Call for contributions: Women and homelessness - issues of maternal identity, parenting and reproductive health

A symposium hosted by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University and the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE)

At the Quaker Meeting House, Sheffield

November 25th 2019

This symposium invites contributions from people interested in exploring homelessness, motherhood and reproductive health from theoretical, policy, practice and experiential perspectives. It will consider the way in which homeless women, those with maternal experiences in particular, are situated at the intersection of different policy domains - housing, homelessness, health, social care - where they have to navigate welfare conditionality, care, and legal and moral frameworks that shape their experiences. It will explore issues and themes of relevance to homeless women. We know, for example, that homeless women separated from their children are rarely acknowledged as mothers, and that women experiencing homelessness face particular challenges as parents; we know that reproductive and maternal trauma features in many women's pathways to homelessness; we know that women can struggle to manage, or lose control of reproductive health during periods of homelessness. Yet there has been very limited attention to these issues in the policy and research communities or to gendered aspects of homelessness generally. As a result, policy and practice responses to homelessness often fail to meet the needs of homeless women.  

Purpose of the event

The symposium will bring academics, policymakers and practitioners together for a day of discussion and debate. The purpose of the symposium is:

  • To share ideas and evidence.
  • To foster collaborations and knowledge exchange between academics, practitioners and policymakers.
  • To develop a friendly and supportive network that can continue to work together to: exchange thoughts; promote research, evidence and good practice; influence policy and practice development; and highlight gaps in knowledge.


We envisage that the symposium will comprise a combination of verbal and written contributions throughout the day on a relevant subject or theme. These will be used to generate discussion and debate around particular subjects. We are open to suggestions for contributions in a range of formats. This might include, but need not be restricted to:

  • Formal presentations, e.g. of research findings, papers, good practice.
  • Short informal 'talks', for example to share thoughts and ideas in development and seek input from other participants.
  • Written papers or other materials that can be distributed in advance for discussion.
  • Contribution through participation - i.e. attendance at the event without any pre-determined input.

We are committed to making attendees feel welcome and safe. We recognise that people can find formal events and associated expectations intimidating and we want to break down some of these barriers. We value, and want to facilitate contributions from all. Speakers are very welcome to read from notes, contributions need not follow usual expected formats (see above), we will provide opportunities for smaller group discussion, and for people to input electronically after the event if they prefer not to contribute to discussion on the day.

When submitting a proposal please include details of the subject and format of your contribution, the time you would like to be allocated to deliver it (if relevant), and why you are interested in attending. Contributions from early career academics and practioners and people with lived experience are welcome.

Other details

  • The workshop is free. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
  • In the interests of fostering genuine discussion and collaborations this will be a relatively small event and so places are limited. Contributions will be selected on the basis of relevance to the focus of the symposium, and to allow for issues to be explored which reflect the diversity of submissions we receive. Consideration will also be given to striking the right balance of attendees and between people making formal contributions and those attending.
  • Unfortunately we are unable to reimburse travel and other expenses. However, if this will prevent attendance, do get in touch with the conference organisers.   

Organisers: Dr Kesia Reeve ( Dr Lindsey McCarthy ( and Dr Emma Bimpson ( 


Please email your proposed contribution to the symposium by September 25th 2019 to Kesia Reeve at We will get back to you by October 11th 2019. Enquiries can be made to any of the conference organisers.

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