Registration and Programme

You now can register for our event on Saturday March 17th from 10am – 4.30pm at 11 Bedford Square; 5-7pm Woburn Room Senate House. Just click here.

The full programme and speaker details are here:


Writing, Women, Suffrage: Bedford Square
Saturday 17 March 10am-4.30pm
 11 Bedford Square and 5-7pm Woburn Room, Senate House



10-11:              Rosemary Ashton (keynote)

‘The Ladies’ College at 47 Bedford Square: Where it all Began’

Prof. Ashton’s keynote will examine the network of people involved in the founding of Bedford College and explore the wider context of activism and education in Bloomsbury during the nineteenth century.

11-11.30:         Coffee; Student Projects and Banner Viewing.


11.30-12.30:  David Herd and Drew Milne

David Herd – The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage and the Campaign to End Indefinite Immigration Detention: Some Points of Intersection’

This paper will consider some points of intersection between the historic campaign for Women’s Suffrage and the contemporary campaign to end indefinite immigration detention. It will address the systems and processes by which the state seeks to effect the exclusion of certain groups and individuals. It will also draw on another anniversary, the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to consider the degree to which the concept of ‘recognition’ can be useful in creating the possibility for a change of law. It will consider, in conclusion, how far poetics can contribute to forms of practice whose objectives are principally political and legal.

Drew Milne – ‘Women’s Suffrage and the Biotariat’

This paper develops the concept of the biotariat proposed by Stephen Collis in ‘Notes towards a Manifesto of the Biotariat’ (2017). This paper explores how the biotariat offers a way of reconsidering how struggles for women’s suffrage mobilised conflicting conceptions of species-being. Contemporaneous with the emergence of what became known as the proletariat, suffragists and suffragettes fought for recognition of women as full political subjects and agents. To what extent did this struggle also reshape the politics of non-human and biological representation? Exploring the representation of cats in campaign materials for and against women’s suffrage, the paper also asks what it would mean to extend women‘s suffrage to a politics of the Biotariat.


12.30-1.30:      Lunch; Banner Making; Student projects on view

1.30-2.30:       Georgina Colby and Sarah Hayden

Georgina Colby: ‘Kathy Acker and New Forms of Suffragism’: What might suffragism mean today? How can the term be actively reclaimed in light of contemporary feminist political issues and literary/feminist experiment?

Sarah Hayden – ‘Sugar of fictitious values’. A Loy-al lecture-poem.


2.30-3.30:        Andrea Brady (Poem)

                            Nisha Ramayya (Poem)

                           Redell Olsen (Film – ‘Now Circa 1918’)


3.30-4.30:        Tea; Banner Making; Procession


5.00:                Arrive Woburn Room, Senate House: Drinks


5:30                 Isabel Waidner

A reading and contextual framing of two formally innovative novels, Gaudy Bauble (2017) and They Are Made of Diamond Stuff (work in progress) by Isabel Waidner. Gaudy Bauble stages a glittering world populated by GoldSeXUal StatuEttes, anti-drag kings, Gilbert-&-George-like lesbians, maverick detectives and a transgender army equipped with question-mark-shaped helmets. It stages what happens when the disenfranchised are calling the shots. They Are Made of Diamond Stuff follows two diamond queers trying to navigate their own working-class milieu in post-EU-referendum Britain. Both novels are imagining versions of contemporary intersectional feminisms, asking what radical feminist activism might look like in Tory Britain.

                        Deborah Levy (keynote)

‘Deborah Levy will be reading from her soon to be released new book, The Cost of Living (Hamish Hamilton, 2018): a working autobiography about the search for a freer life and what it costs a woman to pursue.
“Freedom is never free. Anyone who has struggled to be free knows how much it costs.”


7.00:                Close and thanks.


Biographies of Contributors:


Rosemary Ashton’s book Victorian Bloomsbury was published by Yale University Press in 2012. She has written critical biographies of Coleridge, Thomas and Jane Carlyle, George Eliot, and G.H. Lewes and two works of ‘group biography’, Little Germany and 142 Strand. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies in the School of Advanced Studies, University of London. She was Principal Investigator on the Bloomsbury Project, a comprehensive study of nineteenth-century Bloomsbury. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Royal Society of Literature, and of the Royal Society of Arts. Her most recent book, One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858, was published by Yale University Press in July 2017.

Andrea Brady’s books of poetry include The Strong Room (2016), Dompteuse (2014), Cut from the Rushes (2013), Mutability: Scripts for Infancy (2012), and Wildfire: A Verse Essay on Obscurity and Illumination (2010). She is Professor of Poetry at Queen Mary University of London, where she runs the Centre for Poetry and the Archive of the Now.

Georgina Colby is a senior lecturer in English and course leader for the MA in English Modern and Contemporary Fictions at the University of Westminster. Her recent publications include, Kathy Acker: Writing the Impossible (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and ‘Death and the Contemporary’ in New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory, Politics.

Sarah Hayden is the author of Curious Disciplines: Mina Loy and Avant-Garde Artisthood and co-author, with Paul Hegarty, of Peter Roehr—Field Pulsations (both 2018). Her poems have appeared in Blackbox Manifold, Golden Handcuffs Review, Tripwire, datableed and elsewhere, as well as in the chapbooks Exteroceptive (Wild Honey) and System Without Issue (Oystercatcher) and Turnpikes (Sad Press). She also likes to collaborate with artists. She is a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Southampton, where she directs the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing and runs the Entropics reading series.

David Herd’s collections of poetry include All Just (Carcanet, 2012), Outwith (Bookthug, 2012) and Through (Carcanet 2016). His recent writings on the politics of movement have appeared in Detention Unlocked, Los Angeles Review of Books, Parallax, PN Review, and Times Literary Supplement He is Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Kent and a co-organiser of the project Refugee Tales.

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays and essays. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, widely broadcast on the BBC, and translated into fifteen languages. The author of highly praised novels, including Hot Milk and Swimming Home  (both shortlisted for the Man Booker prize), The Unloved, Billy & GirlSwallowing Geography, Beautiful Mutants, the story collection Black Vodka, and two works of memoir, Things I Don’t Want to Know and The Cost of Living. Deborah Levy is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.

 Ruth Livesey’s publications include Writing the Stage Coach Nation: Locality on the Move in Nineteenth-Century British Literature (OUP, 2016), Socialism, Sex, and the Culture of Aestheticism in Britain, 1880-1914 (OUP, 2007) and the co-edited The American Experiment and the Idea of Democracy in Britain, 1773-1914 (Ashgate, 2013). She was an editor of Journal of Victorian Culture 2008-2015. Her research moves between nineteenth-century social movements, the history of ideas, and literary forms and her current research is on English provincialism and the aesthetics of middleness. She is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Drew Milne’s collected poems, In Darkest Capital were published by Carcanet in late 2017. He is the Judith E Wilson Lecturer in Drama & Poetry, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge.

Redell Olsen’s publications include Film Poems (Les Figues, 2014), Punk Faun: a bar rock pastel (Subpress, 2012), Secure Portable Space (Reality Street, 2004), Book of the Fur (rem press 2000), and, in collaboration with the bookartist Susan Johanknecht, Here Are My Instructions (Gefn, 2004). Recent chapbooks include: Smock and Mox Nox (Electric Crinoline Editions, 2017). From 2006-2010 she was the editor of How2, the international online journal for Modernist and contemporary writing by women. She is currently Professor in Poetry and Poetics at Royal Holloway, University of London where she directs the RHUL Poetics Research Centre.

Nisha Ramayya’s poetry pamphlets Notes on Sanskrit (2015) and Correspondences (2016) are published by Oystercatcher Press. Her work may be found online in The Believer, Blackbox Manifold, DatableedJungftak: A Journal for Prose-Poetry, Litmus, and The White Review. She is a member of the ‘Race & Poetry & Poetics in the UK’ research group and the interdisciplinary practice-as-research group Generative Constraints.

Isabel Waidner is a writer and cultural theorist. She is the author of three books of innovative fiction, most recently Gaudy Bauble (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017), which the writer Olivia Laing described as a “beguiling, hilarious, rollocking and language-metamorphosing novel”. Her articles and short fictions have appeared in journals including 3:AM, Configurations, The Quietus and Minor Literature[s]. As part of the indie band Klang, Waidner released records on labels Rough Trade (2003) and Blast First (2004). She is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Roehampton University and the editor of Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018).








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