Sexual Violence, Medicine, and Psychiatry


  • Prof Joanna Bourke

    Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom

Project summary

Shameless! is a bold and exciting cross-arts festival intersecting academic research, activism and art in confronting sexual violence. A three year project with each edition of the festival hosted in the UK and Brazil; London 2021, Rio de Janeiro 2022, and sharing learning across the UK in 2023. Shameless! brings together diverse communities of survivors and the expertise of researchers, medical, psychiatric and legal professionals, artists and activists in a transformative programme of talks, performances, workshops, 'how to' clinics, wellness spaces, and a schools' programme.

A wide range of partners will be engaged in varying capacities. Our principal partner, The WOW Foundation (WOW), will co-produce the two festival editions in London and Rio de Janeiro. Given WOW's robust experience and network, including in Brazil, Shameless! will implement WOW's methodology in producing both festivals. Shameless! will also work with national, international and grassroots organisations and charities, and commission local artists and wellness practitioners to facilitate safe spaces for dialogue and healing. Offering a unique environment for children, families, young people, women, gender- and trans-diverse people, the festival will provide safeguarding measures to protect members from vulnerable and marginalised communities (race, class, abilities, sexualities and genders).

In 2023 Shameless! will share our public engagement and festival programmes with UK universities through a series of workshops, conferences and publishing reflective articles. Shameless! aims to revolutionise conversations around sexual violence between survivors and professionals; burst open the constructed and inherited ideas of shame; and create an emboldening attitudinal shift from stigma to agency.