Luca Calafati | PhD Student in Urban Studies, University of Milano-Bicocca

I attended Faber as part of the thematic residency on Local Development. I arrived in mid January and stayed for 10 days. For my PhD I am working on ‘alternative’ strategic planning together with a group of UK researcher mainly based in Manchester know as the Foundational Economy Collective. I am based in Milan and meeting them is not easy, so when I was told about Faber I discussed with Karel Williams – the lead researcher in the group – to meet in Olot. To both of us it sounded like a great opportunity a) to focus on some of the work we were doing and b) to get feedback from other development professional and researchers.

At that time we were at a crucial point in our research in Morriston (a small town in Swansea, Wales). We had already done the fieldwork + some writing-up + some methodological/theoretical development. However, given our other commitments, the work was proceeding slowly. Furthermore, given the experimental nature of the research, we were really in need of some informed feedback from outside our circle.

Faber was a real turning point in this regarded. The relaxed and convivial environment at the Hotel was perfect for focused working (a big shout-out to the Faber stuff, for being super friendly and professional). At the same time, the city of Olot and its surrounding provided for relaxing brakes.  In addition to that, the Faber residency enabled us to meet other devoted development practitioners and researchers with which we engaged in many exciting conversation. From those conversations, we got not only all the feedback we needed for our research, but also insights about local politics and culture, which have truly enriched the whole experience.

As a result we left Faber with more work done than planned and with relevant contacts for future research and projects. All this achieved without the usual feeling of exhaustion you would get for a week of hard work. Well, I can only recommend the Residency!