NORA Conference illustrates the breadth of Nordic gender research
The NORA Conference 2022 was held from the 20th to the 22nd of June in Oslo. With over 200 participants, the conference was an excellent chance to gain an overview of what is happening within Nordic feminist and gender research.
Photos: Andrew Feltham
The fundamental aim of the NORA Conference 2022 was to create a meeting place in which to explore the tensions and potentials within Nordic feminist and gender research. A mix of keynote lectures, plenary panels, and parallel sessions facilitated overarching discussions across disciplinary borders, as well as discussions focused on more circumscribed research interests and methodologies.
The keynote lectures provided different perspectives on Nordic gender research. The first keynote was Marianne Liljeström (University of Turku), who emphasized the importance of diversity and dissent within Nordic feminist and gender research. Later the same day, Amund Rake Hoffart (University of Oslo) held a lecture on intersectionality as an academic concept. On day two, Astri Dankertsen (Nord University) discussed strategies for fighting the erasure of Samí perspectives within Nordic feminist and gender research. On the final day of the conference, Raewyn Connell offered an outsider’s view in a digital lecture in which she discussed what the specific qualities of Nordic gender research can offer a world that faces challenges such as anti-feminist movements and increasing economic inequalities. Video recordings of the keynote lectures will be made available on the Centre for Gender Research’s (STK) website.
Equally important were the plenary sessions organized by the other gender research centres in Norway. These panel discussions brought up pressing questions within Nordic gender research, relating to the possibilities for queer thought and approaches within academia, understandings of race and racism in the Nordics, and how gender research can face today’s challenges in the Arctic. The Nordic Association for Feminist and Gender Research also had a closing plenary session, in which they pointed to some of the overarching themes that had come up during the conference and looked ahead to the next NORA conference.
There was also a total of 45 paper sessions at the conference. This was where you could really see the diversity that exists within Nordic feminist and gender research, with sessions on feminist ethnography, fat studies, domestic violence, feminist academic publishing, and feminist peace and security work, to name a few examples.
For many participants, NORA 2022 was the first large-scale,8 in-person conference they had attended after several years of working from home and digital meetings. Many were therefore especially happy to be able to have academic discussions face to face. Luckily, the conference offered many opportunities for socializing, including a reception in Oslo City Hall, and a conference dinner at Ekebergrestauranten. The various coffee and lunch breaks during the conference were also an excellent arena for catching up with familiar faces and getting to know new people.
Beret Bråten, deputy director at STK, is very pleased with the conference:
–There is every reason to be proud of a NORA conference that really showcased the breadth of gender research, that brought up important discussions, and that urged us to develop the field in ways that must continue after the conference as well. The organizing committee at STK did a solid job of planning and arranging the event – congratulations to them!