WHAT IS FAC RESEARCH?
FAC Research is a space for learning, reflection, collaboration, support, exchange, knowledge production, political interventions, and trouble-making.
FAC Research is a community-based research centre. Located in Athens, a city at one epicentre of global, intersecting crises, we have a need to build spaces in which encounters can take place, and coalitions can flourish. Particularly for groups excluded from the hegemonic mappings of the city, the Centre offers a space to breathe, in the daily struggle against multiple forms of violence. By unleashing our collective capacities for creativity, resistance, and care, we can unlearn the dominant ideologies that we have internalised and produce new knowledges. The physical space of the Centre is open to groups and individuals who want to come together, exchange ideas, generate projects, to understand and transform our collective realities.
FAC Research is based in Athens, yet is not confined to the physical space of the Centre, or even the city, the country, or the continent. It seeks to establish collaborations against borders with collectives, organisations, individuals, and communities in struggle. We see ourselves as part of an emergent global movement against heteropatriarchy, racial capitalism, neocolonialism, and ecological genocide. We seek to forge coalitions across and against borders for self-determination: in unity we rise!
Working across and against nation-state and continental borders, disciplinary boundaries, and institutional barriers, we return to the feminist roots of autonomous knowledge production, challenging what counts as legitimate knowledge and who is granted the right to produce and receive it.
We question the (neo)colonial uses to which research has historically been put, and how research remains, today, a tool of domination. Bridging theory and practice, art and activism, we resist the exclusive authority of academic institutions to define what counts as knowledge and who counts as a legitimate knower.
What would community-driven research look like?
While we strongly oppose the privatisation of education at all levels and believe in free universally accessible education as a fundamental human right, we also contest the state’s authority over knowledge production and reproduction.
The nonsecular state attempts to contain, limit, and censor ways of knowing, traditions of practice, and schools of thought that challenge power relations and social hierarchies.
Consequently, we seek political and financial autonomy from state institutions–but also from supranational funding agencies, from private foundations, and rely on our members for the inspiration, sustainability, and accountability of the Centre. That is, our day-to-day sustainability depends on the contributions of our members, not on the vagaries and unpredictability of external funding.
In particular, in Greece, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs regulates primary, secondary, tertiary education and university curricula and faculty appointments; the Greek Orthodox church has resisted the secularisation of schools, seeking to control social reproduction. Around the world, a backlash against gender studies, feminist and LGBTQI+ movements is coordinated and carried out by the far right. To the extent that “public education” (as opposed to social education) is subject to the control of the state, the space for the expression of dissident thoughts is becoming ever more constricted.
Yet, we also witness the seemingly inevitable corporate takeover of academic institutions (both private and nominally public) by the neoliberal model of the “knowledge factory.” The permanent and proliferating precariat is the linchpin of the academic-industrial complex, while students are constructed as consumers, studying seen as a(n expensive) passive-receptive activity rather than a productive one. Our feminist conception of autonomy disrupts the dichotomy between “public” and “private,” seeking to foster self-determination particularly for groups that are epistemically oppressed in academic institutions.
More and more, feminists critical of academic institutions have elaborated their reasons for making individual exits from neoliberal universities. FAC Research is an experiment in staging a collective exit. Breaking with the neoliberal logic of There Is No Alternative, we are, in practice, asking, what might it mean to create an alternative to hegemonic institutions of knowledge production?
Our feminisms are queer, trans, intersectional, antiracist, anti-authoritarian, always in plural, reflexive,
and internally contested.
FAC Research is a space of encounter, collaboration, and dissensus, that can bring together diverse perspectives that do not usually come into conversation with each other. Undoing the false dilemmas that prevent us from coming together in our differences, we see dissensus as a creative force for change.
The urgencies of our time leave us no time to waste. Can we transform our collective consciousness by encountering each other, learning from each other’s experiences, and recognising we have a common responsibility for each other’s survival, liberation, and flourishing?
HOW WE STARTED
FAC Research is a labour of love 3 years in the making. We started the project because…
- we want to find collective solutions to problems and burdens that, under capitalism, we bear individually, such as unemployment, exploitation, harassment, and social exclusion.
- we want to practice what we are trained to do, and what we love doing, but there is no other possibility open to us
- we want to undertake research that breaks with hegemonic narratives, methodologies, and boundaries
- we’re tired of antagonism, nepotism, authoritarianism, and paternalism as the taken-for-granted atmosphere of teaching and learning in the education system
- we want to combat discrimination and systemic barriers based on status, racialisation, language, gender identity and expression, sexuality, ability, and class
- we want to know what avenues for social change are opened up when we legitimise knowledge from below that goes unrecognised, undocumented, and disvalued.
- we believe that, through collective knowledge practices, lived experiences can produce theories that differ in kind and in purpose from the tokenistic fetishisation of identities by “expert” researchers.
For reasons of safety, sustainability, and financial transparency, FAC Research is a registered urban non-profit organisation. This legal status allows us to pursue accreditation options for courses and educational programming; to be able to offer employment, fellowships, paid residencies etc.; to be able to enroll members, receive donations, and apply for research grants for specific projects.
The Centre’s co-diretors are a team of 8 people who work on the basis of horizontality, consensus, and collective imagination. We have different backgrounds, experiences, and trajectories, which cross in Athens, where we are based.
Our research methodology is participatory, feminist, and anti-oppressive. We draw on Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods, collaborative ethnography, visual methods, do it with others (DIWO) approaches, oral history, autoethnographic, poetic, narrative-analytic and other methods that aim to disrupt, challenge, and collapse the hierarchies between “researcher” and “researched.”
We are interested in the following (overlapping) research areas:
(1) Mobility: Migration and Borders
(2) Intersectionality: Critiques of Power and Coalitional Movements
(3) Art as Research: Visual, Performative, and Documentary Practices
(4) Sexualities and Genders: Queer, Trans, Feminist Perspectives
(5) Space: Radical Perspectives on Space and Design
(6) Bodies in Movements: Embodied Knowledges, Lived Experiences, Collective Care, and Healing Practices
Our pedagogical approach is informed by feminist, decolonial, anti-hierarchical epistemologies. Community Courses use enquiry-based teaching and learning methods, which aim to empower participants as agents generative of their own questions, and acknowledge and build upon the rich diversity of knowledges we bring into any classroom.