Notes For The Future (following the Teach-in)

(text by Emily Monaghan)

At the end of the conference, we discussed the flaws of the event. I took notes, and here are some of the comments made which hopefully can be better addressed next time. I’m using the word “we” fairly loosely here – no one voted on any of these, I just can’t find a better way of speaking:

  • There should be a next time 🙂 An annual conference on this model was suggested.
  • We liked that people drifted in and out.
  • We liked the mix of academic and non-academic viewpoints and approaches.
  • The informality created a nice atmosphere, and everyone agreed the conference had been friendly, positive and free from “bitching”.
  • Filming and the creation of a virtual space was good

In the future:

  • We agreed this should not be a London based event.
  • Also, that it should not be student-based
  • However, we should also not hold it during exam season
  • Several  points were raised about access issues – full time parents, people on minimum wage or those who would need time off work, disabled folk whose travel might take twice as long and cost twice as much were specifically mentioned. This should be improved in future.
  • We should also reach out and be more diverse – we accepted that the attendees were predominantly white, middle class and the event was student-centric. In particular, we want to reach out to working class street women. In other words, try and expand to include many different trans experiences.

Phoebe intends to continue with the blog, and suggested snail-mail updates for those without internet access. We discussed the creation of an online network which wasn’t facebook, with several gripes and complaints about that service noted. Livejournal and Ning were suggested – it’s clear that if we do want to create a virtual space, we wil have to look into it further.

We debated costs. The predominant mood was that the event should remain free to best enable access. However, it was pointed out that costs do exist for running large events – particularly getting a space* – and we might be able to provide better facilities by charging. A sliding scale was suggested – a pay what you can model – but others said this made them uncomfortable. They  also mentioned the difficulty of “proving” you qualify for a lower fee. A fundraiser to cover costs was also mentioned.

There are pros and cons, and while free seems to be preferred if at all possible, the entry fee of future events may be determined by local factors.

*we were lucky, and only one form away from being landed with a £200 room fee. Things may not be so fortuitous in future.

  1. Trans* Education and Determination: footage available from the event « Trans Youth Takes On World

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