This event took place on 12 July 2019 in the Fellows Drawing Room, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. Organised by the BOWW project.

Proceeds from the event will be published in a special issue of Women: A Cultural Review.

Is it possible to harness the market to achieve political and ethical goals? This symposium examines the interface between enterprise, ethics and activism in the cultural industries, with a particular focus on the publishing sector and on feminist interventions. Papers will explore the challenges and opportunities offered by the harnessing of enterprise and for-profit forms of cultural practice with goals such as gender equity, environmental sustainability, diversity and social justice. The symposium spans historical and contemporary examples, and asks how past practice might inform the present.


9:00-9.30 Registration, coffee, upload of any slides or website links

9:30-9:45: Welcome address BOWW team

9:45-10:40: Keynote: Kaitlynn Mendes: Digital Feminist Labour: The immaterial, aspirational and affective labour of feminist activists and fempreneurs

(Chair: Margaretta Jolly)

10.40-11: Coffee in foyer

11–12.30: Panel One: Feminist Book Publishing

(Chair D-M Withers)

  • Bibia Pavard, ‘The business is political’: Des femmes publishing house and the question of power in the French Women’s Liberation Movement (1972-1979)
  • Gillian Murphy, Onlywomen Press
  • Catherine Riley, Gender and genre: feminist publishing’s effect on the form of women’s fiction

12:30–1:10: In Conversation: Book Publishing Today Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (Cassava Republic Press) and Simidele Dosekun

1.10–2pm Lunch

2-3pm Panel Two: Feminist Magazine Businesses

(Chair: Professor Kristina Schulz)

  • Melanie Waters, Risky Ms.-ness? The Business of Women’s Liberation Periodicals in the 1970s
  • Victoria Bazin, Mslexia Magazine: Feminist Literary Enterprise in Periodical Publishing

3-4pm: Panel Three – Marketing, Distributing and Consuming Feminism

(Chair: Zoe Strimpel)

  • Rosy Mack, Commerce and Community: The Women’s Press Book Club
  • Gail Chester, From self-publishing collective to multinational corporation: the publishing history of In Other Words – Writing as a Feminist

4-4.15: Tea in foyer

4.15-5.30 Keynote: Joshua Clark Davis, The feminist business debates of the 1970s and what they mean for today

 (Chair: Lucy Delap), with responses from Business of Women’s Words team

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