Women and comedy symposium

deadline for submissions: 
May 22, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Mixed Bill: comedy and gender research network
contact email: 

Mixed Bill: comedy and gender research network

Women and comedy symposium

University of Salford Thursday 19th October 2017


In 1985 the Guerilla Girls protested about the lack of women artists included in exhibitions at New York’s many internationally renowned museums. The argument underpinning their protest was that women are disproportionately represented as the object of art rather than as the artists themselves. This could be considered to be similar to the way the comedy industry in the UK has historically operated. Although women have always been involved in the creation of humour often their contribution has been overlooked, remained un-captured or simply written out of history.

Since the alternative comedy movement of the 1980s women have played a more active and high profile role as the generators of performed comedy, rather than operating solely as the subject for stereotypical punchlines. Put simply, ‘her indoors’ has become ‘her onstage’. This symposium event seeks to address the under-representation of women in critical considerations of comic performance and to provide an opportunity to explore the contributions made by those identifying as female to live and recorded comedy.

This symposium will be the first convened by Mixed Bill, a newly established interdisciplinary comedy and gender research network currently comprised of researchers from the Universities of Salford, Leeds and Sheffield Hallam. This inaugural event will be a vibrant mixture of academic papers, interventions, workshops and panel discussions and will coincide with the opening of the 2017 UK Women in Comedy Festival in central Manchester. As part of the symposium, attendees will be invited to the launch night festivities as a chance to socialise, network and encounter first-hand the evolving strategies that seek to challenge the inequalities on today’s live comedy circuit.

We welcome abstracts for 20 minute papers on comedy and female performance/representation which may include, but is not limited to, the following areas:

  • Comedy and politics
  • Intersectional issues and comedy
  • Comedy and contemporary feminisms
  • Comedy and female sexuality
  • The female body in comedy (self-objectification and ageing)
  • Comedy and women’s health and wellbeing
  • Comedy and female protest

We are particularly interested in papers and interventions that explore the work of UK based performers (either in the live arena or in recorded forms of comedy). This event is inclusive to all genders, however the focus of the papers will be on the work of those identifying as female.

Please submit abstracts by Monday 22nd May. Abstracts should be 250 words maximum in a Word document (not a PDF), with minimal formatting. Please also include (in the same document), and as independent of this word count: name; email and postal address; title and affiliation(s); recent publications / creative outputs; any further relevant biographical information. Decisions to be communicated by 9th June.

If you have any questions please get in contact with the symposiums organisers.

Ellie Tomsett (Sheffield Hallam University) Lisa Moore (University of Salford) and Kate Fox (University of Leeds) – mixedbill@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter: @MixedBill