feminist
no borders Summer School

14-16 june 2021

programme

Day 1: Monday 14 June

2:00 pm-3:00 pm
Introductions
Dedication to Aziz Choudry (1966-2021)

Break (30 minutes)

3:30 pm-5:30 pm
Representations of/against Borders
With: Esfandyar Torkaman Rad: Art as a political tool: contrasts between revolutionary and liberal approaches in documentary art
Giulia Zoratti: How to do an ethnography of the border?
Annie Pfingst: Framing Encounters in Close Up
Moira Lavelle: Reporting On or Reporting Against Borders: Ideas for a Different Journalistic Ethics
Aiza Khan: Beyond Activity and Passivity: The Experiences of an Afghan Woman Refugee

From photography to documentary film, from journalism to ethnography, in this session we reflect on refusals of hegemonic representations and discursive categories of a bordered reality. What becomes visible when we refuse to see through the eyes of the state? You can read the abstracts of the presentations in this session below.

Break (30 minutes)

6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Deexceptionalizing Displacement/Displacement Beyond Place
With: Heath Cabot and Georgina Ramsay

This workshop will focus on shifting the frameworks within which much scholarship, advocacy, and activism understand and approach displacement. We suggest that such approaches often reproduce rather than challenge borders. Through storytelling and dialogue, participants will be asked to reflect on ways in which borders are often reinforced, and ways to unborder how we think about what it means to be displaced.

Break (30 minutes)

8:30 pm-10:00 pm
Decolonial Struggles and Antiracist Feminist Pedagogies in the University: Presentation of the BRIDGES Toolkit
With: Deanna Dadusc, Sandra Tejada M., Emilia Carnetto, María Cárdenas, Eugenia D’Ermoggine, Aila Spathopoulou, Shareen Elnaschie, and Marina Liakis

Members of the BRIDGES research team will present the BRIDGES Toolkit, which provides antiracist and feminist strategies for addressing and dismantling structures of exclusion in Higher Education curricula. The Toolkit is available in four languages: English, Español, Eλληνικά, Deutsch. Since the Toolkit is a work in progress, we look forward to hearing your thoughts about it during and after the event (we ask that participants fill out a brief feedback form to help us reflect and revise). We will collectively reflect on the following questions: To what extent is it possible to do antiracist, feminist, anti- and decolonial work within European and Eurocentric academic institutions? Given the institutionalisation of “decolonial” as a buzzword, how can it be reclaimed and radicalised in conjunction with a no borders politics?

Note: this session is open to the public. Those not registered in the summer school can register for this session here.

 

Day 2: Tuesday 15 June

2:00 pm-4:00 pm
Struggles Against Borders
With: Lorraine Leete (Legal Centre Lesvos); Hela Kanakane, Chiara Denaro, and Deanna Dadusc (Watch the Med Alarm Phone)

This session addresses the context of the Mediterranean and Aegean borders, from the perspective of activists engaged in a no borders politics and resisting the criminalisation of people on the move, as well as those in solidarity with them.

Break (1 hour)

5:00 pm-5:45 pm
Mutual Aid in the Pandemic of Borders: The Khanapados collective kitchen in Delhi
With: Revue (Sreejata Roy and Mrityunjay Chatterjee a.k.a. Joy)

What is  the role of art in a time of crisis? The members of Revue will describe how they mobilised artists and community members to respond to the urgent needs produced by the multiple borders intensified by the coronavirus pandemic.

Break (15 minutes)

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Open Space

Break (1 hour)

8:00 pm-10:00 pm
Discussion of
Home Rule: National Sovereignty and the Separation of Natives and Migrants, by Nandita Sharma
With: Nandita Sharma, Bridget Anderson, and Nicholas De Genova

Following a pre-recorded lecture by Nandita about her recently published book, the author and two other no borders scholar-activists, Bridget and Nicholas, engage in an informal discussion on the ‘Postcolonial New World Order.’ You can read the Introduction to Home Rule here.

 

Day 3: Wednesday 16 June

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Open Space

Break (30 minutes)

3:30 pm-4:00 pm
Break Down the Walls, Close the Camps!
With: Parwana Amiri (Youth Refugee Movement)

Parwana will discuss her experiences, her poetry, and her work as an educator in the self-organised school at Ritsona camp (near Athens, Greece). She will describe the often unnoticed participation of women in the resistance to the regime of borders and camps,  and refer to the Build Schools, Not Walls campaign.

Break (1 hour)

5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Zine Workshop: Reflecting on the Summer School
With: Miranda Iossifidis

Join us in making a zine. We’ll be informally reflecting on the Summer School in small groups clustered around themes which have emerged over the different sessions. Everyone is encouraged to make a page (or more) whilst chatting to each other–talking whilst making. During the previous sessions, if you can keep notes, jot or doodle things you’re interested in, we can pick them up in the zine workshop! Come prepared with any materials you have: pens, pencils; some form of glue or sellotape; collect materials you don’t mind cutting up; scissors.

Break (30 minutes)

7:30 pm-9:30 pm
Closing Assembly

Download the Programme (PDF)

call for participants

No Borders! No Nations! No binary gender formations! 

Queer feminist solidarity smashes borders!

The Feminist No Borders Summer School is four years in the making. The brainchild of Feminist Researchers Against Borders (FRAB) has survived a packed classroom in the Polytechnic University of Athens in the July 2018 heatwave, and was nourished in its life course as the first gathering we had in the Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research (FAC research) in June 2019. In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we proposed a slower, virtual process, which consisted in weekly meetings of four working groups from April to June, as well as video keynote lectures/discussions and a virtual assembly held in June, kindly hosted on the platform of Off University. We are grateful to the 140+ past participants, invited speakers, and community experts who gave this summer school its existence.

The context of the three previous summer schools was shaped by the “refugee crisis” that was declared in the summer of 2015, and the “economic crisis” that was dramatised in July 2015: first, by the referendum through which the electorate rejected a new memorandum of understanding between the government of Greece and the Troika of its creditors; and then by the deal reached between the Greek government and the leaders of the Eurozone in defiance of the popular vote. The management of a declared “debt crisis” through austerity politics intersected with the exploitation of “the refugee crisis” through the establishment of a new migration management infrastructure: hotspots were created on five islands in the eastern Aegean sea, while camps and detention centres proliferated on the mainland. 

When the coronavirus first appeared in Greece, the Greek government exploited what it declared as a  “double crisis”: in addition to the pandemic, it proclaimed  a  border crisis when, in protest over the EU’s failure to uphold the terms of the EU-Turkey deal and its lack of support for Turkey’s imperialist military campaign in Syria, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to allow refugees to cross the Turkish border into Greece. In response, the Greek government imposed a “state of emergency” in March, suspending asylum processes. Moreover, the far-right New Democracy government sought international support for its previously devised, and already partially implemented designs to detain asylum seekers and undocumented people in so-called “closed centres” (i.e. prisons), to accelerate deportations, and to criminalise solidarians. Exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, the Greek government has justified the containment of refugees by conflating quarantine with detention.

Immediately following the fire at Moria on 9 September 2020, the government’s response to the “new crisis” was the creation of the new, closed, and highly policed hotspot on the former shooting range at Mavrovouni and the eviction of the solidarity camp The Village of All Together (PIKPA) and the closure of the municipality-run Kara Tepe camp for “vulnerable” asylum seekers. The conditions of visibility have dramatically shifted since the onset of the “refugee crisis” six years ago, when Lesvos became the epicentre of the photographic gaze turned on people arriving in Europe; now, due to the media ban and nondisclosure agreements imposed on volunteers and staff at camps and hotspots, as well as the harassment and criminalisation of people forced to live in detention camps when they attempt to document the conditions, the need to pay witness and amplify the visions and voices of people trapped in carceral border spaces is ever more urgent. In response to extensive, thorough documentation by civil society human rights observers, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Migration, and other officials have repeatedly denied conducting pushbacks as “fake news,” while attacking search and rescue NGOs with charges of criminal organisation, espionage, violation of state secrets, and facilitation of entry.

While we are writing this call, we witness whole islands being turned into spaces of administrative torture, and the sea turned into an aqueous cemetery, the theatre of an undeclared war, the scene of pushbacks and pullbacks, resulting in thousands of deaths. Closed detention centres are being constructed on hotspot islands and the mainland. The imposition of a new asylum law violates the very right to apply for asylum in Greece. Following the violent evictions of self-organised squats in Athens and other urban centres, refugees have been evicted from UNCHR-funded apartments, left to fend for themselves to “integrate” into a racist society, resulting in homelessness and extreme precarity. We experience the privatisation and militarisation of public spaces, including incessant stop and search procedures through racial and gender profiling. We protest sexual assaults and feminicides, at the borders, on the streets, in prisons, and in homes turned into prisons.

The multiple forms of precarity and the various velocities at which some human (and nonhuman) beings are consigned to death through the necropolitics of the “crisis regimes” have intensified divisions amongst us, along lines of racialised citizenship, class power, and heteropatriarchal normativities. At the same time, a growing interest in, and commitment to abolitionist politics, in the wake of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, opens up spaces for imagining and prefiguring border abolition, prison abolition, police abolition, as well as the abolition of the heteronormative family and of the system of compulsory binary gender assignment. The Feminist No Borders Summer School has aimed to think together these abolitionist demands. Thus, we ask: What becomes possible when we inhabit the borderlands with the conscious intention of breaking down the multiple borders that have been erected to keep us apart?

What have we learnt from (our) being together in Athens during the previous three summers? That incisive analyses about the phenomena comprising our bordered reality, and hard-wrought experiences of struggle and resistance, can be shared and synthesised with care, passion, and joy, when queer feminists who oppose the international nation-state system of borders meet in a room (or in cyberspace). We seek and offer connection, collaboration, mutual support, friendship, and love to all those who struggle for survival and for possible better worlds.

In 2021, the Feminist No Border Summer School will, once again, be virtual, and held over three days on June 14-16.

participation and registration

We invite participation from activists, researchers (both those working/studying in academic institutions and those outside or beyond them), artists, and people with lived experiences of migration (and, of course, people with multiple overlapping identifications).

Registration is open to everyone, and for technological reasons will be capped at 100 participants. Registrations will be accepted on a rolling basis until 7 June 2021 (firm deadline). A waiting list will be created in the event that interest exceeds capacity.

Participants are asked to attend all/most sessions of the summer school, with the recognition that it is an intensive 3 days, comprising 18 hours of discussions, workshops, and lectures. We appreciate that people will be joining from locations across multiple time zones, facing differential barriers to access, and that burnout and screen overload is very real. Participants will receive a certificate of participation.

There are no tuition fees for the virtual Feminist No Borders Summer School (2021), but all participants in the summer school are asked to become members of FAC (at the time of registering). This will help us meet the basic expenses of keeping FAC open (i.e., to pay our rent and utilities), which has been… challenging in the year of the pandemic, especially since, given the conditions, we haven’t felt it right to run a membership drive. Please self-select a membership rate (€25-€200) according to the fate racial capitalism has dealt you and your loved ones; if you cannot afford a membership, please indicate this on the registration form. If you are already a member of FAC research (thank you!), please indicate this on the form and kindly wait until our next membership drive to renew your membership. 

Participants in the summer school are also asked to make a solidarity contribution (€5-€50); this amount will be split amongst the four organisations that are participating: Legal Centre Lesvos, Khanapados, Youth Refugee Movement and Watch the Med Alarm Phone, as well as a fifth, Viktoria Solidarity, which is active in our neighbourhood. The solidarity contribution can be added to the membership on our join page (fill in a custom amount and write in a comment how you wish it to be allocated), or given separately (ideally before 11 June).

The Feminist No Borders Summer School is, for us, an act of solidarity and love, an unfunded self-organised initiative. The faculty organisers and invited participants are giving their time without remuneration. We hope that past participants in the previous summer schools (2018, 2019, 2020) will decide to participate again this year, and that we’ll be joined by new participants as well. We hope to meet you or to meet you again this June!

Aila Spathopoulou, Anna Carastathis, Myrto Tsilimpounidi, Penny Travlou, Carmen Zografou
Faculty Organisers, Feminist No Borders Summer School
Co-directors, Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research

PS. Please note: The summer school is an LGBTQI+ affirmative space and the participation of trans, intersex, non-binary, queer, lesbian, bisexual, and gay people is encouraged. Please read and commit to our code of contact prior to registering.

important dates

Call for participants opens: 7 May 2021
Registration deadline: 7 June 2021 (Firm!)
Notification of acceptance: Rolling, until 9 June 2021
Solidarity contribution requested by: 11 June 2021
Finalised programme and meeting links sent: 11 June 2021
The Feminist No Borders Summer School takes place (online): 14-16 June 2021

archive

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and mindful of the risks and exclusions involved in an in-person international meeting of its kind, we took the decision to postpone the Feminist No Borders Summer School (scheduled for 15-21 June 2020) until pandemic conditions subside. Instead, we undertook a slow, virtual process with the 35 participants and 5 invited keynote speakers, which consisted in weekly meetings of four working groups from April to June, and–over the week for which the FNBSS was planned–video keynote lectures/discussions on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of June and a virtual assembly on the 20th of June, kindly hosted on the platform of Off University. You can watch the video keynote lectures/discussions below.

Tuesday 16 June: 

Keynote lecture by Sophie Richter-Devroe (Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha), “Everyday Crossings: Palestinian women resisting the settler colonial border”

Wednesday 17 June:

Keynote lecture by Sreejata Roy (Revue, an artist ensemble, New Delhi), “Social Space – Everyday – Creativity”

Thursday 18 June: 

Keynote lecture by Deanna Dadusc (Alarm Phone Brighton) and Hela K. (Alarm Phone Tunis), “Women’s Struggles in the Mediterranean Sea”
For further info see the collective report by Alarm Phone activists on “Struggles of Women* on the Move”

FRAB ZINE

A zine collectively created by participants in the Feminist Researchers Against Borders Summer School in July 2018. The zine workshop was conceived and facilitated by Miranda Iossifidis, who also compiled, photocopied, and digitised the zine.