between one of the filmmakers, Dr Foivos Dousos, and Kingston University's Dr Caoimhe Mader McGuinness. The pair will explore the film's aesthetic and political strategies before opening up the conversation to a Q&A with the audience. All are welcome.

Visceral Bodies Symposium

27–28 April 2023, Penrhyn Road Campus, Kingston University

Sexuality, Motherhood and Social Reproduction: a transdisciplinary symposium on representing the visceral body in theory and creative practice

This two-day, transdisciplinary symposium will explore how renewed attention to the human (and specifically female) body in philosophy, politics, literature and psychosocial studies has paved the way for a rethinking of motherhood, reproductive loss, disability and death beyond the biological category. How does this reflection contribute to naming, elaborating, and making visible concrete aspects of human life in their connection to gender, race, sexuality?

The event will present creative writing, poetic works, lectures and performances which illustrate, inform or question how we represent the visceral body within text and in philosophical /political inquiries when we attempt to give voice to experiences and events that are, by their nature (within cultural frameworks, of course) graphic, shocking, bloody, illicit...

We ask: how do we navigate the 'horror' or embarrassment of these subjects through writing and theoretical reflection? How do we share real and even brutal experiences without them becoming sensational or shocking in a way that negates their complexity? What kind of literary forms, what kinds of language, do we turn to in our attempts?

This is not about how we make these experiences palatable, but, rather, how we battle to make them communicable in a way that does not underestimate the experience and allows us to see it from multiple perspectives.

We will address these questions through a combination of presentations and performances by PhD students, academics, writers and dancers.

Keynote speakers: Professor Lisa Baraitser, poet Rachel Long, Dr Anna McFarlane and Professor Tracey Reynolds

For more information, and to register, please visit the Visual Bodies Symposium website or contact the organisers, Anna Argirò and Anna Johnson.

Speaking Texts: Uncovering the 18th-century Stories Hiding in Plain Sight

21 June 2023, JG3003, Penrhyn Road Campus, Kingston University

This one-day, in-person, interdisciplinary symposium will build on this work to uncover, explore, recognise, and celebrate those stories, peoples, and objects, hiding in plain sight, with a particular focus on the 18th century history, culture, and literature of not only Britain but also Europe, North America, and the wider world.

The symposium will bring together a range of speakers, including researchers, education providers, practitioners, and individuals working in the cultural and creative industries, to showcase the work of those who are using 'texts' (in the broadest sense) to provide a platform for those previously overlooked 18th-century stories to be listened to. Participants will also consider how we can enhance our pedagogical practices to be more inclusive. What does it mean to decolonise the curriculum; who decides and why?

In addition to round-table panels and opportunities for informal networking and conversation, the symposium will feature a morning keynote, delivered by the 18th- and early-19th-century historian, Dr Hannah Young, and a late afternoon keynote, delivered by the independent scholar, art historian and curator, Adrienne Childs.

The ‘Speaking Texts' symposium will close with the author and actor Paterson Joseph, who will talk about his debut novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho (2022).

Touching on topics relevant to all of us, whether we are staff or students, researchers or museum visitors, experts or interested members of the public, this symposium will be of interest to all, and all are welcome. It is free to attend, but participants will need to reserve a place in advance. For more information and to register, see the Speaking Texts Eventbrite page.

Race/Gender Matters events in 2021/22

Hannah Ballou (Kingston): screening and discussion of goo:ga (2021)

Wednesday 24 November 2021, 5–7pm, Rose Studio Theatre, Kingston upon Thames

On Wednesday 24 November, Race/Gender Matters and PACE will host a screening and discussion of Dr Hannah Ballou's art film goo:ga in the Rose Theatre Studio. 

goo:ga (2021) is a live art film that merges comedy, pregnancy, feminism, and trauma narrative around themes of fetal illness.

The film will be followed by a response panel featuring Dr Victoria Jowett, the Clinical Lead for the Fetal Cardiology Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, co-director of the Live Art Development Agency, and a reception.

For more information and registration, please visit this eventbrite page. The event is free and open to all.

Screening and discussion of documentary RIP Seni (2021)

Wednesday 8 December 2021, 5–7pm, Courtyard, Town House, Kingston University Penrhyn Road campus

On Wednesday 8 December, Race/Gender Matters and Collective Practice Conversations will host a screening and discussion of the documentary RIP Seni with its filmmakers in the new Town House's wonderful Courtyard space. 

RIP Seni responds to the death of Seni Lewis, a 23-year-old black man who died at the hands of up to 11 police officers while he was in the care of the Bedlam Royal Hospital in South London. The film looks at what happened to Seni, the crises of mental health and racism in the UK, the long fight for justice, and what happens when members of the public take art into their own hands.  

For more details about the film and its contexts, please visit this eventbrite page. The filmmakers will be in attendance and will participate in a post-screening discussion followed by a Q&A with the audience. The event is free and open to all.

Lisa Baraitser (Birkbeck): Care again, Care better: the temporalities of failure and repair

Wednesday 13 January 2021, 6pm–7.15pm

Lisa Baraitser's talk, the subsequent discussion led by Kingston PhD students Anna Johnson and Katie Hall, and a concluding Q&A will explore the complexities of failure and its possible relations to practices of care, politics, ethics, time, creativity and more.

Lisa Baraitser is Professor of Psychosocial Theory at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption (Routledge, 2009) and Enduring Time (Bloomsbury 2017), and has written widely on motherhood, psychoanalysis, care and time. She is currently co-PI on the Wellcome Trust-funded project Waiting Times, that investigates the relation between time and care in health contexts. She is a psychoanalyst, and member of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

This event is online and free to attend. For details about how to join the online event, please email Martin Dines: m.dines@kingston.ac.uk.

Queer Materialisms: an online training day for PhD students

Thursday 11 February 2021, 11am–6pm

This training day of workshops, funded by AHRC Techne, will interrogate recent developments in the field of sexuality studies to help PhD students evaluate potential applications for their own research.

Facilitators include Broderick Chow (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London), Helen Palmer (Vienna University of Technology), Samuel Solomon (University of Sussex), and Nat Raha (University of St Andrews)

This event is online and free to attend. 

For further information and to register to attend the training day please visit this eventbrite page.

James Polchin (New York University): Queer true crime stories and the archive

Wednesday 17 March 2021, 6–7.15pm

James Polchin, author of the recently published book Indecent Advances, will discuss the historical recovery of queer true crime and contextualising these crimes within queer history. The event will begin with James Polchin discussing the history of true queer crime with Kingston's Dr Martin Dines; this discussion will be followed by an extended Q&A.

James Polchin is a cultural historian and Clinical Professor in Liberal Studies at New York University, and an Arts Instructor in the Creative Nonfiction Foundation. He has held faculty appointments at NYU sites in London, Paris, and Florence. His Edgar Award nominated book Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall (2019) is published by Counterpoint Press in the US and Icon Books in the UK. His articles and reviews have appeared in Slate, TIME, Huffington Post UK, Crime Reads, Paris Review, Rolling Stone, NewNextNow, The New Inquiry, Lambda Literary, The Irish Times, The Smart Set and the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide.

James Polchin will be in discussion with Martin Dines.

This event takes place online and is free to attend. For details about how to join the online event, please email Martin Dines: m.dines@kingston.ac.uk.

Decolonising Research

Thursday 1 April 2021, 10am–1pm

This half-day session will explore the varied ways in which researchers at Kingston are currently addressing vital areas relating to decolonisation, as subject matter, as method, and within research and the curriculum. The session will include a range of short talks by speakers, group discussion, and space for participation. We hope that this session can be a platform for finding commonalities across the university for people working on this area to create more connections and collaborations.

The session will begin with a dedication and tribute to Mary Vaughan Johnson and her work in this area.

Speakers and chairs are Éadaoin Agnew, Michael Badu, Bill Balaskas, Helena Bonett, JJ Chan, Danielle Chavrimootoo, Martin Dines, Azadeh Fatehrad, Nasra Hersi, Astrid Korporaal and Ken Rona.

Introduction to Podcast Training Workshops

15 and 19 July 2021, 2–5pm

R/GM have organised this pair of online workshops on producing podcasts, an increasingly important vehicle for presenting and disseminating research. These are free and open to all Kingston postgraduate researchers and staff, and will be facilitated by Fili Gibbons.

Fili Gibbons (we/them/us) are a musician and recording engineer working across a range of community and professional contexts to support plural voices, expressions, and sonic experiences. As well as leading community workshops they frequently work with other sound and video artists, drawing on listening, memory and intuition as guiding forces in collaborative making practices. Their work interfaces with plural cultural histories and experiences, intangible arts traditions, and community-oriented sound practice. They have recently co-curated a series of audio podcasts titled 'How to Think' for Performance Philosophy.

Previous Race/Gender Matters events

Helen Wickstead, ‘Soho Typescripts: The Craft and Commerce of Pornography in Post-war London'

Event held in collaboration with the Literary London Reading Group at Ram Books, London, 5 November 2019.

Soho Typescripts were a distinctive type of handmade pornography associated with London's Soho. Thousands were produced in the 1950s and 1960s, of which only a small proportion survive. Kingston's Helen Wickstead discussed how the consolidation of production and consumption networks around Soho was linked to an alternative economy regulated though informal alliances between bookshop owners and police. Retailers classified obscene typescripts through their placement within bookshops and using folk-sexological slang. Soho Typescripts are disproportionately under-represented in British institutional collections. Consequently the significance and reach of this hand-crafted commercial pornography may have been underestimated. This event took place at Ram Books, which has the world's largest and most important collection of this mode of pornography.

Camille Barton, Embodied Social Change workshop

Held at Kingston University, 23 October 2019

In this dance workshop, somatics and mindfulness were used to explore how oppression is rooted in the body and how we can shift its hold on our lives using mindful attention and movement.

This work was inspired by Camille Barton's ongoing research into somatics and social justice: exploring how trauma from oppression is rooted in the body and how it can be healed with movement and mindfulness.

Camille Barton is a movement artist who brings her passion for social change to life through a variety of art mediums, including dance, film and clowning. Their art practice fuses improvisation, ritual and Afrofuturism to weave new realities inspired by the creativity of the African Diaspora.

Genos / Matter / Theory

Two-day conference held at Kingston University, 6 to 7 June 2019


Emmanuela Bianchi (New York University), ‘Genos Between Nature and Hegemony'

Martin Dines (Kingston), ‘Houses, comics, fish: graphic narrative ecologies of the American suburban home'

Observing the Infant: an interdisciplinary workshop on infancy from 1900 to today

Symposium held at Kingston University 21 June 2018

Organised by Chiara Alfano; co-sponsored by Race/Gender Matters and The Leverhulme Trust

We have never known more about babies than we do today. Indeed, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the turn to infancy seems ubiquitous. For psychoanalysis, philosophy, literature, psychology, neuroscience and many other disciplines the turn to infancy has been transformative. Yet, the complexity of our cultural attitudes towards infancy (from birth to 18 months) only seems to intensify with our discoveries. Given the pervasiveness and complexity of our preoccupation with infancy, it is remarkable that the turn to infancy itself has not attracted more critical attention.

This symposium provided a space in which researchers from across the arts, humanities, and sciences, as well as health care and early years practitioners, and artists could exchange perspectives, explore possible overlaps in inquiry, and map out future directions for the field.


On 29 June 2017 Kingston University launched the Race/Gender Matters research cluster with a symposium event.  With keynotes from Arun Saldanha (University of Minnesota) and Prof. Felicity Coleman (Kingston University), as well as performances from the LGBTQI breakdancing poet, Azara Meghie, and trans poet, Travis Alabanza, the event demonstrated the diverse range of research interests incorporated in this new cluster.

Contact us

For further information, please contact the Group's chair Dr Martin Dines.