The Sex Workers Open University (SWOU) is getting ready to open its doors again.
Two years ago, over two hundred sex workers, activists and academics came to University of London from around the world for the inaugural gathering. As well as a protest against the Policing And Crime Bill (appropriately enough, outside the statue of Eros*), there were five days of workshops, presentations and art. SWOU attendees swapped skills from self-defence to bondage and striptease and discussed feminism, public perceptions, clients and forced immigration - something particularly pertinent ahead of the London Olympics.
Scroll forward to 2011 and the organisers are looking to build on the success of that event with a follow-up on 12-16 October. They have already held a film festival, a night of digital storytelling and opened the doors to SWOU 2011 submissions.
To raise funds towards travel costs for international guests, they are holding an evening of music, dancing and performances with a raffle and an auction thrown in for good measure. Called Cross Cruising, it will be on 23 September at the Oak Bar on Green Lanes. More information here.
- A video summary of the 2009 Sex Workers Open University
- A gallery of artwork shown during that event.
- Our interview with one of the organisers of this year's Sex Workers Film Festival.
* Yes, yes, we know it's not really Eros. Move along, now.