2019 ML Annual Lecture – Ruler Skirt Risings with Dr Emma Renold

Methods Lab Annual Lecture
8th May 2019
4-6pm, followed by reception
Professor Stuart Hall Building LG01

Making the art of response-ability matter in post-qualitative gender and sexuality education research

Emma Renold (Professor of Childhood Studies, Cardiff University)

In the spring of 2015, myself and a group of 15 year old teen girls made a graffitied ruler-skirt to lift the silence of routinised sexual harassment and violence, in school, online and in their community, a post-industrial semi-rural Welsh valleys town in Merthyr Tydfil (UK). Unplanned, the idea to create a ruler-skirt arose from a throw-away comment by one of the girls; “Boys lift up girls’ skirts with rulers”. It was one of those moments where an affective ‘snap’ (Ahmed 2016) meets creative ‘run(a)way methodologies’ (Renold, Ivinson and Angharad 2017) and “things in the making cut their transformational teeth” (Massumi 2015, ix). In a flash, the ruler seemed to become what Erin Manning (2016, p.1) calls a ‘minor gesture’ – an “always political (…) gestural force that opens up experience to its potential variation”.

Three years on, the ruler-skirt has been activating and making ripples and waves in and across policy, practice and activist spaces that none of us could have predicted. This presentation offers a collective of ruler-skirt risings, providing glimpses of how an affirmative pARTicipatory embodied process and practice makes itself felt across a range of fields, and is only sustainable through collaboration and nurturing multiple ethico-political assemblages that have taken years to trust in, forge and nurture.

Emma Renold is Professor of Childhood Studies at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales. She is the author of ‘Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities’ (2005), Children, Sexuality and Sexualisation’ (with Jessica Ringrose and Danielle Egan, 2015) and the co-editor of the book series “Routledge Critical Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Education”. Inspired by feminist, queer and new materialist posthumanist theory, her research investigates how gender and sexuality come to matter in children and young people’s everyday lives across diverse sites, spaces and locales.