Making space

I went to a great talk today in my college, focusing on women of colour and intersectional feminism more generally. Hearing about the many ways in which women of colour are silenced and erased from mainstream narratives was truly an eye-opener, and made me rethink lots of things. I was most struck by something the speaker said about making space for others and for their voices. She emphasised the importance of listening to the experiences of others, particularly when they differ to your own. As a white woman, I cannot presume to know what it is like to be a Muslim woman, or a disabled woman, or a black woman. So why should I assume that I can speak for these women? They are infinitely better able to speak for themselves. And yet they are rarely given the chance to do this. Surely the best way to be an ally is to give them that chance.

Sometimes it’s not about leaning in; maybe instead it’s about sitting back and making space for those voices that are usually left out of the circle.

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Currently…

Watching: Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones…. And Masterchef, for the days when there isn’t Game of Thrones.

Hearing: ‘West Coast’, Lana del Rey’s latest offering, as well as anything on BBC Radio 4.

Reading: many, many books/articles for my work; and in my free moments, Maria Elia’s ‘Smashing Plates’ and Niki Segnit’s ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’. (The latter is definitely one of my favourite books, it’s really reinvigorated my cooking!)

Making: cakes. Banana & date for a friend’s birthday last weekend, then my version of Sabrina Ghayour’s famous carrot, almond & pistachio cake.. I quite fancy something lemony next!

Wishing: for a holiday! Then again, Oxford in the spring is like being on holiday. If only it weren’t for all that pesky work that is clamouring to be done…

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Spring Cleaning

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There’s something about spring that is so invigorating. The beautiful weather (so far, anyway!), the food that’s in season, the explosion of colour, the longer evenings… I love all four seasons, but I can’t escape from the euphoria of spring. It’s my birthday season, and I’ve always looked forward to it. This year spring has sprung in full force: Oxford has been bathed in gorgeous sunlight and is awash with blossom in every shade of pink. To me, this is the season of fresh starts, more so than the New Year could ever be. And so, fresh starts for this blog (hopefully!). In the last year and a bit I’ve finished my Master’s, begun my PhD, and have just taken on a new role representing my fellow students. There have been ups and downs (and some rather nasty playground politics), but I’m optimistic for the year ahead. There is a lot of work to be done (especially in the next couple of months!), and it may not always be appreciated or recognised, but that’s ok. I’m keeping this song as my guide.