History Acts 13: DECRIMINALISING SEX WORK
Tuesday 27 November 6PM-8PM
Archaeology Lab, Birkbeck College, 26 Russell Square, London WC1E 7HX
History Acts workshops are led by activists, who give a short talk or presentation about their work. A historian or historians working on a relevant topic will then respond, before opening it up to group discussion.
SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement) is a collective founded and led by sex workers who believe in self-determination, solidarity and co-operation. They campaign for the rights and safety of everyone who sells sexual services. Together they organise skill-shares and support meet-ups just for sex workers, as well as public events. They are UK-based and part of the global sex worker-led movement advocating the full decriminalisation of sex work.
Decrim Now is a coalition of sex workers, human rights activists, trade unionists, feminists and politicians, which is calling for the full decriminalisation of sex work. Launched at The World Transformed in 2018, they are campaigning for the Labour Party to support decriminalisation.
Julia Laite is a lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research interests are in the area of women’s history, the history of sexuality, and the history of migration in Britain and the British world. Her first book, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1930 examined the criminalisation of prostitution in a period that witnessed the codification of laws and development of policies that helped to shape the control of prostitution and the experiences of women who sold sex in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Kate Lister is is a lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University. Kate primarily researches the literary history of sex work and curates the online research project, Whores of Yore, an interdisciplinary digital archive for the study of historical sexuality. Kate has also published in the medical humanities, material culture, Victorian studies and Neo-Medievalism. She regularly writes about the history of sexuality for inews, Vice, and the Wellcome Trust. Kate won the Sexual Freedom Publicist of the Year Award in 2017.
History Acts is a radical history forum, affiliated to the Raphael Samuel Centre, and based at the Institute of Historical Research. Our goal is to bring together radical and left-wing historians and contemporary activists. We want to find new ways to engage as academics with contemporary struggles, to learn from activists, and to see how we can use what expertise and institutional resources we have to provide active solidarity.