The Beauty Demands Project

The Beauty Demands project aims to bring scholars, practitioners, policy-makers together to consider the changing requirements of beauty. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and aims to build a network of individuals, research groups, and centres of those working on the topic. The assumption of the network is that beauty image is becoming ever more demanding and defining of women, and increasingly men, irrespective of their professions. The project will ask whether this is the case, and how this norm is constituted and how it impacts upon women. It will also ask whether the dominant beauty norm is increasingly a global beauty norm, and thus open to less cultural and sub-cultural resistance. The project is especially concerned with role of technology in this. In particular, that procedures which were once regarded as ‘exceptional’ such as the use of surgery, are now regarded as ‘normal’ or even ‘required’ in certain contexts. The network will be built in many ways, and is primarily a virtual network. The most important ‘deliverable’ of the project is the network and the discussion which we hope to engender. There are also more traditional outputs, including papers and journal special issues, and policy briefing documents. The network is gradually growing and network members are encouraged to post on the blog and to begin debates and to follow up the posts of others. If you wish to blog – as an individual or as a series of posts from a research centre – please let us know. The type of blog posts we welcome are:

  • Blogs which raise or comment on topic issues related to beauty
  • Blogs which provide ‘case commentaries’ on topical issues – these can be on legal judgements or simply on cases in discussion in the media
  • Blogs which report on research; including, posts which summarise a recent publication, posts which report on on-going research of an individual or a group; or posts which give an account of a recent or forthcoming workshop or conference
  • Blogs which provide summaries of public events and debates in this area

This list is indicative not exclusive and we welcome alternative suggestions. We also encourage you to tweet to @BeautyDemands – again the aim is inclusivity not to endorse a single view. In addition to building the network there are a number of events which consolidate themes and prioritise issues. These workshops are:

  • Changing understandings of body image, Warwick University, 4-5 March 2015
  • Professionals, practitioners and beauty norms, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 3-4 June 2015
  • Globalisation of beauty, University of Birmingham, 14-15 October 2015
  • Routine maintenance and exceptional procedures, Manchester Metropolitan University Date TBC

Other events are policy wrap events and, given the interest to date in the network, a large conference in 2016 may be arranged. Please note, while many of those working on the project occupy a position in the debate and take a particular stand on these issues the network aims to facilitate open and respectful debate and discussion. It aims to welcome those with all views and to encourage exchange of views and does not endorse one single perspective. For more information please see our website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/beauty/index.aspx