Bethany Rex | Research Fellow

It’s not insignificant that ‘The Magic Mountain’, a novel by Thomas Mann, became a common topic of conversation during my residency at Faber. From the sizable blankets to the curved structure of the hotel to the routines we developed as a group not to mention the hills visible from every balcony, there was surely something about ‘Faber time’ which was immediately discernible to those of us in the group who had read the novel. Just as Hans Castorp (the main character) relished in his escape from clocktime to the slower, enveloping world of the mountain, my experience at Faber was one where I was able to switch off from the world of the office, passing the time by writing an article that I had struggled to work on at home and opening my mind to the projects and perspectives of the other residents. 

Although I am grateful for the opportunity to finish the article which had been on my to-do list for months, I am truly thankful to the staff at Faber and the hotel for the work that goes into organizing the Residency. Meeting and getting to know academics and practitioners from different parts of the world with a shared interest in the study of cultural institutions and their changing identity, form and function in the context of broader political, economic and social shifts was invaluable. Perhaps it could be explained by ‘mountain time’, but there was an immediate spirit of openness, generosity and dialogue during our daily discussions, and I feel incredibly privileged to have been given this opportunity to share this experience with the other residents and the team at Faber.