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Femme Science & Community Based Research

Allied Media Conference Workshop 2013

Kim Katrin Milan

on 23 September 2015

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Transcript of Femme Science & Community Based Research

Femme Science & Community Based Research
Community Agreements
Express care, concern and consideration to yourself & others.

Speak for yourself.
Protect each other & yourself.
Examine your prejudice.
Share your needs and give ample space for others to do the same.
Treat others the way that they want to be treated. Ask.
Another’s experience does not invalidate your own, but it should and necessarily does complicate your own.
We are a community not a cult.
What are Indigineous sciences?
There are many different kinds of scientific frameworks and methodologies, Euro-western, white, ableist, male etc. 'corporate science is only one type.
What is 'femme science'?
Afro-Colombian Hair Contest and Showcase. Cali, Colombia
Mother preparing anti-teargas solution for her daughters who go to protest at Gezi Park.
Meet The Red Brigade: formed in November 2011 to fight back against a growing number of sexual attacks on women in the city of Lucknow, India
How can we nurture our intuition?
"Someone asked me earlier today: "What do you do in life?" I responded by saying: I don't *do* anything perse. My life is not something I do. Rather, it is something I embody. The idea that I need to *do* in order to *live* speaks to the insidiousness of ableist ontology. As I see it, you don't have to do anything in order to exist as a manifestation of brilliance, glitter, poise, glamour and magnificence. Just be"
- Eddie Ndopu

"Forget being inspirational, disabled femmes want to be everything. We want to move through the world on our own terms, guided by a bright flame of fabulousness."
- Eddie Ndopu
I've lived with a degenerative condition for 18 years now and still the embodied experience of disability shapes my consciousness and world-view in such a deeply profound way. As I see it, disability unearths the truth about humanity. It beckons us to revisit, re-formulate, resist. It is my firm belief that disability is perhaps the only embodied experience that mandates empathy. By empathy I do not mean rhetorical compassion, but rather, an epistemological and ontological orientation. The empathy to which I refer is an uncompromising exercise in grace.
How can we support & 'legitimize' diverse knowledge systems?
Be vigilant about affirming other types of knowledge in conversation.
Not suppressing children's magical and creative worldview.
Not answering children's questions instantly with unimaginative/"scientific" answers. Giving space for children 's science, exploration & for youth to be teachers.
Create new systems & share them.
Honouring and learning about the systems already in existence.
Produce media documenting & archiving the knowledge of elders.

Respect the present moment with ourselves & appreciate the presence of others.

Taking the time & space to claim your process with the support of friends, peers & family.
Engaging in more dialogue.

Asking open-ended questions and asking questions back in response.
How do we engage in environments that DO NOT recognize that we struggle or are struggling?
I work in the construction industry swinging a hammer (not secretary work). I cannot expend the energy to legitimize my struggle to my male co-workers. I AM FUCKING HERE. I am a female-identified person in construction. I embody legitimacy & conflict & struggle. I return to my community to create cycles of energy that I take to work and throw into the void. I create "extra" positive energy that I spend at work so I do not want to bankrupt myself. I do this until I can find & create a better space.
Corporate research does count for many factors, but not personal bias?
How do we challenge that?
Increasing access to journals & research and the tools & resources to interpret them.
Ensuring that research projects are owned and shared by the community(ies) communities most impacted by them.
Deconstruct the factors of studies.
Who funded them? What constraints existed? What were the research questions? What is the bias of the researchers?
'How do we sort bullshit from the useful? (our version of 'certified'?
And not rely on corporate research in order to learn about ourselves?

As femmes of colour what creates the conditions for:
FOCs FB Group
Send snail mail, love letters
Mixed CDs, Care Packages
Gatherings i.e. getting ready together
Support during times of sadness i.e
Breakups, Depression
Fucking other/more femmes
How do we create & increase access to some & not others?
I.e. Sex worker safety tips that shouldn't be shared with clients.
Small scale open source publishing platforms.
Possibly making them password protected.
Creative commons copyright licenses that require non-commercial reuse.
Closed networks for communicating.
(i.e. free of surveillance too)
Symbols & codes!
Creating our own language and not creating 'terminology', honouring our Indigenous words. Reclaiming nuestra jerga/slang and not writing and talking just so others can understand.
How do we negotiate with colonial places of learning & knowledge consolidation?
Hiding my research interests
to get accepted in a higher ed.
institution only looking for or
accepting a certain type of
research interests.
Taking the knowledge out.
Lending/using your phd/being a channel as credibility.
Staying connected to allies outside
Sharing knowledge to be held accountable
Sharing support or mentorship to those who are in it.
Support Groups (Of Colour, Queer, Trans)
Practice politics in the academy.
Challenge power dynamics in
classrooms to the best of your ability.
Thinking about what you are doing in all the ways that the academy doesn't want you to.
I.e. Should you do this?
Not hiding emotions & asking for support.
Not knowing on a personal level &
a macro level.
Body dowsing (reading your body)
Maintaining regular practice.
Being around the community that understands.
Sharing it.
Not asking for input from others until you've
sat with it in your self.

Femme itself is a practice of intuition.
Heart opening exercises & gratitude practices.
Recording & remembering dreams.
Prayer & sending intentions.
Building spirituality with other femmes

Fuck 'rationalizion'.
Daily femme rituals. i.e. makeup, meditation
Going to dance class to learn our bodies.
Trust ourselves & balancing with all the pain, shame & violence we have internalized.
Not writing in linear ways.
Witnessing femmes present and past.
Photo Credit: Tanja Tiziana for Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
The following is a collection of responses & questions generated by the femme scientists present at the Allied Media Conference 2013 Femme Science Workshop. This is not meant to be exhaustive or reflective of 'all' femmes, rather a collection of wisdom that was shared in that space. Thank you femmes for your generosity.
Full transcript