Sex, Rights and Pleasure Lab

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IDS & School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

United Kingdom

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In the Sex, Rights and Pleasure Lab we will see teams of students creating new interventions to digitally mediated gender based and sexual violence, using a sexual health rights approach that highlights the importance of rights to sexual pleasure as well as freedom.

With the help of the designers, researchers and marketing experts they will develop interventions –technical or social or a combination - which they pitch live to senior international gender research specialists international and record these on film to an expert jury and a general audience on the internet to compete for the jury and the audience award. The Sex, Rights and Pleasure Lab takes place at the University of Sussex from Monday 16 to Friday 20 January 2017. This is when the students are not having classes and are coming back from Christmas break so they can work with us.

Across the five days the workshop will bring together a range of students (social sciences, engineering, medical sciences, media studies, and computer sciences) with commercial and non-profit designers, marketing and media experts, sex educators and researchers working internationally on gender and digital technology.

Workshop Programme

Day 1

Research Day - Meeting of researchers from the IMPACT Initiative to share their findings and discuss themes. How can this inform new interventions to digitally mediated gender based and sexual violence, using a sexual health rights approach?

Day 2

ESRC/ DFID researchers present key practical findings and themes.

Discussion with students around their experience and insights on with digitally mediated gender based and sexual violence –are there common threads, patterns, priorities?

Students will work with data analysts in a mini-hackathon to see what themes emerge and can or cannot be answered. This combination of personal experience and data will be discussed in how it can be used to combat sexual and gender based violence on campus and promote the right to sexual pleasure. Andrea Cornwall, University of Sussex, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Equalities and Diversity will explain policies and the relevance of student activism to create an inclusive and diverse campus. At the end of the day students have picked a theme and a team

ESRC/ DFID researchers, Other academic researchers & experts sexual health practitioners, students, data analysts, researchers, sexual rights activists

Day 3

Multidisciplinary teams of marketing experts, designers, sexual rights activists and students develop an intervention combining academic knowledge with personal experiences.

Day 4

Finalise their idea and prepare them for pitching their proposed intervention in response on YouTube and develop a (social) marketing campaign to win the competition.

Day 5

Filming and posting of contestants pitches on YouTube.Presentation and discussion with international gender experts on the topic and this approach to research and partnership.

10th February

Online voting of the YouTube films ends

14th February

Winning student team awarded with prize at event to on Valentine’s day to coincide with the launch of the IDS Bulletin ‘Sex Education in the Digital era’

Get Involved!

  • o Share this event as widely as you can!
  • o Allocate staff to discuss experience and insights on digitally mediated gender based and sexual violence with students on day 2 –are there common threads, patterns, priorities?
  • o Allocate staff with social media, design, data analytics or marketing to work with the student teams on day 3 and 4 to create their idea (such as an app, or digital campaign etc.)
  • o Provide a digital platform to host or share the student films, such as your website, youtube channel or instagram, where people can vote for their favourite idea.
  • o Provide an award to the winning idea. This can be financial – most students can use it well - but it does not need to be money.
  • o Creative input to help make this event a success. Ideas welcome!

We expect the participants of the workshop to include:

  • University of Sussex students from a range of departments, including (social sciences, engineering, medical sciences, design studies, media studies, computer sciences)
  • University of Sussex staff
  • DFID RPC researchers from digital and gender research projects brought together under the Impact Initiative, as well as other researchers working on this topic.
  • Media experts and professionals
  • Sexual health care product manufacturers
  • Sexual health program implementers at different levels, including programme managers and coordinators from government and non-government programmes and initiatives
  • Social media and digital designers
  • NGO policy and advocacy leaders
  • Sexual rights and digital rights activists
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