Reimagining Academic Activism
Learning from Feminist Anti-Violence Activists

4: Passionate, Sad, Angry People


Some four months into my voluntary work with the collective, I found out that all staff members were to attend a series of workshops together to help us work better as a team. I was almost absurdly enthusiastic about the workshops and the possibility of getting to see all my colleagues discuss the purpose of their work together. My eagerness for attending this event was rather unusual for me, given that under any other circumstances I would have been mutinous if someone had tried to get me to attend one of these events. My colleagues were slightly sickened at my enthusiasm; at lunch the day before the event, it turned out I was the only one excited at the prospect of the afternoon. Emily was appalled she had to attend and was desperately attempting to come up with excuses not to go. Even Ava, who usually took these sorts of things seriously, expressed to me that she was apathetic about attending because she didn’t see the purpose behind it. I assumed this was being driven by Jen, but when I chatted to her about it, she didn’t seem to want to attend either. The impetus behind this event therefore remained a bit of a mystery.

At 11 o’clock we piled into hired vans to be taken to our destination. I climbed into the back seat with Gracie, Kimberley, and Zoey. Gracie was carrying a giant A3 notebook; an accidentally humorous contrast to my tiny ethnographer’s notebook which I was holding in my hands. Gracie told me that the coordinators of these workshops had tried to charge her an extra $30 to supply one.

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