The AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, CentreLGS, was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council for 5 years, from 2004-2009. A partnership between 3 UK universities: Kent, Keele and Westminster, the Centre was established to stimulate critical, interdisciplinary research in law, gender and sexuality. Over its lifetime, the Centre foregrounded new conceptual and ethodological approaches to its subject, and produced substantive scholarship in healthcare and bioethics, law and culture, and governance and regulation. With over 100 members across three partner institutions and a wider network of several hundred UK and internationally-based colleagues, CentreLGS worked to build a vibrant space within the law, gender & sexuality field through a varied series of events – from small seminars to large international conferences, including collaborative colloquia in Canada and India.
While the Centre focused on encouraging new, critical scholarship, and theoretically driven, policy-engaged research, central to this project -- as conceived by the Centre's Director Davina Cooper -- was building an open, collaborative, non-hierarchical intellectual environment, attentive to pluralistic approaches to questions of equality, social justice and diversity. These principles and values shaped the Centre LGS developmental work with postgraduate students – most prominently in the Centre LGS graduate-led annual workshop, graduate exchanges, the leadership of Centre doctoral students in organizing and speaking on conference panels and in workshop discussions and the founding of the Postgraduate and Early Career Network (PECANS), which has since received funding to continue its work. Collaboration, intellectual pluralism, and a commitment to social justice also informed the Centre LGS's engagement with non-academic constituencies.
Over 5 years, CentreLGS contributed to a reshaping of the field of law, gender & sexuality, crossing and subverting traditional disciplinary borders and drawing on a wide array of intellectual resources. In particular, the Centre LGS developed humanities- inflected empirical research, using cultural studies, history, political economy, and critical political theory to address the governance and regulation of (and also through) bodies, genders and sexualities. Central to this work has been the foregrounding of “intersectionality” (the interrelationship of different inequalities). Publications, including articles, books, and journal special issues, provide evidence of the Centre’s interdisciplinary, critical approach, and its emphasis on multiple forms of power. More information about the work of Centre LGS is available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/clgs
As part of the University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, Professor Davina Cooper put together this fantastic overview of the aims, objectives and impact of the Centre since its inception.