Holidays, what are those? Ah, that time of the year that I travel to the Nordic Summer University, to attend one of the interdisciplinary circles and enjoy the company of interesting, passionate and intelligent people.
I discovered the Nordic Summer University (NSU) by accident last year. As I was intrigued by the theme of a conference on feminist philosophy, I signed up and went to Latvia. Although I wasn’t too impressed by the food that was served there (cabbage, cabbage, porridge, cabbage), I was immediately sold to the whole set-up and concept behind NSU. Because what I thought might be another boring, stuffy conference, turned out to be an amazing experience. A place for thought to gather, for interdisciplinarity to be the norm instead of something to be explained, for political activism to be the common sense outcome of reading Derrida, for art to be an attitude instead of something to be shunned.
I was impressed, not only by the conversations that were fostered by the facilitators in the feminist-philosophy-circle I attended, one circle among many, but also by the functioning of the horizontal governing structure propelling the NSU as an organisation. People gathering in spare time (with a beautiful beach to compete for your time!) to discuss organisational issues, to decide things as a community, to talk about budgets, to hear concerns about the future direction of the organisation. Seeing this, and seeing how the community as a whole responded to instances where this delicate balance was under fire, made me fall in love with the NSU as an organisation.
So, yes. I’ve done my reading to prepare for the seminars I’ll attend. I’ve kind of prepared my informal talk on day 2, where I will discuss two projects I’ve been working on regarding ‘Transformation of Thought: A method of philosophical embodiment’, although I know the conversations I’ll have with participants there will make me alter that talk significantly before I’ll give it. And this year I’ll also do a short funny skit during mini-NSU-festival, give people some practical philosophy to laugh about (but not giving spoilers here)!!!
In short, I’m really looking forward. But especially to meet some of the people who I met last year, and meet new friends. And of course I’m also looking forward to the evening where we will read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (a comic account of a woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War by denying all the men of the land any sex, which was the only thing they truly and deeply desired). Yes, we will read an ancient Greek play, together, out loud, line by line, on the beach at Fårö.
What better way than to spend your holiday?