One week, two seminars, Part Two: ‘Experiencing and Celebrating Fatness’

The second seminar: Experiencing and Celebrating Fatness. Since I was involved in organising this it is hard to get any critical distance. The seminar is part of a larger series on Fat Studies and HAES and this one provided a forum for engagement with fat activism. As such, the space of the seminar was important and it was held in an accessible, non-judgemental space outside academia to encourage community and activist engagement. The papers presented were by a range of academics and activists from the UK, Finland, Sweden, USA and Australia. There was also a poster display (of Unskinny Bop artwork), a mini-Big Bum Jumble and a Fat Studies book stall. Approx. 50 people attended both international academics and activists and also local community members interested in issues of fat, queer and trans embodiment.  The papers were all engaging and moving (angry, celebratory, sad, hopeful) as people spoke of their experiences of activism and of fat embodiment.  Sondra Solovay gave the key note speaking about four different legal cases in the USA which revealed multiple ways in which fat bodies are denied rights and also raised important questions about the potential intersections between fat and disability and queer rights activism in challenging problematic legal precedents. In terms of the MH the combination of discussion of individual experience with creative forms of activism signalled, for me, some interesting potential intersections between MH and fat studies that deserve further exploration.

See also other blog posts on this seminar by Charlotte Cooper and Stacy Bias

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