Coming Together: Recharging at AWP

AWP was my first experience of a psychology conference. Due to this fact, I believed all conferences were filled with riveting presentations about gender, advocacy and activism. I thought it was typical to have yoga integrated into conference spaces and socials to double as dances.

This, of course, is not true.

There is something unique about the sense of community that exists at AWP. It is a space to welcome new faces into the field. It is a space for people to network. It is a space for old friends to catch up. And it is a space for feminists in the field of psychology to share important work that blurs the boundary between research, teaching, clinical work, and activism.

It continues to be all these things for me. But, perhaps most importantly, it is a space where I come to recharge. To get excited about the possibilities of research as an impetus for social change and the potential for professional spaces to foster innovation and justice. It revitalizes me so that I can continue to do this work, even when it may go unacknowledged or unappreciated in more dominant spaces of professional psychology.

This year’s theme is “Strong Girls and Wise Women: Sustaining Feminism for the Future.” I am excited to spend the weekend surrounded by others who are committed to the notion of how the field of psychology can work to advance gender equity. This is an opportunity for us to reflect on the history of our movement and how we see the future of feminism informing our work and our lives.

It is no secret that what makes AWP different from other organizations and conferences is simply the members. The individuals that come to the annual conference all share AWP’s vision of a “just and inclusive world.” We celebrate our advances and challenge each other to live and embody that vision more fully. When you leave the conference space, you will certainly come away with more knowledge and awareness of the research and practice of feminist psychology. But you will also hopefully have found a community.

For more information about AWP as an organization, visit http://www.awpsych.org/

Visiting the City of Bridges

Pittsburgh is more than just the birthplace of famous explorer Nellie Bly or where marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson graduated from college. It’s also the setting of the film Flashdance.

And, of course, it is a city rich with history, art, culture, and the best pierogies in Pennsylvania.

The 2016 AWP conference location, the Omni William Penn Hotel, is right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh. You can visit Pittsburgh-based Primanti Bros for their “almost famous” sandwiches and fries, stop by Prantl’s Bakery for their one-of-a-kind burnt almond torte, or wander into the cultural district and visit the Harris Theater for an independent movie. There is food and entertainment within walking distance of the hotel, and you can explore it all in the midst of towering historic buildings that Batman himself scaled in the final Dark Knight Rises.

Downtown Pittsburgh is enough to keep you busy, but I recommend branching out and exploring the various neighborhoods that (in my opinion) are at the heart of Pittsburgh’s charm. Take for example the Strip District that is only a short bus ride from downtown. It’s one of Pittsburgh’s most visited neighborhoods for shopping and food, and it is home to the Pittsburgh Public Market, which features handicraft and local products. Within walking distance from the Strip District is Lawrenceville—a cute neighborhood that has revived itself over the past decade. Stop by Wildcard for local and hip gifts, Kickstarter funded Row House Cinema, and Espresso a Mano for one of the best espresso shots in town.

As for the pierogies, they’re pretty much a Pittsburgh staple. I recommend trying Church Brew Works for house-brewed beers and pierogies inside the country’s only brewpub located inside a historic church. If that is too much of a trek, you can also try to track down the Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck downtown.

Honestly, there are endless neighborhoods to explore: South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, and that’s only to name a few. Each time you step into a neighborhood, you get a glimpse of a different side (and taste) of Pittsburgh. It’s a testament to how the city has adjusted and grown over time, with people in the neighborhood taking initiative to rebuild, reinvent, and reimagine their communities from the inside out. Pittsburgh is more than just a place with great food and good people—it is a site of activism, advocacy, and innovation, with so many organizations that are working towards social justice and gender equity. I can’t think of a better place to reflect on the future of feminism than a city that embodies the same flexibility, growth, and hopefulness of our movement. The pierogies, of course, are just a bonus.