When I was a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University I coordinated the Feminist Reading and Research Group and delivered several seminars at the Discourse Unit. They are spaces for students and faculty to meet regularly and discuss critical psychology and discourse analysis, as well as feminist theory and research.
They offer more than that though, they are spaces and communities that provide education, mentorship, encouragement, and feedback. They broaden ideas and concepts and take individual postgraduate students out of isolated independent study and into a group of fellow academics and activists who share a similar passion for critical and feminist research.
They offer a similar connection for longstanding academics, too often buried under marking and admin to have protected time for open discussion or reading. Faculty can lack support for writing commitments and publishing aspirations.
For those early on in their academic career, these spaces offer opportunities to get advice from others with more experience. For people who are self-taught or doing their own self-directed study, it can provide a group to learn from, provide your own insights to, and bounce ideas off.
I've found over time that others (and myself) missed having access to that kind of space once we had moved on from our studies. We missed having somewhere to share our frustration or difficulties working in anti-feminist or sexist environments, or to seek feedback on a draft paper in a compassionate and supportive setting.
Most often it was somewhere to learn and educate - a non-hierarchical group where people could bring papers or concepts that they were struggling to understand and they could either learn together as a group, or others could share their knowledge.
So I decided to pick up my coordinator hat once again and create a space at psygentra - one where folks can learn about critical psychology, qualitative research, feminism(s), and feminist psychology. Somewhere they can discover new work and theories, recommend readings they love or can't stand, get advice and feedback on projects they are working on, and connect with others.
If you would like to be a part of it, find out more here.