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Purpose & Profit with Carolynn Bain, Margaretta Jolly, Aimée Felone, and Pauline Rutter

Purpose & Profit with Carolynn Bain, Margaretta Jolly, Aimée Felone, and Pauline Rutter

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How have activists used publishing and bookselling to empower readers, create writers and establish communities? What is the role of business in social justice movements, both in the past and the future? How are the rights and interests of people from different communities transformed when they are published and consumed in the marketplace? Join our inspiration panel as they reflect on how businesswomen in previous eras have shared ideas of social justice and offered inspiration and courage in uncertain times.

Sunday 23 June | 11am-1pm
Brighton University City Campus, 58-67 Grand Parade, BN2 0JY

Carolynn Bain has become a key influencer in Brighton. Her heart to see diversity in a city she loves dearly, and to change the narrative for marginalised communities, led her to create the award-winning bookshop Afrori Books in 2020.  Afrori Books is the UK’s largest supplier of books by black authors, Brighton’s first black-owned bookshop, and, most importantly, a hub and safe haven for black people and their allies in East Sussex. She is behind other successful initiatives including The Anti-Racist Kids (ARK) Club, Open Shelves, which provides books to prisoners, the Afrori Supper Club, Hair Education Brighton and the Brighton Literary Collective. She is also the Co-Founder of the Brighton Book Festival. 

Margaretta Jolly has worked at the University of Sussex since 2007. She is a Professor in Cultural Studies with a specialism in Life Writing, Oral History and Audio/Visual Life Storytelling. She has special interests in the application of these methods in women's history and gender studies, directing the Sisterhood and After: Women's Liberation Oral History Project and the Business of Women's Words with the British Library (see below). She currently leads on cultural industry studies at the university. In 2022, she was appointed a Director of Research (Knowledge Exchange and Impact) for the School of Media, Arts and Humanities, continuing this work in 2024.

Aimée Felone is the founder and managing director of the multi-award-winning inclusive publisher, Knights Of, which is focused on bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront of commercial children’s publishing. The company won Children’s Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards 2022. With a team led by women of colour, and an unwavering focus on their intended readership for each book, Knights Of works to engage with gatekeepers across the industry, including booksellers, teachers and librarians, and supports non-traditional community spaces with events, outreach, marketing and partnerships.

Pauline Rutter is an archival artist, community and organisational poet and researcher based in West Sussex with a background in fine art, education, sustainability, and activism. Her academic and creative writing has been published online by The Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality at Leeds Beckett University, The Culture Capital Exchange and The University of Oxford, Wytham Woods. She has contributed to Writing Our Legacy's literary magazine, Covert, and was the Artist in Residence for Adur and Worthing Council’s Climate Assembly. Current work includes investigations expressed through the The Black Living Archive initiative, the We Hear You Now project and the installation Lifting Us Up – Saluting Our Sisters which is now at Brighton Museum and Gallery.

This event is hosted in partnership with the University of Sussex, with funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing (BOWW) explores the dramatic story of the feminist publishing revolution that unfolded during the UK women’s movements of the 1970s, 80s and 90s, and their legacies for social movement-inspired creative industries today. This research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, examines how activists called upon cultural and creative business activities to help promote their aims despite feminists’ general antipathy and sometimes hostility to capitalist methods and ideologies. The research unearths activists’ efforts to infuse purpose with profit and to reconcile business and financial imperatives with political, artistic and egalitarian commitments.

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