WIGS was established in 1988 with the aim of bringing together female Germanists in Great Britain and Ireland and supporting them in all aspects of their professional life. Membership is open to any woman who is currently teaching, studying, or working in any area of German Studies, or who has done so in the past.
The main event organised by WIGS is the annual conference, which takes place at a different institution each year in November. This is an interdisciplinary, one-day event combining academic papers, a business meeting, and exchange of information. In 1993 it was decided to hold a larger conference at the University of Nottingham, open to non-members, on the subject of ‘Women and the Wende’. Following its success, open conferences have since been held in 1998 (‘Women and Autobiography’, University of Manchester), in 2000 (‘Myths and Mythology’, University of Edinburgh), in 2003 (‘Local Narratives / Global Narratives of Identity’, University of Bath), in 2008 (University of Liverpool) and in 2012 (‘About Time’, University College Dublin). In November 2010, WIGS held a joint conference at Swansea University on ‘Friendship’ together with its sister-organisation WISPS. The conference in Sheffield in November 2013 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the organisation.
Read more about the History of WiGS in the Festrede by Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly (Oxford), who founded Women in German Studies in 1988.