C2C: Building Strong Connections through GEA Conference

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C2C: Building Strong Connections through GEA Conference

by Professor Penny Jane Burke
Director, Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education
and Global Innovation Chair of Equity Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education


I am thrilled that the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education at the University of Newcastle will be hosting this year’s Gender and Education Association conference. It has been a great pleasure to work with a wonderful conference organizing team and also to generate a special issue of Teaching in Higher Education in anticipation of the conference, exploring themes of gender, post-truth populism and pedagogies.

It feels like an enormously important time for us to be gathering for a conference to interrogate the politics of post-truth populism and its implications for feminist scholarship, intervention, activism and pedagogy. The explicit and public misogynist foundations underpinning this wave of ‘post-truth’ populism together with its clearly racist articulations is extraordinary in its total lack of humility or shame. The conference enables an opportunity for shared thinking around this which will help to strengthen and contribute to a set of carefully thought through responses from across a diverse feminist collective.

The conference promises a range of voices, histories and experiences to be expressed through feminist research, scholarship and practice and will bring us together across our differences to share, learn from and understand how we make sense of ‘post-truthisms’ and claims to ‘fake news’, while simultaneously we disrupt and deconstruct universalizing, homogenizing, decontextualized and disembodied claims to truth which work to more subtly reproduce insidious inequalities across, within and through educational institutions and pedagogical spaces.

The conference will engage key questions such as whose knowledge matters, who decides and under what circumstances and with what implications? We will consider deep ontological questions in relation to knowledge and practice and with a strong commitment to activism and making a difference through pedagogical processes and relations. With an exciting group of keynote speakers lined up and a rich body of papers across the conference themes, I am looking forward to the chance to work together to think through some of the real challenges we are faced with in the contemporary field of gender and education, the emergent and new opportunities and risks that face us through for example digital technologies, and the ways we might build strong connections to sustain us beyond the conference itself.


Watch Professor Penny Jane Burke deliver the talk Equity in Higher Education: Why Gender Matters as part of the New Professors Talk series at the University of Newcastle, Australia:


If you are attending conference, let us know on Twitter using the hashtag: #GEAconf2018

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