September 2017 – Exactly a year ago, a group of staff members, researchers, outsources staff and professors set up a new community group called “ seahorses” focusing on day to day body and power politics in academia. As seahorses, we questioned our relations to each other, experimenting different ways of being together, working together, trying to make this place a better place for all of us. We organized among other things some reading circles and a body awareness workshop and solved a few practical problems (such as making free water available for everyone in the canteens). Our year-long experiment is now ending. Many of us are looking forward to new chapters in our lives but we will take this experience of living everyday feminism wherever we go and look back to an amazing year of togetherness.
For the sake of transparency, we also deemed important to inform the EUI community that we are donating the remaining funds collected through our fundraising event last year, to two projects we believe in: the EUI Refugees initiative and the Artemisia Association. A small portion will also be donated to the family of our dear former colleague Alina Vlad.
We are a group of staff members, researchers and professors who set up a new community group called “ Seahorses” and focusing on day to day body and power politics in academia.
We believe that this initiative could greatly benefit the EUI community by:
• identifying collectively critical issues related to body and power politics in the university world,
• creating a safe environment for self-expression and discussion. By this we mean a group that lends a sympathetic and non-judgemental ear to all. Ours is not to judge but to listen and to learn.
• increasing self and body awareness,
• acknowledging that each one of us plays different but equally important roles within the EUI community. This is a point that cannot be stressed enough. The difficult but very rewarding work we do here is a collective effort that rests on the talents, kindness and contributions of all
• contributing to identifying positive solutions to critical situations so that problems can be discussed, rather than simply being swept under the rug, on the one hand, or possibly escalating out of control, on the other
The group has two main courses of action to achieve these goals:
• Interactive luncheon meetings, to identify and discuss critical and controversial situations in the academic environment, and plan future activities. These meetings would take place in different buildings to involve a maximum number of people from different services and departments.
• Experiential training sessions per month (late afternoon / evening) which could range from body consciousness through theatre and dance, body/voice exercises, how to raise your voice in public, self-defence, and also cineforums etc.
These are the ideas that have come to us so far, and we think they are good ones. But our agenda remains quite open to the ideas and suggestions of the Seahorse participants as the group comes together on the EUI campus. Part forum for discussion of the most wide-ranging sort, part laboratory for different kinds of body/voice training and exercise, the Seahorses is a work in progress that needs the diverse inputs from the full EUI community if it is to find its place in the world.