Review: A Woman's World
|Date:||29 April 2020|
|Author:||Melissa Ernstberger & Kiek Korevaar|
On the 21st of February, Place of Places hosted their first event of the year, a collaboration between students of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences and City Central. The event, “A Woman’s World,” aimed to facilitate a discussion space for a geographical perspective on interpretations of gender: How do the different places we come from shape our views on what it is to be a woman, and how do these come together here in Groningen?
The evening saw an exploration of many different places and backgrounds, with shared childhood experiences from Tirana, women’s protests in Istanbul, and a delocalized perspective of club culture. Following these contributions (offered by Jonah, Ayca, and Sara), the discussion was opened to all who came to attend the event. Jonah shared childhood experiences on how moving from a rather small village to Tirana shaped the way she grew up and the simultaneous growing awareness of becoming a woman. Stories were shared on how places then influence what it means to be a woman and how, as such, personal struggles and identity politics differ from place to place and are largely subordinate by their context in their particularities. Nevertheless, while discussing Ayca’s story, we found how the impact of emotional experiences were shareable and relatable, regardless of place and context, and therefore meaningful. This brought us to discuss how in Groningen gender and sexuality sometimes seems evident, especially on paper, but how life in this small city also brings new struggles and stories with it. Sara brought the evening to a close by sharing her experiences with the underground techno scene. With her, we explored how the dancefloor serves as a safe place of expression, bringing together people through sole passion for music, indifferent of sex or appearance. From city to village and from street to the club next door, places have the ability to offer a space where gender is fluid and celebrated, or otherwise contested and in need of criticism. By allowing for stories to be shared, we map our experiences on the places that shape who we are today and help inspire who we can be tomorrow.
Place of Places is a student-driven platform with the goal to facilitate a space through which people are able to share the places they identify with and give voice to stories which have perhaps not been heard before. The aim is to collectively better understand places through people, and to do this through a more meaningful and personal exchange. As similar stories between different places overlap, and different stories about the same place begin to layer, we hope to paint a different picture of the world we live in through the actual people living it. As we currently find ourselves in circumstances calling for increased social distancing and isolation, the sharing of our stories with each other is -- in some ways -- even more valuable than before. Part of the project initiative is to “remap” Groningen through the places represented by people and students within the city, as well as their networks further outside the city and abroad. Pinpointing the collected stories on a digital map, it is possible for anyone to access the shared stories and experiences and contribute their own, should they wish to. Visit https://www.facebook.com/PlaceofPlaces/