Collective residencies / Migration and refugee movements in the 21st century / Olot


From Tuesday, 1 February 2022 to Friday, 11 February 2022

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow
Madrid, Spain


Sara Riva is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of Queensland, Australia. She’s a feminist and a border abolitionist. Her research looks at the intersections of neoliberalism, migration, humanitarianism, and the border.


The purpose of humanitarianism is to help those in need, in particular groups perceived as vulnerable—or made-vulnerable groups. However, this understanding of humanitarianism is interwoven with the Global North’s need to act as a moral arbiter. In addition, humanitarianism’s entanglement with neoliberalism has made it a public-private apparatus of containment, confinement, and deterrence. Based on my personal experience, having worked in the humanitarian arena for a few years while always engaging in local community initiatives, two contradictory and yet coexisting rationales inhabit my mind. On the one hand, as a product of a Judeo-Christian metropolitan postimperial center (Tester 2010), and as a “good” neoliberal responsible subject/citizen, I have the (moral) impulse or need to react towards social injustice and suffering by engaging in solidarity initiatives—whether at home or abroad. On the other hand, I understand that endorsing the humanitarian possibility not only depoliticizes social injustice, but it is also used by governments to disavow their (international) responsibilities. This paper explores the author’s personal dilemma as a feminist and critical thinker of engaging in (vernacular) humanitarian work (Brković 2017) in regarding to refugees, and its connection to neoliberalism’s “responsibility” and colonial histories (and presents).

Wonderful Stay at FaberLlull Residency in Olot

I had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks at the FaberLlull residency in Olot. This time was extremely valuable to work. I had been meaning to work on an article for the last two years, and due to how busy my days are (filled with personal and professional responsibilities that always seem more pressing), I hadn’t had the time to do it. Thanks to this residency, I had time and space to focus almost exclusively in my work. This has been an amazing opportunity where I have had the chance to meet other colleagues and share our experiences around migration issues (personal and professional). Everyone in the hotel has been really nice and accommodating. Pepa and Gavina have been fantastic! I am very grateful to them for making our stay so enjoyable. Additionally, I am grateful to the selection committee who gave me the opportunity to be here. Thank you all!

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