Artwork: Zen Mushrooms by Alexandra Nicole

Lauren Cowling


Let me begin with a big ‘welcome back’ to Cultivate! It has been two years since our last issue (Bodies, June 2019) and a lot has changed since then. ‘The pandemic’, as it has come to be known, has affected all of us and left an indelible mark on our collective histories. Here at the Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS) we have done our best to keep lifting each other up, supporting each other’s research and keeping the community going. As O’Dessa and Gemma so beautifully penned in their founding editorial, Cultivate aims to nourish and encourage feminist activism and scholarship by being a space where feminist thought can be explored through multiple modes of expression.

It has been an absolute joy to work with our (entirely new) Cultivate team on our third issue, “Re-Growth: Scholars of the Centre for Women’s Studies”. We decided to focus the theme of this issue on the phenomenal work of our current postgraduates – but non-CWS readers can be assured our future CfPs will continue to be open to all scholars! We have a mixture of both critical and creative pieces from current MA students and PhD candidates. If you are interested in finding out more about the feminist scholar haven that is the CWS, you can read more on the Centre website.

“Consider mushrooms.”

– Anna Tsing (2012, p.141)

When considering what we could title this issue, and what cover art we might choose, I was immediately drawn to nature for its perpetual regeneration, renewal and regrowth. We wanted to acknowledge the pandemic and how we are surviving it, how we are emerging from our collective grief and trauma to allow new life to grow. As a Centre, we had our physical connections severed and were scattered across the globe but, as Cultivate attests, we continued to come together as a community to support each other. We are an ever-evolving network, much like mycelium we connect to each other across diasporas and across generations. Mushrooms are, in the words of Anna Tsing, “what manages to live despite capitalism” (2015, viii). We, as feminists, as marginalised people, manage to live despite. Fungi takes darkness and decay and evolves anyway, nourishing the earth with their existence, growing and re-growing. We had found our inspiration, our title, and then we found our cover art – with thanks and credit to wildlife biologist and artist Alexandra Nicole

Continuing on the theme of thanks and acknowledgements, thank you to the lovely CWS staff for their knowledge and wisdom, and particularly to Dr Rachel Alsop who has been a close advisor to the team throughout the publication process. Thank you to our peer reviewers who volunteered their time and submitted thoughtful and insightful feedback to our contributors. A special note of thanks to the new members of the advisory board who have joined us in 2021, particularly Dr Blu Tirohl, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gender Studies, now also housed within CWS.

Thank you to our fantastic editorial board for your tireless work and support through every stage and every (remote!) meeting. It has been a delight to work alongside such dedicated feminist colleagues – I think it is safe to say we have all learned a lot from each other and the publishing process. Lastly, but in no way least, a huge thank you to our contributors who have worked so hard on their submissions, graciously receiving and responding to feedback and who have truly made this issue come alive. 




Cultivate 2021


Tsing, A. (2012). “Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species.” Environmental Humanities 1, pp. 141-154. 

Tsing, A. (2015). The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 

Zylinska, Joanna. 2018. The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.