Virtual Praxis: A Conference on Women's Community in Second Life
On November 15, 2008, Second Life's first international women's conference was held on Minerva. Avatars from Europe, North America and Australia participated in the day-long event; we discussed art, music and new media, we learned about growing social groups within Second Life, and we began a feminist critique of what it means to be "female" in a virtual world. Many of us had the opportunity to relate our own personal experiences as residents, and others came to meet and exchange information and ideas about this new social medium. It was a truly exhilarating experience.
Although not all recordings at the conference were successful, many of the papers presented are archived below.
Virtual Concerts in the Park
Linda Rogers (Second Life: Kate Miranda)
For the past year as Kate Miranda, a member of the Cedar/Sea Turtle Community, I have learned about music streaming and assisted in the coordination and promotion of a classical music series in Second Life in a venue that our community built on the basis of a public consultation. Music Island now has an average of about 2000 visitors a month, with weekly live classical concerts streamed from around the world.
In the Director's Chair
Phylis Johnson, Ph.D. (SL: Sonicity Fitzroy)
Associate Professor & Interim Chair
Department of Radio-Television
Southern Illinois University
This paper looks at women involved in the creation, production, and distribution of news and entertainment content, and provides a wide scan of their contributions in Second Life.
The Women of Chilbo
(Second Life: Fleep Tuque)
Instructional & Research Computing
University of Cincinnati
Chilbo is a community of artists, architects, educators, musicians, parents, hobbyists, students, and people from around the world who share a common vision that our interactions and experiences invirtual worlds can have a positive impact on our real world and our real lives. The Chilbo sim in Second Life is the cultural center of our community, but neither physical nor virtual location limits our ability to collaborate and share resources with one another.
A Village of our Own
Leta Hendricks, MA, MS
(Second Life: Tamu Oh)
Librarian, The Ohio State University
"A Village of our Own" is a discussion of womanist resources available in Second Life, and includes a review of Second Life contacts, landmarks, and other womanist sources.
Gender and Race in
Ultra-Conservative Groups in Second Life
Randolph Hollingsworth, Ph.D. (Second Life: Bella Yan)
University of Kentucky
Why would a right-wing group choose to use Second Life for communication and outreach - and especially in regards to women? Katherine Blee's Inside Organized Racism (2002) states that women are heavily sought after by American hate groups, making up half of all new recruits. Second Life is ideal for imagining and practicing gender and race, and ultra-conservative groups have found land, groups and events in Second Life that match their needs.
Performing Virtual Women’s Community
(Second Life: Burgundy Mirajkar / Lette Ponnier)
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Women's Studies, The Ohio State University
This paper explores the ways in which the concept of “women” in Second Life shapes the building of women’s homosocial environments within SL through an examination of the concept in terms of gender performance.
Panel discussion: Is Second Life a welcoming space for women?
As educators, business people, community activists, artists and musicians, women make a strong contribution to Second Life society. According to the last published metrics from Linden Lab, 40% of user hours in Second Life are spent by people who self-report as female. While their achievements are to be seen everywhere in our virtual world, the energy and creativity of women in our community may face obstacles. Although no formal studies have been published, there is anecdotal evidence of harassment and intimidation. This panel will be one of the first attempts to assess potential problems, beginning with a discussion our own personal experiences.
(No audio was recorded)
Panelists: Ellie Brewster, Feminist Expedition, Ledoof Constantineau