#HereBeWomen: The Place and Placelessness of Women Outdoors
In 2021 six women came together to explore the intersections of their research and lived experiences.
Heidi Smith, Morgan Ludington, Anouska Duffy, Denise Mitten, Justina Burks, Mary Breunig.
A research question was formulated to guide the collaborative work:
In what ways do women experience their places in the outdoors?
Ethical approval has been approved through the University of Edinburgh.
In February 2022 a Webinar Presentation was shared with the IOERC community and beyond.
#HereBeWomen: The place and placelessness of women outdoors
Presenters: Justina Burks, Anouska Duffy, Morgan Ludington
Mary Breunig, Denise Mitten, Heidi Smith
Despite individual and collective efforts to change the status quo of privilege, a culture of gender performativity remains present in the outdoor profession. This webinar focuses on experiences of women in the outdoors, and how women’s voices remain silent including what happens when women speak up. We begin with a provocation for you to respond to, followed by a historical look at women in the outdoors. A range of provocations follow, including exploring who is woman, who defines woman, and sharing storied experiences of women. We encourage you to join us and share your stories in this interactive webinar. We welcome people of all backgrounds, agender, and genders. This is not a webinar for women only, this is a webinar for the outdoor profession. You will have opportunities throughout the webinar to discuss in small groups and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
To watch the webinar, click on the image below.
Attendees of the webinar were invited to take part in the research through their engagement in the webinar, including comments posted in the chat space on Zoom and were invited to take part in a survey post webinar. Invitations to take part in an interview have also been offered, with interviews to take place in the second half of 2022.
The early findings were presented at the International Outdoor Education Research Conference in Ambleside UK 2022.
#HereBeWomen: Our place and placelessness in the outdoors—moving beyond words
Denise Mitten, Mary Breunig, Justina Burks, Anouska Duffy, Morgan Ludington, Heidi Smith
Despite individual and collective efforts to change the status quo, a culture of gender performativity remains present in the outdoor profession (Gray & Mitten, 2018). A neoliberal school model has begun to permeate the outdoor education profession but neoliberalism as a school policy plan created deleterious effects in schooling for black and brown and other marginalized people—especially in the workforce, contrary to the bright future it was thought to have (Ali, 2019). Historically outdoor trips as well as the outdoor profession has been deeply segregated by gender, race/ethnicity, and ability. This presentation shares experiences of women in the outdoors, and the ongoing silence of women’s voices, including what happens when women speak up (Jordan, 2018). A host of questions about where the outdoor profession is now are ripe to explore: Will a neoliberal trend help or hinder progress towards a more inclusive profession? Are programs becoming more sensitive to the developmental problems of focusing on accomplishments rather than competency and relationships? Are both genders continuing to perform but not really change. Are emotional, spiritual, and social well-being integrated into programming? Are men becoming more relational? Are men performing in a relational matter but retaining the privilege or dispersing privilege? Are we moving beyond words? We will use a range of provocations to invoke thinking and promote discussion. We welcome people of all backgrounds, agender, and genders. This is not a presentation for women only, this is for the outdoor profession.
Gray, T., & Mitten, D. (Eds.). (2018). The Palgrave international handbook of women and outdoor learning. Springer.
Jordan, D. J. (2018). Ongoing challenges for women as outdoor leaders. In T. Gray & D. D. Mitten (Eds).The Palgrave international handbook of women and outdoor learning (pp. 217-233). Palgrave, Springer.
Ali, S. (2019). A Second-Class Workforce: How Neoliberal Policies and Reforms Undermined the Educational Profession. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 8(3), 102-110
The research is ongoing and this blog will be updated as we progress.