ESRC seminar series: Fat Studies and HAES: Bigness Beyond Obesity (More about the series here-

Seminar 4: Researching Fat Studies and HAES: working with/as fat bodies

5th-6th May 2011, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (Elwin Room)

To register to attend the seminar please follow this link:

This seminar will address the ethical and methodological issues involved in researching Fat Studies and Health at Every Size and will explore possibilities for the engagement of public, activist, policy and practitioner communities in Fat Studies and HAES research. The seminar will bring together health professionals, musicians, artists and academics and will include a combination of presentations workshop activities and performance art.

Speakers include:

  • Keynote: Jacqui Gingras, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University. Fleshing Out Knowledges Beyond Bounds
    Jennie Pedley: Silhouettes and surroundings – art collaborations inspired by the history of exercise.
  • Vikki Chalklin, Goldsmiths, University of London: Shared narratives/collective selves: Queer performance as a community of affect
  • Professor John Evans, Loughborough University:  ‘Border Crossings: How not to win friends and influence people in obesity research’
  • Bethan Evans: ‘Juggling different hats: negotiating engagements between policy, activism and academia as a critical fat geographer.
  • Rachel Colls: Big Bodies Dancing: reflections on doing fat research
  • Neil Luck: (Composer)

The seminar will run from 1pm-6pm on Thursday 5th May and 9am-3pm on Friday 6th May.

The seminar is free to attend, including tea/coffee on Thursday 5th May and lunch on Friday 6th May, but participants must meet their own accommodation and transport costs. Directions to the venue can be found here: There is plenty of hotel accommodation available in the centre of Bath.

There will be an optional dinner on Thursday 5th May (costs not covered). Please indicate whether you wish to attend this on the registration form.

There are a limited number of bursaries available to contribute to travel/accommodation costs for students/unwaged participants. To request a bursary, please complete the relevant section on the registration form.

Any questions, please contact Emma Rich (, Lee Monaghan ( or Bethan Evans (




Seminar 4 – Researching Fat Studies and HAES: working with/as fat bodies

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (Elwin Room) 5th-6th May 2011


Thursday 5th May 2011

13.00 – 13.30 Registration and coffee

13.30 – 13.45  Introduction

(Emma Rich, Bethan Evans, Rachel Colls)

13.45 – 14.30 Session One

Chair: Charlotte Cooper

13.45 -14.00 –  Paper 1: Charlotte Cooper: A Fat/Queer Timeline: An update

14.00 -14.30 – Paper 2:  Lucy Aphramor: It’s not good, its not bad, it’s just how it is’: participants’ experiences of a HAES programme in Coventry

14.30 -15.00 –  Paper 3: Jennie Pedley: Silhouettes and surroundings – art collaborations inspired by the history of exercise.

15.00 -15.30 –  Paper 4: Vikki Chalklin, Goldsmiths, University of London: Shared narratives/collective selves: Queer performance as a community of affect

15.30-16.00 – Tea/Coffee

16.00-17.00 Session Two

Chair: Lee Monaghan

16.00-16.30 – Paper 5:  Karen Throsby, Warwick University: “You can’t be too vain to gain if you want to swim the Channel”: marathon swimming, ethnography and the problem of heroic fatness

16.30-17.00 – Paper 6: Professor John Evans, Loughborough University: Border Crossings: How not to win friends and influence people in obesity research


17.00-18.00: Keynote address:

Dr Jacqui Gingras, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University: Fleshing Out Knowledges Beyond Bounds

Chair: Lucy Aphramor

19.00 – Dinner: Panasia Oritental Restaurant, 2 George Street. Bath. 01225 481001

Friday 6th May 2011


09.30-10.00 Coffee/Tea

10.00-12.00 Session Three

Chair: Karen Throsby

10.00-10.30 – Paper 7: Bethan Evans: ‘Juggling different hats: negotiating engagements between policy, activism and academia as a critical fat geographer.

10.30-11.00 – Paper 8: Rachel Colls: Big Bodies Dancing: reflections on doing fat research

11.00-11.30 – Paper 9: Neil Luck: (Composer)

11.30-12.00 – Paper 10: Sally Lemsford, socially-engaged artist-curator

12.00-13.00 – Lunch

13.00-15.00 – Discussion groups, roundtable and conclusion

Chair: Bethan Evans and Emma Rich


Throughout the seminar a range of art work will also be exhibited.


Lucy Aprhamor


Vikki Chalklin


Shared Narratives/Collective Selves: Queer Performance as a Community of Affect

Drawing from the practices of auto- and performance-ethnography this piece will consider how queer performance club spaces appear to enable certain modalities of ‘self’ that are simultaneously individual and communal through the performance of personal narratives translated into shared, collective stories.  Through cabaret, burlesque, comedy, and spoken-word live art, this performance piece presents common experiences of trauma, exclusion and violence linked to stigmatised subjectivities and embodiments, blurring the distinctions of self/other, performer/audience and truth/fiction. Individual experiences and memories are made universal, and personal pain dissipates like laughter through the audience as it is affectively passed from one body to another. Rather than simply discuss in the abstract this phenomena as witnessed within various queer performance contexts, this performance aspires to engage the audience directly in the intersubjective practices of which it speaks by staging a performance that blends my own, my research participant-protagonists, and the audience’s experiences and subjective positioning to create a moment of collective relational being through the act of spectatorship.

Vikki Chalklin is a performer, activist and researcher based at Goldsmiths, University of London and an associate researcher with the AHRC research project Performance Matters. Her current work is located at the intersection of body theory and performance studies, investigating notions of performativity, embodiment, affect and intercorporeality.


Rachel Colls

Rachel Colls is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Durham University. Her research interests include geographies of ‘the body’, feminist theories of embodiment, emotions, obesity, consumption and clothing. She has published on women’s embodied and emotional experiences of clothes shopping, on the role of the BMI in anti-obesity policy and on the use of feminist theory to understand the materialities of fat. She is currently working on a project on big bodies dancing and on a book with Bethan Evans on Critical Geographies of Obesity/Fatness.


Charlotte Cooper

Charlotte Cooper is a queer fat activist based in London, and currently a Government of  Ireland Ph.D scholar at the University of Limerick, courtesy of the Irish Social Sciences  Platform. Charlotte’s background is in DIY culture and journalism. She authored the fat  rights manifesto Fat and Proud: The Politics of Size (1998) and the novel Cherry (2002).  Charlotte  blogs about fat at

Bethan Evans

Bethan Evans is a Lecturer in Human Geography and Medical Humanities at Durham University. Her research centres on the biopolitics surrounding health and education with specific reference to obesity. She has published on the position of young people in contemporary pre-emptive biopolitics concerning obesity and climate change, on young people’s embodied experiences of school sports and on the role of the BMI in anti-obesity policy. She is currently working on an ESRC project on the role of the built environment in anti-obesity policy and on a book with Rachel Colls on Critical Geographies of Obesity/Fatness.

John Evans

John Evans is Professor of Sociology of Education and Physical Education in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. His research interests centre on issues relating to the politics of the curriculum, equity and identity; and embodiment, education and health.  John has published extensively in the Sociology of Education and Physical Education. His books include: Education, Disordered Eating and Obesity Discourse (with Emma Rich, Brian Davies and Rachel Allwood; London: Routledge, 2008); Educational Policy and Social Reproduction (with Brian Davies and John Fitz; Routledge, 2005); Teaching in Transition: The Challenge of Mixed Ability Grouping (Open University Press, 1985); and co-author (with Dr Dawn Penney) of Politics, Policy and Practice in Physical Education (E&FN Spon 1999).). His edited books include: Body Knowledge and Control. Studies in the Sociology of Physical Education and Health; Routledge, 2004), Physical Education, Sport and Schooling : Studies in the Sociology of PE (Falmer Press, 1986), Teachers Teaching and Control (Falmer Press, 1988) and Equality, Education and Physical Education, (Falmer Press, 1993).

Jacqui Gingras, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor, Ryerson University.

Jacqui is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Nutrition. Her research involves theoretical and experiential explorations of critical health and dietetics epistemology and what “counts” as knowledge in nutrition and food education and practice. She has a particular interest in how a dietetic student’s and/or professional’s subjectivity is constituted by power, discourse, race, class, and gender and how those attributes then inform professional practices. Her research engages autoethnographic, narrative, phenomenological, and arts-informed methods as a means for situated and particular understandings of dietetics theory, education, and practice. Her doctoral research, a critical autoethnographic fiction on how dietetic education, subjectivity, and performativity shape a collective understanding of food, weight, and health, was awarded the Ted T. Aoki Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in Curriculum Studies at UBC. Her work appears in the Health at Every Size Journal, Food, Culture & Society, Feminist Media Studies, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Educational Insights, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Currently, Dr. Gingras serves as the Chair of the Centre for the Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (Faculty of Community Services), as a Steering Committee member of the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice, and is a member of the Advisory Committee for Professional Affairs (Dietitians of Canada). She is a Registered Dietitian with the College of Dietitians of Ontario.

Sally Lemsford

Sally Lemsford, socially-engaged artist-curator who enjoys working collaboratively, addressing social issues by setting up events and encounters for specific situations in public spaces. She makes temporary relationships with diverse people in their own locality – shared art experiences of art as process, art as traces, art as an intervention.Starting with a concept and process, she invites people to engage actively so they contribute to the direction that the process takes; the result is cohesive, relevant and amazing. By setting up a thinking space where least expected, she gives people the opportunity to look afresh at their own space, to consider and reflect on their everyday experiences, stories and moments in life. By using everyday non-art formats, she gives people the chance to look, read, digest unfamiliar material in a familiar way. They may not even be aware of this as art. She looks for opportunities that intrigue her, which she thinks she can contribute to strongly and that challenges her to review who she is and how she works. Images, text, sounds, movement, storytelling and playfulness are all important in what she does. How this is communicated effectively to the general public is central to her planning and informs the structure and process of the work she undertakes, wherever she ventures.

Neil Luck


Neil Luck is a composer based in London. His compositional practice focuses on various approaches to non-standard notations, in particular those which implicate either the composer’s own body/movement in construction, or directly engage with the physiology of performance techniques themselves. He studied composition at the University of Surrey, and at the Royal College of Music.

He has also been active in performing his own work, and the work of others around the UK, Europe and Japan, as well as on BBC radio 3 as part of the Cut and Splice festival. He is the founder of ARCO – an experimental string ensemble, and is a co-founder of Squib-box; an artist led cooperative dedicated to the production, recording and dissemination of contemporary avant-garde music.

Neil’s work as a curator has seen led to two major exhibitions in 2008 and 2009 in collaboration with Sam Belinfante; Notations 2008 and The Voice and Nothing More . He has also produced a variety of concerts, happenings and events both independently and in collaboration with a range of other artists.

Jennie Pedley

Jennie Pedley is an artist and a children’s physiotherapist. She has a long history of art science collaborations, funded by the Wellcome Trust. She has created virtual environments based on the memories of young people with cerebral palsy. Jennie has worked with cardiac and respiratory rehabilitation groups on their personal exercise histories. This led to the creation of a Mini Shadow Theatre, allowing people to perform scenes from the history of exercise, available at Tate Britain and the National Theatre. She has just finished a shadow film commission for Newcastle University for the exhibition, Coming of Age: the Art and Science of Ageing. She is currently putting in another bid to the Wellcome Trust at the end of this year.

Idyll exhibition Royal London Hospital, London, Vital Arts, following research on history of exercise, Wellcome Trust funded, 2007

Coming of Age: The Art and Science of Aging “a is for ageing” a four film installation at Great North Museum, Newcastle, 2011 inspired by the research of Newcastle University.


Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution

Elwin Room

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
16-18 Queen Square,

Telephone: 01225 312084

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