Workshopping Consent’s Data Cultures

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Workshopping Consent’s Data Cultures'. In: Gender, Digital Culture and Consent. University of Queensland, Australia 14 July 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This workshop brings together researchers across the areas of gender studies, consent, and digital culture. The first session is a series of talks and discussion about the “aesthetics” of consent and obligation; the use of safety apps in an era of smartphones; and issues around testimonies of trauma and digital archives. The second session will be a group discussion that seeks to experiment with, examine and share reflections upon the following themes as a way to assess the configuration of consent within data cultures: the temporalities of consent; the narrative basis of consent and deceit; and notion of consent before and after “consent.”


Sarah Cefai (Goldsmiths) – Aesthetics of Consent: Reflections on the Illiberal Freedoms of Consent Culture

Within neoliberal cultures, anything that promises freedom is a powerful discursive operator. Anything that promises meritocracy, equally so. To glimpse the social and cultural changes afoot in consent culture, this paper suggests that contemporary formations not only draw conceptual content from Western political theory and socio-legal paradigms, but an aesthetics too. Such an aesthetics is also consistent with the discursive, ideological and material conceptions of subjectivity within neoliberalism. To further unearth the social moorings at play in consent culture, this paper considers the relationship between the aesthetics of consent and those of obligation, describing our acquiescence or ambivalent assent to the interests of others. Through comparing and contrasting these terms the paper suggests that the aesthetics of obligation invoke the question of ethical relation, whereas consent promises a freedom that neoliberal heteropatriarchal societies cannot provide—precisely because consent elides the feeling of being obliged.

Dr. Sarah Cefai is a Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales and lectures in Gender, Sexuality and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London. Her work primarily explores questions of cultural experience, identity and belonging.

Alex Bevan (UQ) – Feeling Safe: Safety Apps and the Risky Body

The surveillance capacities of smart phones have generated an array of safety apps targeting cis female users. Current feminist scholarship studies these apps from a variety of disciplinary perspectives that stress their detractors, namely that they burden the user with self-tracking and self-monitoring. However, I want to explore this notion of “feeling safe” in terms of what it seems to mean and how it is related to media platforms, agency and perceptions of risk.

Dr. Alex Bevan is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. She researches the relationship of gender, technology, and space in popular representation. Her current work turns to popular conceptions of technology and space that are embedded in media representations of gender violence.

Marg Henderson and Renee Mickelburgh (UQ) – Testimonies of trauma, archives of pain, and the feminist goal of ending rape culture

In Australia, a new age of gendered testimony emerged in the summer of 2021 when thousands of Australian women provided graphic and compelling testimony about their experiences of sexual assault, harassment, rape and consent to the Teach Us Consent website. Through the examination of the testimonies, this paper asks the question: What is the relationship between digital archives of pain, Teach Us Consent testimonies, and the feminist goal of ending rape culture in an age of testimony and judgement?

Assoc. Prof. Margaret Henderson and Dr. Renée Mickelburgh are integral members of the Teach us Consent research team. Their project aims to explore current understandings of “consent” and provide evidence-based knowledge and interventions with the intent to profoundly change these contemporary attitudes towards gender violence and consent.

Workshopping Consent’s Data Cultures - Dr Sarah Cefai
In this workshop we will experiment with, examine and share reflections upon the following themes as a way to assess the configuration of consent within data cultures:
(a) temporalities of consent (especially in relation to the technologies, technics and technicities)
(b) the narrative basis of consent and deceit (especially in relation to post-truth, trust, objectivity/subjectivity)
(c) consent before and after “consent” (how and with which concepts might we intervene in consent politics)

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


14 July 2022Completed

Event Location:

University of Queensland, Australia

Date range:

14 July 2022

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2022 09:58

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2022 09:58


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