19 May 2022

Love Ethics - Honouring the legacy of bell hooks

Dr Will Mason's seminar explored research practice through the prism of a love ethic.

bell books book "all about love"

The seminar Thinking and Making with Love brought together a diverse group of 25 students, researchers and academics from Sheffield and Manchester to explore what it might mean to live and work with a love ethic.


Using bell hooks’ generative work All About Love as our starting point, we examined the possibilities and pitfalls of love as a prism through which to imagine research, activism and university life.

Dr Will Mason

Seminar lead & lecturer in Applied Social Sciences.


For bell hooks, love is a practice that seeks to utilise care, commitment, trust, responsibility, knowledge and respect. We examined this definition collectively, addressing questions like: how might a love ethic enrich our academic practice? What are the relationships between love and activism? What are the implications of working with love and how can we seek to practice love within organisations shaped in ways that undermine its expression?

Our discussion was followed by a creative Zine making workshop, led by Lucy Brownson.  Zines are self-published, non-commercial artifacts that feature mixed mediums (art/poetry/collage/writing) to touch on any variety of topics (The Bindery, 2020). This part of the workshop allowed participants to both (i) decompress and (ii) explore themes from the discussion further, through creative practice. We now hope to extend this work through the production of a zine that encompasses contributions from the day.

A huge thanks to our contributors Dr Patrick Williams, Dr Zeynep Kaya, Lucy Brownson and all who attended. I’m also grateful to the Professional Services team at the SMI for all their organisational support and the University Research Ethics Committee at Sheffield for funding what was an experimental, but hugely enriching event.

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