Since the last issue of Feminist Legal Studies, we editorial board members have had lots of conversations about comfort, displacement and alienation. Some of these conversations, like #FLaK2016, were programmed, some were spontaneous, some were together, some were apart, some have been going on for a long time, and some were reactions to Brexit.Footnote 1 As we developed the programme for FLaK we thought about it as a kind of pulling ourselves out of our comfort zone (Fletcher et al. 2016), if academic events and journals ever have a comfort zone. Drawing on a mix of feminist live performance methods and a science and technology studies (STS)-type curiosity for objects of experimentation, we tried out a kitchen table method of hosting a live research conversation with activists, artists and academics over two days (Fletcher 2015).
A fuller analysis of FLaK needs more time and awaits a later moment, but here we pick out one aspect of our gathering—feelings of discomfort—as a dimension of feminist experience, which motivates further research and activism. Being uncomfortable can be exhausting and painful,Footnote 2 but it is not always, wholly or necessarily a ‘bad’ experience. Feeling uncomfortable has provoked feminists to find imaginative ways of talking back to loud noises, to watch for quiet or half-hidden signals, and to organize alternative ways of living. Moreover, being uncomfortable has taught us to take time to assess discomfort because its meaning is not always transparent, it is usually layered and it just might be generative.