Alongside and in conjunction with my research I have organized various events related to transgender studies, sexuality and visual culture. Below I describe a selection of them to give you a taste of events that are categorized as academic, community, and curatorial.
My doctoral research at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) was enhanced by holding ASCA reading groups in 2007-2008 on the topics of Guatto-Deleuzian philosophy, desire and images. In October 2008 I received financial support to bring queer theorist Noreen Giffney (University College Dublin) as a key speaker during a three day intensive PhD course “The Persistence of Identity”. Together with Christian Scholl (University of Amsterdam) and Lena Eckert (Utrecht University), we invited professors from the Humanities and Social Sciences to give short lectures and responses for our group of twenty junior researchers. In honor of the 5th and final edition of the Netherlands Transgender Film Festival, I convened the “International Symposium on Trans Cinema Studies” in May 2009.
With the assistance of multiple sponsors, I was able to bring together scholars such as Helen Hok-Sze Leung (Simon Frazier University) and Susan Stryker (University of Arizona), for a full day of talks at the University of Amsterdam.
Together with Esther Peeren (University of Amsterdam), we held the 2013 Soirées on the theme of “Approaching Affect”. With the support of The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis and Maastricht University, a group of twenty-five scholars met twice each in Maastricht and Amsterdam to discuss a guest lecture and readings on the topic of affect in cultural theory. To cap off the sessions, in January 2014 we invited Heather Love (University of Pennsylvania) to give a Public Lecture and Master Class on the topic of Affect and/as Method, with special attention to integrating queer, literary and social science methods.
On June 10, 2016 I was a co-organizer of the annual national research day for the Dutch Research School of Gender Studies (NOG), together with Liesbeth Minnaard and Looi van Kessel. The conference “Doing Gender in The Netherlands: TRANS* Approaches, Methods & Concepts” was opened by the vice-rector Simone Buitendijk and keynoted by Trish Salah (Queen’s University, Cananda), who also gave a Workshop the day before on the topic of cultural translation and temporality.
In December 2017, I chaired the conference “Art & Activism: Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis” hosted by the Research Centre for Material Culture at the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden. Together with committee members Bram Ieven, Kitty Zijlmans, Robert Zwijnenberg, and Marijke de Valck, I welcomed more than 150 participants from more than seven countries and from many different universities and academic institutions in The Netherlands to foster a critical, interdisciplinary exchange amongst scholars, research-oriented curators and artists. Among the participants were keynotes T.J. Demos (University of California Santa Cruz) and Susan Cahan (Yale University), their respondents Mieke Bal (University of Amsterdam) and Quinsy Gario, as well as people presenting in 12 different panels addressing topics such as curatorial dilemmas, protest strategies, and revolutionary violence with examples from Haiti, Egypt, The Netherlands, Macedonia, Ukraine, and more. I furthermore moderated a discussion with four of the visual artists I researched doing my VENI research, including J. Jackie Baier (Germany) and Gabrielle Le Roux (South Africa).
When I first arrived to Amsterdam in 2003 I became involved in the trans* community by volunteering for the second Netherlands Transgender Film Festival. After volunteering again for the third edition in 2005, I was invited by director Kam Wai Kui to help co-organize the film, art, and party program for this five-day biannual event. Since 2006 I have served on the board as the treasurer of the T-Image Foundation, which produced this important community event, the largest film festival of its kind. For the 2007 and 2009 editions I was responsible for scouting and selecting films as well as inviting filmmakers, speakers and performers.
After a new group formed to continue the tradition of a five-day trans-oriented film festival, I again volunteered in 2012 as an organizing member for TranScreen: Amsterdam Transgender Film Festival. My main tasks were in relation to film programming, and overseeing the arts program. For the May 2013 edition I invited filmmaker and educator Jules Rosskam (Hampshire College) and his writing partner from the film Thick Relations. They gave a workshop “Thick Relations: Community Filmmaking” for twelve people that included introductory theory to collaborating and a writing-feedback session on character sketching. I also organized two events on the topic of trans* media at the Amsterdam Main Public Library, hosted by International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (IHLIA). The workshop “Trans in the Media” was facilitated by Ben Power of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and Helen Belcher of England’s TransMediaWatch, who both were representative partners of the EU-funded Grundtvig Learning Partnership project, Page One (How to improve trans* representation in the media). For the Dutch speaking audience, this workshop was followed-up with a panel discussion “Trans in het nederlands medialandschap” moderated by Kam Wai Kui, with special guests Maxim Februari and Monica Overdijkink.
As part of the joint project “Building Bridges: Trans in/& Media,” Kam Wai Kui, Elise van Alphen, Suzanne Bouma, and I organized an international “Transgender & Media Expert Meeting” in October 2017 at Atria, Institute for Emancipation and Women’s History, in Amsterdam. The aim of the meeting was to bring together trans media experts from professional organizations in order to exchange knowledge about media strategies and activities. Over the course of two days, representatives from trans media organizations from countries such as Germany, the UK, the US, South Africa, and a host of experts engaged in trans media in the Netherlands met up to discuss and share experiences related to trans media representation. I was chairing the meeting, moderating discussions, and co-presenting work from our project.
As the Arts program coordinator for TranScreen and together with trans* artist Willemijn da Campo, I curated the exhibition “Lost & Found: Transgender Image-Making” at the International Gay and Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (IHLIA) in the Amsterdam Main Public Library. From April – July 2013 it was open to the public of the library, some 5,000 people a day. “Lost & Found” explored the politics of producing and archiving transgender images through visual art, video installations, social media campaigns, workshops and debates with Dutch and international artists. During the festival a panel discussion was held with seven of the participating artists about what it means for them to produce trans* art today (including Fernanda Milan, Madsen Minx and Simon Croft). Through partnership with the Gender Graduate Program of Utrecht University, Susan Stryker (University of Arizona) gave a Public Lecture “We Who Are Sexy: The Whirlwind Tour of Transgender Images in Cinema” on the archive of trans* cinema.
Read more details on the exhibition page.
Gallery “Lost & Found: Transgender Image-Making”Exhibition image gallery "Lost & Found: Transgender Image-Making" at the International Gay ...View gallery »