Safe Spaces: An IASH Pop-Up Forum
With the dawning of a new academic year, the subject of free speech on campus has returned to the front pages. Theresa May’s attack on the ‘quite extraordinary’ concept of ‘safe spaces’ in a recent Prime Minister’s Questions has reignited what has become a fierce and politically urgent debate, in which the University of Edinburgh has figured prominently. The anecdote of a former student being subject to a ‘safe space complaint’ for ‘raising her hand’ in an Edinburgh University Students’ Association meeting has become a tabloid favourite.
To their defenders, safe spaces provide respectful and secure platforms for voices from traditionally marginalised communities. To their critics, safe spaces shut down debate and are simply forms of censorship swaddled under a veneer of political correctness. This IASH Pop-Up Forum brings together academics from a range of disciplines to discuss safe spaces, their histories and their implementation on university campuses today. How do contemporary safe spaces relate to separatist strategies of the past? Are they reconcilable with the academy’s traditional role as a bastion of intellectual and political contestation? Do they further the causes of marginalised communities, or perpetuate inequalities?
Speakers include: Akwugo Emejulu (University of Edinburgh), Laura Guy (Glasgow School of Art), Martine Veldhuizen (IASH Fellow / Utrecht University)
Attendees will be invited to continue discussion over an informal wine reception.
Organised by the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art.
Convened by Harry Weeks (Edinburgh College of Art)