LUCSUS Assistant Professor Mine Islar has recently begun her one-year stay as guest researcher at the ICTA center of Autonoma University of Barcelona (UAB) as part of a 3-year post-doc project financed by the Swedish Research Council (VR). The purpose of the project is to produce a comparative study of right to the city movements by analyzing the re-politicization of citizens engaged in Spain’s Indignados movement and Turkey’s Gezi movement. It is carried out in collaboration with scholars from UAB and Manchester University.
Mine, how has the transition to Barcelona gone so far?
It has been smoother than I thought it would be. ICTA staff is used to hosting several guest scholars and they are well-organized in welcoming and helping out with administrative details. Also, Barcelona is a very vibrant and inspiring city. There are many music and social activities that everyone can join for free. I was fortunate to take part in some activities in line with my interest such as the ´solidarity economy´ fair that was organized by local cooperatives. Just outside of the city also offers some beautiful nature – which is important in the transition after coming from Skåne’s beautiful nature.
What do you do in ICTA, how do things work there?
I have so far attended a few weekly seminars where I introduced myself and also engaged in discussions. ICTA has 21 research groups ranging from earth and life sciences such as environmental radioactivity and paleoclimate science to social-environmental sciences such as ecological economics; degrowth; environmental justice (EJOLT). The group I am associated with is the political ecology (ENTITLE) group. Groups can attend any seminar that they are interested in, and this diversity creates good discussions. I really like the critical approach here.
Also, the ICTA building is a quite comfortable and nice place to work. It is designed with sustainability criteria where waste water is reused and ventilation is regulated via the bioclimatic facade of the building to minimise the use of non-renewable energy. Our offices look like wooden boxes. I would like to arrange a trip for LUCID PhDs just to show this building 🙂
What kinds of collaborative activities do you have underway? What are your main expected outcomes of this exchange with scholars from Barcelona and Manchester?
I have several ideas and activities for the following months. I want to start a book project on ‘citizenship for and towards sustainability´and hope to invite several scholars in both universities to take part in it. Other than that, I collaborate with ICTA scholars in identifying transformative citizen politics through Barcelona Comu with its game-changer (radical left) mayor Ada Colau. One of my expectations of this exchange is to observe how other researchers from different universities and countries conduct research and take part in activities that are relevant for my interests. I also see this opportunity as a way to revitalize my own thinking and to find new inspirations by simply being in another part of the world that is outside of my comfort zone.