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Sex Worker Open University, Scotland

Friday, April 5, 2013 - 14:00 to Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 17:30

Sex Worker Open University (SWOU)

Sex Worker’s Rights Festival 

Glasgow, Scotland

5th- 10th of April 2013


Dear friends, sex workers, and allies,


Please find below an overview of the programme for our Sex Worker’s Rights Festival, which will happen early April 2013 in Glasgow (times and venues to be confirmed).


SWOU has a renowned history of organising events for and by the sex worker community. From self-defence and IT classes, to film festivals, art shows and academic presentations; we aim to create alternative art and educational spaces to work towards community building and the strengthening of sex worker voices. This year, in partnership with SCOT-PEP, we are bringing SWOU to Scotland!!

Scotland is one of the most recent countries to come under scrutiny over its sex work laws. This has led to an uprise of anti-sex work groups campaigning for the introduction of an “End Demand” approach to legal change. This event is extremely timely for us to stand together and say NO to further criminalisation of our work, including the criminalisation of our clients.


The events will take place over 6 days mainly in Glasgow. The festival aims to raise awareness of sex workers’ struggle for recognition of their labour and human rights, as well as building up a community of sex worker’s rights activists at the local, regional and international level.


SWOU’s Sex Workers’ Rights Festival will incorporate a variety of events, including presentations on different legal systems from sex workers and academics, erotic and professional skill sharing workshops, art shows, film nights and public education workshops. SWOU, as the organising collective, has decided to also create sex worker-only spaces where Taboo subjects, such as sex work and violence, sex work and money or sex work and addiction/mental health can be discussed.


***Please note: We are hoping to offer cheap accommodation in Glasgow and some travel expenses but due to extremely limited budget, we can not cover most expenses***


The Programme so far!



Proposed Events

Open To


Afternoon | Opening of SWOU Art Exhibition


Evening | Glasgow Sex Worker Film Festival

Both opening events are open to the public


Morning | “SWOU TABOO”

Creation of a sex worker-only space to discuss what we desire from “SWOU Taboo”***


Afternoon | 


“The Scottish Context | Opposing Criminalisation of Clients”

Sex workers, activists and researchers will present on what is currently happening in Scotland and discuss various ways that we are resisting the criminalisation of clients. We will also have presentations from French activists on their experience of opposing similar campaigns through direct action



“An Alternative Approach? The Case for Decriminalisation”

Sex workers, activists and researchers presenting on the legal systems in New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia. We will also have open discussion after this session to provide a space for conversations between presenters and the audience.


Evening | “Sex Worker Performance and Reading Night”

Sex work performances followed by drinks and networking (to be confirmed)


(Food available for participants in the evening)

All open to the public except the morning session on “SWOU Taboo” where we will create a sex-worker only space



Afternoon | “Skills and Experience Sharing”

SWOU will be closed to the public as sex workers come together to share professional skills and talk about their experience of sex work. Workshops will include DIY BDSM, Sex work and disabled clients, Sex work as a support service and basic massage skills.


Sex Workers Only


Daytime | “Resource Building for SWOU TABOO”

We will share space with sex workers only to discuss on Taboo themes and work on our resource document.

Evening | “Building Alliances: who are our allies and why they need to support the sex workers rights

Presentations by sex workers and allies on the role that alliances must play in fighting for recognition of sex workers rights. This session will include short presentations from sex workers and allies from the trans* LGBT, feminist, trade unionist and harm reduction communities. It will be followed with an open discussion to promote dialogue about engaging allies in our campaign



Sex Workers Only for work on SWOU Taboo






Public welcome to evening event


“Public Education on Stigma and Sex Work”

On Wednesday and Thursday we welcome Nengeh Mensah from University of Quebec. Tulia Law from Sex professionals of Canada for a two day training on “Public Education on Stigma and Sex Work”. This workshop has limited space, so book your space as soon as possible. On Tuesday evening, SWOU members will offer such Public Education Workshop at Glasgow University

Sex Workers Only

 ***What is SWOU Taboo?  This year, the SWOU Committee has decided to put some emphasis in creating safe space for sex workers to discuss issues that are quite personal and often used against our self-determination. From sexual violence, to mental health and addiction, our relationship to money and our clients, we will create a space to discuss these issues and by the end of the week have concentrated some of our discussions into a document that will represent our voices and demands to the larger public.


For any questions, email: contact [dot] swou [at] gmail [dot] com (contact [dot] swou [at] gmail [dot] com) or glasgow [dot] swou [at] gmail [dot] com (glasgow [dot] swou [at] gmail [dot] com)

In partnership with SCOT-PEP, website:

United Kingdom
April 2013
April 2013

United Kingdom

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