University of Dundee University of Dundee
Text only

25 February 2014

University to celebrate women during festival

The University of Dundee is to host a series of events over the next few weeks as part of a city-wide celebration of women.

Dundee Women's Festival will see dozens of art, drama, discussions, workshops and other events taking place on the theme of 'Women's Rights, Roles & Responsibilities' from 1st-24th March at venues across Dundee.

The University will mark the start of the programme this weekend at the latest instalment of the Saturday Evening Lecture Series. 'Leading by Influence: Stories from four remarkable women' will see international crime writer Val McDermid chair a panel of leading female academics discussing gender stereotyping, glass ceilings and the motivation behind their work amongst many other things.

The panel comprises Women's Festival President Professor Sue Black, a world authority on forensic anthropology and human identification, Alyson Leslie, an expert in child care inquiries and reviews, and Niamh NicDaeid, an international expert in fire investigation and drug analysis. The event takes place at the Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, from 6pm on Saturday, 1st March.

Professor Black, Director of the University's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification and Deputy Principal for Public Engagement, said, 'I am looking forward to the SELS event enormously as I get to spend an hour chatting to some of my very favourite and amazing women.

'They are such inspirational role models and the living embodiment of the proof that we can all be whatever we want to be with just some luck and a lot of hard work and determination. It is such an honour to be the first President for the Dundee Women's Festival and it is vital that the University continues to play its pivotal role in encouraging all young minds to aspire to leadership.'

Earlier that day, graduates of the University's MLitt Gender, Culture and Society and MLitt Writing Practice and Study programme will explore the changing lives and experiences of women over the past 200 years as well as hosting a workshop that allows participants the chance to try their hand at writing poetry, prose and plays.

The SELS talk will be followed by a Dundee Arts Cafe event on Tuesday, 4th March when Dr Esther Breitenbach from the University of Edinburgh will provide a glimpse into the lives of women during the past two centuries. The demand for popular literature, magazines and newspapers greatly expanded in that time as levels of literacy rose and women formed an important readership for this burgeoning literature.

Drawing on her recent book, 'Scottish Women: A Documentary History, 1780-1914', Dr Breitenbach will discuss what popular publications and newspapers tell us about the lives of nineteenth-century women in Dundee and other parts of Scotland, and ask whether established views of female behaviour corresponded to the reality of women's lives at The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum at 6pm.

The University's 5 Million Questions initiative will host a debate asking whether the independence referendum should be seen as a risk or an opportunity for the women of Scotland at the Dalhousie Building at 6pm on Friday, 5th March. The event examines women's referendum concerns, reflecting on some of the issues raised at the same event held last year, while looking to the future.

On Saturday, 8th March - International Women's Day - Professor Anne Glover CBE, the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, will appear at the Dalhousie Building to discuss her career and role as chair of the newly created Science and Technology Advisory Council.

A Cafe Science Dundee event will also take place as part of the festival at which Dr Sheila Cunningham will discuss prevailing gender stereotyping and how consumerism links to this issue. The talk, entitled 'Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys?', takes place at Avery & Co, South Tay Street, at 7pm on Monday, 24th March.

All events are free to attend, but some require tickets to be obtained beforehand. More information about the whole programme can be found at

For media enquiries contact:
Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384768
MOBILE: 07854 953277