From the 19th to 21st of April, all consortium partners got together at the University of Amsterdam for CCINDLE’s first consortium meeting following the kick-off meeting last autumn. The consortium had grown since our last in-person meeting, with many new researchers having joined the CCINDLE team – so it was great to meet all the new team members in person.
The first day of the consortium meeting started with Work Package (WP) 1 which focuses on the theoretical foundation of CCINDLE – how do contemporary feminist theories of democracy understand, problematise, and address challenges to democracy in Europe nowadays? Partners had already made great progress, following 15 zoom meetings with 14 participants as well as over 60 articles and books discussed. Later we spoke about our communication and dissemination plans – for instance, translating our newsletters into five more languages: Dutch, Spanish, French, Hungarian, and Polish. The first day ended with a 10-minute ferry ride to a restaurant located opposite the canal.
On day two – the longest out of all three days – we discussed WP2 which looks more closely into anti-gender campaigns, including: What pathways to violence do anti-gender mobilisations and their discourses as well as practices create and what are the consequences for democracy? How do anti-gender mobilisations engage with knowledge production at discursive and institutional level and what does this mean for democracy? How do anti-gender mobilisations contribute to de-democratisation and how does this relate to other challenges to the European democracy project? We also thought about the thematic focus of CCINDLE’s country case studies which will include Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK as well as the EU Parliament level. Emerging themes encompassed Gender-based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Rights (including abortion, trans rights, and sexual education).
In the afternoon, we had our first Feminist Democracy Lab at the University of Amsterdam. The first panel session – chaired by our own Conny Roggeband – was titled “Double Trouble: Feminism and Democracy”. Our panellists were vreer verkercke and Maayke Botman. vreer is a long-time trans* and socialist activist who founded several trans* collectives, such as The Noodles and Principle 17 for the right to the highest attainable standard of trans* health. Maayke is a researcher, activist, and writer. She co-authored a pioneering book about Dutch black, migrant and refugee women’s activism. Maayke currently works for the largest foundation in the Netherlands on social welfare issues (Orange Foundation). vreer shared their personal experiences with us – including their experience of the ‘emancipation’ of the trans community in the Netherlands in the early 1990s – as well as Netherlands’ struggles with fascist groups. Maayke, amongst others, spoke about the challenges around knowledge production and receiving funding, as institutions focused on feminism are highly dependent on government funding. Both, overall, highlighted the importance of solidarity in combining efforts to counteract anti-gender and anti-democratic forces. The second session of the Feminist Democracy Lab was titled “Knowledge and Violence: Pathways to De-democratisation” and was chaired by CCINDLE’s Andrea Krizsán and Elżbieta Korolczuk. We were joined by Mary Hawkesworth and Hande Eslen-Ziya. Mary is a distinguished Professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, USA. Hande is a Professor of Sociology as well as Director of the Populism, Anti-Gender, and Democracy Research Group at the University of Stavanger in Norway. The panel highlighted issues gender inequalities in academia – and their effects on gender scholars. The first CCINDLE Feminist Democracy Lab was incredibly insightful, and we took away many lessons learned – both for the project itself as well as more specifically for future Labs. The day then concluded with a lovely dinner at our hotel.
The third and last day of the consortium meeting focused on three more WPs. We spoke about the important first step of WP3 which will be an analysis of social media data, and brainstormed what ‘co-creation’ should look like in practice as part of WP5. All in all, it was a successful first consortium meeting and we are already looking forward to our next consortium meeting which will take place this September in Antwerp, Belgium.
By Jana Dilger