Irene García | Assistant Professor and writer

When I arrived at Olot to spend eight days at Faber Residency, I was not quite sure what I was about to experience. This was my first residency and I was not quite sure how it would work. I came to Faber as an academic, specialised in population movement and intercultural contact in the Viking Age. I work with viking settlement away from the Scandinavian homelands and I do research combining toponymic, archaeological and historical sources. I knew that in Faber I would interact with people from many disciplines, and because of the interdisciplinary nature of my research I found that an exciting prospect. 

During this Diversity Policies thematic residency at Faber, I have engaged daily with brilliant artists and academics who tackle aspects of cultural diversity from very different angles. What I have received from my interactions with them far surpasses anything I could have imagined before coming to Faber. I was truly not aware of how my perspective was going to be transformed, and my experience of life enrichened, by my contact with the other residents at Faber.

There was plenty of time for solo work too. Perhaps that was one of the fascinating aspects of being in the residency: there was time. I had chosen a project to undertake that I was scared would not be feasible within an eight-day period, but the levels of productivity I could reach with only the sound of the outside pool and the views of green mountains from my window meant I finished the work I came here to do. Time is such a precious thing, so difficult to find in the cracks of my usual routine, that I treasured each silent moment at Faber where I had time to think and write. 

The best part of the Faber Residency, however productive I have managed to be, is the communion with the other residents. Each day we shared so many ideas, so many discussions, so many stories. I have taken so much from my fellow residents that I am indebted to them for all they have given to me. Coming from very diverse backgrounds, we found in each other such strong commonalities, preoccupations and beliefs that we rapidly developed a degree of closeness that surprised us all. From feminism, colonisation and the oppression of minorities to multilingualism, religion and the role of arts and academia in the world in which we live, there was not a topic left untouched. 

The professionalism, kindness and vision of the Faber Residency team who worked so hard to get the residents together deserve all my thanks, as do the people who work in the hotel. 

The humanity, intelligence and talent of all the other residents merits my deepest respect and lasting affection.

I leave Faber inspired, improved.