Introducing Cultivate: The Feminist Journal of CWS
By O’Dessa Darling Gemma Gibson

In January 2017 an estimated five million people worldwide took to the streetsThis ‘Women’s March’ was sparked by the imminent inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the USA, protesting his governmental and personal politics and inspired by earlier U.S. demonstrations, such as the 1913 Suffragettes March and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Significantly, this US women’s event exploded beyond its original remit. First, people in at least 137 countries took part, combining protests against U.S. policies with a focus on local issues. Second, this ‘women’s march’ took on matters far removed from narrowly-defined ‘women’s problems’, and ranged across a whole host of human rights issues, clearly embedding feminism within intersectional activism. Despite the ‘women’s march’ receiving several critiques, especially around classism and racism, as women in our 20s, it was the most public and wide-ranging embrace of feminism that we had experienced. We have both been feminists for a long time, in the US and the U.K., yet the openness and popularity of these marches and their aftermath seemed to herald a new era of feminist protest, and one we wanted to explore and extend for the first issue of Cultivate.

As well as being feminists, we are also women in academia, and feminist activism is part of our day-to-day lives. We view our scholarly work – making new sense of the injustices in the world, attempting to understand who holds power in what contexts and how change can be affected – as political. Cultivate, a journal based in a University, starts from this premise, but aims to be a space where feminist thought can be explored through alternative modes of expression. Alongside sociological, literary and interdisciplinary papers our inaugural issue includes poetry, film and visual art. We are excited by these contributions as they represent significant modes of feminist protest within and without of academia.

By definition, ‘to cultivate’ is to acquire or develop a quality or skill, and we are proud that our contributors are at different stages of their feminist journeys. We hope our inaugural edition of Cultivate will nourish and encourage this activist space. And we look forward, with you, to future issues and new visions of feminism.


We would first like to thank the staff at the Centre for Women’s Studies, especially our director Victoria Robinson and academic supervisor Ann Kaloski-Naylor who have consistently supported us the throughout this process and helped us to believe that a project as ambitious as Cultivate was achievable.

Thank you to our peer reviewers, proofreaders and the members of our advisory board whose advice and guidance have been invaluable whilst editing our first edition.

We would also like to thank our associate editors especially Anaïs Duong-Pedica, Imogen Knowelden, Tallulah Lines, Rachele Salvatelli, Katie Smith, Arunima Theraja, Ellie Terry and Imogen White for all of their extra efforts in addition to their editorial roles.

Finally, we must thank our contributors who have provided Cultivate with engaging and creative submissions that address the vast topic of feminist protest. Without their hard work, this issue would truly not have been possible.

© O’Dessa Darling, Gemma Gibson

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