AHRC Network Challenging Domesticity Workshop One: The Deviant Home

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Manchester was uncharacteristically sunny for the first workshop of the AHRC Network Challenging Domesticity. The theme focussed on ‘the deviant home’ and we met at the Pankhurst Centre, home of the Pankhurst family, 1898-1907 and where the first meeting of the militant and deviant suffragettes took place. The AHRC Network funding has allowed us to forge a new partnership between the University of Manchester and the Pankhurst Centre, which is key to our intellectual aims of the project. We are particularly interested in thinking of the home as a site of action and the mutually constitutive relationship between domestic space and a range of forms of behaviours. Bringing together scholars in fields that have overlooked the importance of domestic space – crime, activism, and care – and by drawing on an interest in the locality, we plan to establish a new rationale for investigating the history of domesticity in Britain.

 

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Workshop One at The Pankhurst Centre.

Our first workshop took place over two days with the first with a scholarly focus on discussions on the ‘deviant home’ and the second with an emphasis on public engagement, knowledge transfer and research impact. Day one saw a fabulous range of speakers on topics that included domestic crime scene photographs; surveillance of criminal homes and families; policy and probation. We discussed the challenges of defining what we meant by ‘domesticity’ and the legal discourse that attempted to deal with the slipperiness of the criminal home. On day two, we were delighted to welcome some PGR and ECR delegates to join our audience and we were fortunate to have contributions from Ruth Singer from the Criminal Quilts project and Safina Islam from the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre. We also had sessions from a range of academics talking about their public engagement work, including a very honest discussion about what has worked and what hasn’t. Finally, the fabulous Tessa Chynoweth, manager and curator of the Pankhurst Centre, talked about the varied and fascinating history of the Pankhurst house and some of their ongoing redevelopment plans.

It was a very stimulating and regarding workshop that has helped us reshape our conceptual framework around the ‘deviant home.’ We were thrilled to bring together such a vibrant and engaging range of speakers and it was certainly one of the most positive and enriching academic meetings that it might be possible to create. Now we look forward to our next events…

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