Collective residences

CHRIS HILLER

From Wednesday, 5 February 2020 to Sunday, 16 February 2020

CHRIS HILLER
PhD Researcher, Institute for Geography, University of Potsdam
Rostock

Bio

Chris Hiller (preferred name: Lotte) is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Geography at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Their research is based in the geographies of sexualities and aims to deconstruct ‘Western’ notions of the concept of safer spaces for LGBT individuals with a postcolonial framework. During fieldwork in the Philippines in 2018 and 2019, they interviewed Filipino LGBT advocates and attended several local LGBT events. In October 2018, they delivered a public lecture at the University of the Philippines in Diliman on “Securitizing LGBT Refugees in Germany”. In Germany, they taught “Gender Geographies” in Göttingen, “Migration of Desires” in Potsdam and they are going to teach “Safe Spaces on University Campus” in Berlin. They created a literary excursion for Potsdam where the participants experience personal stories of fictional characters and reflect on identity, migration, integration and privilege.

Project

During my stay at Faber Residency, I will explore alternative concepts of safer spaces by analyzing the transcripts of the interviews which I conducted in the Philippines and write the concept of my paper.

While ‘Western’ imaginations view safer spaces as physical and monolithic spaces, Filipino discourses focus on the bodies of individuals. Empowerment appears as a strategy to make LGBT individuals resilient against discrimination in precarious situations. In addition, I want to exchange ideas, experiences and views with the other residents, whose different professional, national, and cultural backgrounds allow nuanced discussions.

Living the Queertopia at Faber

I arrived in Olot with a big suitcase and a long to-do list. I was excited to stay at a place where I could freely express myself and at the same time, I was nervous that the pressure of my workload would kill my creativity. In the end, my experience at Faber was more than a writing retreat, it became my personal queer utopia. 

The welcoming and respectful atmosphere gave me the opportunity to drop the metaphorical shield and armor which protect me from discriminatory language and harassment in my daily routine. Here at Faber, it allowed me to pause the defense mode and to unleash creativity which is hard to achieve in heterosexist environments.

Without that burden, I was able to open my mind to deeper discussions. Despite the same focus on LGBT issues, we all came from different perspectives. The Faber Residency proved how important it is for academics, artists and activists to support each other and collaborate in order to get closer to our queertopia.

I failed to finish my to-do list. And I am glad I did because otherwise I would have missed out on the bigger experience: hiking, wine and boardgame nights, workshops and readings. All of this happened in an environment of mutual respect. We shared personal and professional experiences. We shared book recommendations. We became a network and a community.

All of this made me realize that I am not a writing machine that permanently must produce text. Not only intellectually but also emotionally, I was able to learn about desire, relationships and family. My time at Faber was a unique experience of inspiration and it charged my empowerment battery.

Notícies, articles i activitats

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