It has been awhile, well 2 years since I presented at an academic conference. On Thursday I presented a paper at the British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2018, entitled The ‘Strong Black Woman’: An Intersectionality Analysis of Black Women Prison Service Employees, taken from a chapter in my PhD thesis.
The theme for this year’s BSA was ‘Identity, Community and Social Solidarity’. Kimberle Crenshaw, a Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, was one of the distinguished speakers. I never got a chance to watch her presentation live or meet her on this occasion. I have met her once, many years ago, when I started my PhD. Work commitments and the cost of the conference were the reasons I could only attend one day, the day of my presentation which was not the day when Kimberle spoke.
I guess that is why I have a conflicting relationship between my academic interests and occupation. It’s difficult to explain. I am equally committed to both. However, my job pays the bills so my academic interests are recreational.
When I attend conferences and lectures I feel exhilarated and liberated, surrounded by like minded people who share an interest in sociological and psychological theory and phenomenon. Whereas at work, I enjoy making decisions and working with others to improve practices and processes within my sector. I like being theoretical and practical, combining both approaches. I have always combined both and will more than likely continue to do so.
When I attend conferences and lectures I leave feeling energised and inspired with a keenness to apply and test what I have learnt.
I am more determined than ever to advocate for an intersectional analysis of civil service staff data. This is the only way the organisation will have a clear understanding of the racial/gender hierarchy that exist amongst staff.
I have already started making links with other academics at other universities, as the BSA conference was an opportunity for me to network. I am interested in doing joint projects and keeping abreast of the work and ideas of other academics in my field, while raising awareness of the need for intersectional analysis of demographic data.