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Our forthcoming events are listed below.

You can find information about our past events here (2016 - present) and here (2000 - 2015).
For the full list of speakers in our Graduate Seminar series (2004 - present), click here.

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Workshop: "Athena Swan: New Challenges and Ongoing Dilemmas"

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Location: Zoom

In this event, we will reflect critically on the achievements and limitations of Athena Swan and other equality schemes in contemporary UK higher education. Building on critical conversations about Athena Swan held in 2017, this workshop seeks to reassess such schemes 5 years on. What new challenges are emerging in, and for, Athena Swan work? Which ongoing dilemmas continue to shape and constrain that work?

The event is open to all those engaging with Athena Swan work, in any capacity. It will include ample time for discussion and knowledge-exchange, following interventions by three speakers:

Gender vs Race in higher education: competing identities
This presentation explores how gender has always been given precedence over race in higher education policy making, specifically through the Athena Swan Charter.

Reflecting on Athena SWAN within and beyond the UK
This presentation will be informed by the findings of a H2020 feasibility study on a Europe wide gender equality scheme which included mapping of inequalities certification and award schemes. It will look at Athena SWAN as one of the key certification schemes identified and will provide perspectives on the dilemmas, challenges and potential future opportunities in light of the changing European policy context and the global expansion of Athena SWAN charters.

Using Diversity: to Degenerate Universities into the Most Egregious Wokery
University equality schemes, once the method of choice for “diverse and inclusive” neoliberal governance, are increasingly under siege. Following extensive criticisms of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme by journalists, politicians, and on social media, Advance HE’s Athena SWAN and Race Equality charters are now also under increasing scrutiny. This talk will explore how and why equality schemes became targets in the culture wars of the 2020s, taking into account factors such as the global anti-gender movement, racist ‘anti-woke’ language, and the renewed rise of global fascism.

(speaker bios below)

This online workshop is free and open to all, but advance registration is required.

To register for a place, click HERE.

If you face any access barriers and there are any adjustments we can make to support your full participation, please get in touch via

If you have any questions about the event, please email



Kalwant Bhopal is Professor of Education and Social Justice and Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education at the University of Birmingham. Her recent book, ‘White Privilege: the myth of a post-racial society’ was published by Press Press.

Charikleia (Charoula) Tzanakou is the Co-Director for the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice and a Senior Lecturer of HRM at Oxford Brookes University. She researches how gender and intersectional inequalities are reproduced and can be disrupted in various settings with a focus on higher education and research. She is currently the PI for a H2020 project on impact of COVID-19 on inequalities (RESISTIRE) and a British Council funded project 'Brazil-UK partnership in advancing women in HE'. Some recent publications include: Certifying Gender Equality in Research: Lessons learnt from Athena SWAN and Total E-quality award schemes´ in Frontiers in Sociology; ‘Stickiness in academic career (im) mobilities of STEM early career researchers: an insight from Greece’ in Higher Education; ´Unintended consequences of gender-equality plans´ in Nature and ´Moderate feminism within or against the neoliberal university? The example of Athena SWAN´ with Pearce in Gender, Work & Organization.

Ruth Pearce is a Lecturer in Community Development at the University of Glasgow. Her research explores themes of inequality, marginalisation, power, and transformative political struggle from a trans feminist perspective. She is the author of “Understanding Trans Health” (Policy Press, 2018), plus co-editor of “The Emergence of Trans” (Routledge, 2019) and “TERF Wars” (Sage, 2020). She blogs about her work at

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