Dennis Kim-Prieto | Reference Librarian, Rutgers Law School
As an academic, I have been fortunate enough to present my work in a variety of settings around the world: the Hague, Barcelona, Honolulu, and many places around the United States as well. I have been to a good many conferences and workshops in Europe, North America, and South Korea, and I have come to enjoy the exchange of ideas and thoughts as one of the key rewards of working in academia.
The Faber Residency is truly unique, and incredibly inspiring; standing out among all of these events. First off, the interdisciplinary nature of the Faber Residency makes it extraordinarily useful; academics, like other professionals, tend to silo ourselves into narrower and narrower fields of interest and work. The conversations that I had at Faber made me think outside my own little narrow “box of ideas,” and consider new ways of approaching my work on information literacy in legal research education.
Moreover, these conversations slowly revealed themes and topics that would return, as motifs, in the programming. From the first day, we were having conversations about the implications of technology upon access to information that presaged and echoed my presentation to the Residency, and presaged and echoed other presentations as well. At most academic events, the presentations are the focus of events; here our conversations made the presentations an extension of our colloquy. This is due to the Residency’s focus on diversity in discipline, gender, and national origin, to be sure; but also I believe a function of Francesc’s very astute decision to make the Residency less programmatic, rather than more. It is the combination of the interdisciplinary nature of the Residency with the freedom it allows Residents that allows for these conversations to bloom, naturally, like the hillsides surrounding the location.
Indeed, the setting is nothing more than idyllic. The luxurious space that the Hotel Riu Fluvià provides is matched only by the breathtaking vistas that lay just outside the rooms. The landscape changes visibly minute by minute, as the clouds come rolling in over the volcanic surroundings, and the brilliant farms next door to the Hotel gleam and glow as the sunlight settles across the open fields. The food is gourmet Catalan cuisine, and when we were not talking about our work, we were raving about our dinners. The hotel is incredibly comfortable, and the staff extraordinarily friendly. Francesc, Gavina, and Pau treat scholars in a manner that most of us have only dreamed of. Their work, and the Faber residency, is truly an inspiration to scholars and intellectual workers.