The final week for Millennium Women - a forum concentrating on women's issues for the next millennium - is here. We begin the week with a group confab, as encouragement is needed all round. This worsens things when we discuss the amount of people likely to turn up to the forum - to be held in a local film theatre. Fear and panic have gripped us all and we seem to be working in a system of organised chaos: nothing new in academic life. Another round of mail shots to community groups in the far corners of Staffordshire.
Today we are approached by the organiser of the National Women's History Network Conference, who wants the Millennium Women forum to be described in a conference paper. This, however, involves a proposal, needed by tomorrow morning. The pressure mounts. While Sarah-Louise heads up the final advertising campaign, Dee and Lee-Jane get to grips with preparing the said proposal. Tuesday night quickly becomes Wednesday morning, and while Lee-Jane snores in a corner, Dee perseveres with the proposal, aided only by the odd interjection from Lee-Jane. How hard can a proposal be?
Very. Having assessed the proposal in the light of day, Dee re-writes while Lee-Jane hunts down the film theatre manager for the final event. Sarah-Louise begins with the arrangements for the refreshments, which entails a lot of grinding of coffee beans and making sure that the bar is open and well stocked; we have a feeling that it will be needed. In the name of numbers we have now all started to coerce our friends and family into attending. Desperation is an ugly thing.
Marianne receives funding applications for the documentary production that will follow this forum. We did not account for the fact that completing these application forms would mean more work than a PhD thesis. As postgrads and part-time lecturers, the prospect of our first public event, involving the organisation of senior and academic peers, is somewhat daunting. As child-care poses a problem, our final meeting takes place in the ball-pool of the Wacky Warehouse - well recommended to relieve stress.
Last-minute details are complete. Thankfully people arrive and by 7pm we have an audience, but not a video projector, which causes us one final headache. Although a little late, the discussions provide a wealth of information about what the millennium means for women. Volunteers are sought and found for video diaries, which will be filmed going into the next millennium. The only task now is to build on this research, to turn it into a visual reality.
Basically Boudica is a women's co-operative based at Staffordshire University. Members include Lee-Jane Nixon, Sarah-Louise Godfrey and Dee Lunn.