Centering the experiences of Black Girls and Womxn Navigating Institutional Spaces
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Theme: “The Personal IS Political.”

While a portion of the liberation fight has existed in academia, commitments by those living beyond this particular institution have worked both independently and alongside scholars to pave the way for the navigation of a variety of CrookedRooms. When it’s all said and done, academia isn’t the only place you’ll find truths (and damaging misperceptions) tied to the systemic struggles we all face as self-identifying Black girls, womxn, gender non-conforming, and gender-fluid folx existing in a colonized world. As a result of our Intersectionalities, specifically related to race and gender, when we’re asked to detach who we are from the goals and priorities established by those in power, we often times find it difficult—if not impossible—to remove the potential impact on ourselves and our communities from our line of thinking, consideration, and action. This year’s CrookedRoom Conference is committed to exploring what this unique thinking, consideration, and action looks like, and the ways by which we interpret, experience, and subsequently navigate a multitude of institutional spaces that seek to muddle, confuse, and disregard our politics and life-impacting priorities.

In light of both our collective and individual realities navigating oppression in institutional spaces, this year’s conference is seeking responses to the following questions:

  • In spite of oppression brought on by society’s response to our intersecting identities, how do we manage to thrive for ourselves and our people?

  • How do we uniquely interpret and engage the roadblocks we encounter?

  • How do we collaborate, both amongst one another and with the powers that be, to ensure liberation for us all?

  • Going forward, what are our demands; and by what means do we intend to have those demands met?

  • In what ways do (can) we experience privilege, and how is (can) that privilege (be) used both for individual and communal progress?

***Need Clarification on some of the Call terminology? Check out the Important Definitions section. If you’re ready to submit, make your way to the Proposal Submission Guidelines!





Of any human group having dark-colored skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal ancestry.


The “x” in womxn is symbolic in recognizing that gender identity is non-binary and independent of assigned sex at birth. Additionally, the “x” is also symbolic of including Black Women and Trans Black Women who have been historically excluded by White feminists using the “y” in womyn.

Gender Non-Conforming:

Denoting or relating to a person whose behavior or appearance does not conform to prevailing cultural and social expectations about what is appropriate to their gender.


Denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender.



As described by the founder of the term (1989) Kimberle Crenshaw: “Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things.”

While Crenshaw is famous for coining the word, the Combahee River Collective—a group of Black feminists who’ve been meeting since 1974—were one of the firskt organizations to recognize and ground their purpose in the intersectionality of their identities. In a statement released by the collective in 1977, they establish:

“The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking.”

Although the Combahee River Collective did not establish the existing label, their intersectionality led them to interpret the originally feminist movement’s phrase, “The Personal is Political,” in a way that uniquely embodies what this year’s conference is all about. In the spirit of these trail blazing Womxn, we are looking beyond the agenda of the White Womxn’s feminist movement to further explore how “we are dealing with the implications of race and class as well as sex”. All the while honoring that, “even our style of talking/testifying in Black language about what we have experienced has a resonance that is both cultural and political”.



The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

Institutional and Systemic Oppression:

The systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group. Institutional Oppression occurs when established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups. If oppressive consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs, or practices, the institution is oppressive whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have oppressive intentions. Institutional Oppression creates a system of invisible barriers limiting people based on their membership in unfavored social identity groups. The barriers are only invisible to those “seemingly” unaffected by it. The practice of institutionalized oppression is based on the belief in inherent superiority or inferiority. Institutionalized oppression is a matter of result regardless of intent.


Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels and gives advantages, favors, and benefits to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups:

White people; Able-bodied people; Heterosexuals; Males; Christians; Middle or owning class people; Middle-aged people; English-speaking people


Presenter requirements:


Presenter requirements are simple. All Black Girls, Womxn and Gender Non-Conforming Black Folx are eligible. Don’t identify? Please don’t ask. All are welcome to attend the actual event, but presentation space and time is designated for those who speak through lenses of genuine experience and testament.


Bearing in mind the presenter requirements, #CRC2019 will feature those unique experiences as they exist within the following contexts (not listed in a particular order):

  • Healthcare

  • Justice Reform/Judicial System

  • Religion/Spirituality

  • Gender/Sexuality/Relationships

  • Childhood/Tweenhood/Teenhood

  • Parenting

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Social Justice

  • Politics

  • Art

  • Activism

  • Artivism (Art + Activism)

  • Education

This list is not exclusive, and we will accept the exploration of domains beyond those mentioned, as well as a combining of topics. Just be sure to specify your domain(s) of interest on the Submission form. 



Roundtable sessions allow the presenter the opportunity to interact and converse more with the audience. Presenters are assigned to a table in a conference room for the duration of the session and interested attendees may join them at their table. These sessions are typically best for position papers, policy analyses, and other types of topics that benefit from extended discussion time. Roundtables are 45-minutes and typically include 15 minutes of presentation, followed by 30 minutes of discussion and feedback. Roundtable presenters should bring targeted questions to pose to others at the table in order to learn from and with those attending. Roundtables are an ideal format for networking and in-depth discussion on a particular topic.


Individual presentations may be contributed or invited talks that are often 15-30 minutes in length and leave just a short time for questions from the audience. The presenter will prepare a presentation that will be presented and is typically a more focused, narrower version of a larger idea/project.



In panel discussions, two or more speakers will present different aspects, perspectives or thoughts on a particular topic. Each speaker will have an opportunity to present their information, or respond to a series of moderated questions; and when all the speakers are finished, there is typically time for discussion. Panels are expected to include their own moderator; and can last in increments of either 45, 60, or 90 minutes (please indicate on submission form).



Workshops are interactive sessions that can vary in length 45, 60, 90. or 120 minutes. These sessions usually begin with explanatory or introductory information and then move on to involve the audience in some type of interactive, participatory activity. Workshops and interactive presentations are particularly well suited for demonstrations, learning new skills or procedures, debates, exhibitions and so forth.

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Lightning talks give speakers a limited amount of time to make their presentation – no more than 10 minutes. They may or may not include slides, but if they do, the slides should move forward automatically to keep speakers to time.

Because lightning talks are brief, it requires the speaker to make their point clearly and rid the presentation of non-critical information. This, in turn, helps keep the attention of the audience. It also means many ideas can be presented in a short amount of time. A period of between 60-90 minutes will be allotted to lightning talk sessions, allowing for up to 12-15 speakers to be heard.



While we are not currently looking for presenters in this category, we will be introducing unconference sessions at the 2019 Conference. An unconference is a meeting that is driven by participants often leaving the format open such that it evolves as opposed to being preplanned. As the term suggests, unconferences are intended to escape the hierarchical and static format of traditional conferences whereby audiences listen to a variety of topic authorities speak at length.


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***If you’d like the call for proposals in Word document format, Click Here. If you’d like it in PDF format, Click Here. The actual proposal must still be submitted online.***

***For a brief tutorial on how to share a Youtube video submission, Click Here.***