Online Event

Rights in Light of Covid-19

Tue 18 Aug 2020 7:00 – 8:30PM (BST)


About the Event

Missed this event? Watch it here

Coronavirus has exacerbated the consequences of a decade of austerity, decimating infrastructures of social care, housing and public health in the UK, pushing those already unable to access resources further into the margins.

Join us for a live-streamed conversation about how Coronavirus has impacted sex workers and prisoners, and how the logics of the carceral state continue to criminalise their survival. This is the third online event in Autograph’s series exploring human rights in light of Covid-19 – and what this means for civil liberties now and in the future. Our focus will primarily be on the UK.

The conversation will be hosted by Lola Olufemi, writer, organiser and author of Feminism Interrupted (Pluto Press 2020) and panellists Elio Beale, grassroots organiser with SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement) and Bent Bars; Kelsey, activist and grassroots organiser with Cradle Community and CAPE (Community Action on Prison Expansion); Dr Aviah Sarah Day, lecturer in criminology at Birkbeck University and grassroots activist with Sisters Uncut.

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Our panellists will elaborate on their work in mutual aid and public education around demands for the decriminalisation of sex work, the abolition of the prison system, and notions of transformative justice.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.


How has coronavirus impacted the livelihoods of sex workers and the living conditions of prisoners?

Why is abolition a public health issue?

How do we build and sustain networks of care for those outside the scope of state protection?

What do decriminalised futures look like? How do we build towards them?


This event will have BSL interpretation. A captioned version of the panel discussion will be made available on our blog after the event.

Have any questions? We would love to hear from you, contact us at


Lola Olufemi

Lola Olufemi is a black feminist writer, organiser and Stuart Hall Foundation scholar from London. Her work focuses on the uses of the feminist imagination, its relationship to political demands and futurity. She is author of Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power (2020) and a member of 'bare minimum', an interdisciplinary anti-work arts collective.


Elio Beale

Elio Beale is a grassroots organiser with SWARM and Bent Bars, and project co-ordinator for Decriminalised Futures, a collaborative project using creative tools and popular education to explore sex worker lives, experiences and movement struggles. Elsewhere they organise, work and research around abolition, health, popular education, creative interventions for movement building, and queer and trans liberation.

Dr Aviah Sarah Day

Dr Aviah Sarah Day is a Lecturer in Criminology at Birkbeck, University of London as well as an activist in the East End chapter of Sisters Uncut. Sisters Uncut is a national direct-action collective fighting cuts to domestic violence services as well as state violence.


Kelsey is an organiser and educator with CAPE and Cradle Community, grassroots abolitionist groups. CAPE is part of a network of local campaigns resisting prison expansion in the UK and Cradle is a collective focused on transformative justice and community accountability, supporting our communities to build the skills we need to support each other.

How to join this event

This event will take place online only, and everyone is welcome to join us. We will use Zoom for this event. Tickets are 'pay what you can', and there's no obligation to pay in order to attend the event. Autograph is a registered charity, all donations support our arts and learning programmes.

Here's how to join us:
1) Book a free ticket on this webpage, on Eventbrite, or the Facebook event. To 'pay what you can' (and support Autograph’s work), just add a donation with your tickets.

2) We'll send you an email confirmation of your booking.

3) This online event will primarily use Zoom. For the best experience, we recommend using the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device. You can download the free software here. Or, you can access the event through your web browser without a download.

4) The Zoom Webinar has a capacity of 100 people, so we will also be live streaming the event to Youtube. Any attendees over the 100 limit can attend via this Youtube link. We recommend that those requiring BSL interpretation join the event via the Zoom link rather than the YouTube link, and using a computer or laptop, rather than a phone.

5) On the day of the event, we’ll send you a welcome email with a link to the event on Zoom and Youtube. You will be able to join for the start of the event at 7 pm (BST).

6) If you want to ask questions in the Q&A, you can submit them via the Q&A feature on Zoom or via the comments section on YouTube.


Will this event be recorded?
Yes. The event will be recorded and posted on our blog at a later date. Participants will not be visible onscreen

Who can I contact with any questions?
We would love to hear from you, contact us at

Images, from top: 1) Sex workers demonstrate outside a parliamentary debate in London on the 4th July, to protest discussion of a UK version of FOSTA (A US law that criminalises the advertising of sex work on the internet) and to draw attention to their campaign to fully decriminalise sex work, 2018. Courtesy of Creative Commons.