On July 16th 2013 I hosted an event supported by ESRC/CASS and the Lancaster University FASS-Enterprise Centre on Challenging Homophobia and Homophobic Bullying through Children’s Literature.
The event aimed to start a conversation about the use of children’s literature as a resource for effectively challenging homophobia and homophobic bullying and included attendees ranging from MPs and charity spokespersons to prominent academics and educational practitioners to children’s publishers and literature retailers. All who attended were experienced in issues of homophobia and homophobic bullying or with issues relating to inclusive children’s literature.
The 2-hour event, which took around 6 months of organisation to bring together, included 6 presentations and a roundtable discussion, and turned out to be a success both in terms of an opportunity for knowledge exchange and networking.
The presentations were structured into 2 sessions. The first session focussed on issues of homophobia and homophobic bullying. The second session focussed on issues of using children’s literature as a means for addressing issues of inclusion.
Each year, two early researchers are appointed to the Challenge Panel, where they benefit both from the contact with senior colleagues and from the interdisciplinary nature of the panel’s working environment. We’re pleased to introduce the first 2013 appointment, Lancaster University PhD student Mark McGlashan. Here’s what Mark has to say about himself and his work:
I am Mark McGlashan, a doctoral student in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University. My ESRC funded research looks at the representations of same-sex parents in children’s picturebooks. Though my research is concerned with issues relating to homophobia and how children’s literature might be used to challenge or prevent the perpetuation of homophobia, I am generally interested in issues of social inequality and injustice. With the help of CASS, I am taking my work beyond the boundaries of my PhD to work with key individuals from, amongst others, academia, publishing, and politics to increase the visibility and availability of LGBT children’s literature that challenge homophobia in schools.