Guest post by Sundari Anitha introducing the Stand Together project
Stand Together, an action research project that is taking place at the University of Lincoln (UL) to tackle the issue of gender-based violence, is one of the first university-wide prevention education programmes in the UK. It entails peer education programmes involving student volunteers, a poster campaign and a theatre project facilitated by Scottish Women’s Aid, White Ribbon Campaign and Tender.
As one of the core interventions, students will receive two days’ training from Scottish Women’s Aid and the White Ribbon Campaign, learning how to recognise problematic attitudes and behaviour (eg., homophobic statements or jokes, victim blaming attitudes, abusive behaviour) and will be given training on ways to speak out and challenge such behaviour safely if they encounter it, and on how to offer support to those affected by it. Once they have been trained, the students will then run further workshops in pairs for other groups of students to pass on their knowledge and skills. A group of students from the School of Fine and Performing Art will work with Tender, a charity which uses theatre to promote healthy relationships, to develop theatrical performances on the issue of gender-based violence. These performances will be shown across the university campus. Additionally, students will design posters to spread their message across the university and in venues in the city of Lincoln.
Alongside these interventions, student volunteers will also work with staff in different schools at the university to organise three periods of intensive activism against gender-based violence on the campus. These activities are geared towards raising awareness and promoting a debate at a broader social level, beyond small group private settings, which might be the arena for much bystander intervention. The first of these periods will be within the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (4-10 December). The second period of activism will in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, where among other issues the focus will be on consent. The third week of activism (if we can sustain this!) will be in March, soon after International Women’s Day.
This project is being conducted by a team of researchers – Sundari Anitha, Ana Jordan, Jill Jameson, Claire Markham (Schools of Social and Political Sciences), Zowie Davy (School of Health and Social Care) and Aylwyn Walsh (School of Fine and Performing Art) and is being funded by College of Social Sciences, University of Lincoln. The research team will be conducting a range of mixed methods evaluation to understand the role of prevention education in shifting attitudes and intervention behaviour in relation to GBV.