Faber’s most recent residents in the first residency period of 2017 left on Saturday 11 February. Since our arrival on 15 January, both the residents and Faber’s internal team have had four really intense weeks. Nonetheless, the end result is exceedingly positive, giving us all the more reason to continue working hard on this initiative.

This residency period began with five residents: Valerie Miles (American writer, translator and editor), Alissa Ganíeva (Russian writer), Etienne Rouziès (writer, historian and librarian from Northern Catalonia), Neus Penalba (professor and researcher) and Àlex Hinojo (cultural programme manager). After one week, following Àlex Hinojo’s departure, Marina Espasa (writer, translator and literary critic) and Àngels Bassas (actress and writer) arrived, both of whom stayed for one week. Then came Allan Cameron (Scottish writer, translator and editor) and, after a few days, Inari Listenmaa (PhD student in language technology and teacher), Lila Azam (Paris-born writer resident in New York), Jakuta Alikavazovic (French writer and translator) and Bernat Ruíz Domènech (designer, communication adviser and professor).

All of them, besides working on their professional projects, have taken part in various activities during their stay with Faber. Valerie Miles delivered a lecture about Roberto Bolaño in the Aula d’Escriptura in Gerona. Alissa Ganíeva and Matthew Tree debated the issues of national identity, religion, the history of nations and the role of writers in global social processes at the Darder Museum in Banyoles. In another talk, held at the University of Barcelona, Ganíeva discussed tradition and transgression in her novel, La muntanya de la festa (Holiday Mountain). Furthermore, at a meeting that took place in CIEMEN (International Escarré Centre for Ethnic Minorities and Nations) in Barcelona, Ganíeva spoke of the role of women and Islam, gender roles in the North Caucasus and today’s religious challenges in the region. Etienne Rouziès held a discussion with Batxibac [French/Spanish equivalent of the baccalaureate] students at the Abat Oliba school in Ripoll on art and literature, as well as social and cultural differences between the two sides of the Pyrenees. Àlex Hinojo gave one talk at Escola Pia and two talks on Wikipedia at Petit Plançó, both schools in Olot. He delivered another talk at FES (the Foundation for Higher Education) on shared knowledge through networks and cooperation, and open debate as basic and democratic mechanisms in conveying information and content to the public. Allan Cameron visited the Petit Plançó school in Olot to explain his work as an editor. Marina Espasa described her professional career as a cultural journalist, writer and literary critic at the IES Montsacopa secondary school in Olot. Àngels Bassas gave a talk on his professional experience and career at the Escola Pia school in Olot. And, finally, Lila Azam and Jakuta Alikavazovic, moderated by the writer Joan Lluís-Lluís, held a discussion about literature and creation at the Fages de Climent library in Figueres.

A month of residents in figures

Faber’s first residency period of the year saw the participation of 12 residents, and the execution of 13 activities, which reached a total audience of 350 people using four languages (Catalan, Spanish, English and French).

Who made this stay possible?

We cannot draw a line under this stay without acknowledging each and every one of the people that made it possible. On the one hand, the people behind each organisation, each school, each association, each facility… who have shown interest, either by requesting the participation of one of the residents or allowing us to hold an event on their premises. We would therefore like to thank Pilar Guix (Institut Abat Oliba school), Rosa Roca (IES Bosc de la Coma secondary school), Ita Asparó (Escola Pia), Teresa Aulí (Petit Plançó), Cristina Jutge and Nati Vilanova (Fages de Climent Library in Figueres), Joan-Lluís Lluís, Altell bookshop, Eva Martí (Banyoles library), Matthew Tree, Jaume Santaló and Glòria Granell (Municipal School of Humanities), Xavier Pla (University of Gerona), Salut Martí and Mia Tarradas (Official Language School of Olot), Miquel Cabal and Ricardo San Vicente (University of Barcelona), the staff in Dinàmig, FES and IMCO (Municipal Institute of Culture of Olot).

Moreover, the residents proved forever receptive and adapted as much as possible to the activities we proposed, which is no easy feat considering that they came to throw themselves into their work. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the 350 people that took part in the activities we organised; without them, the activities would be meaningless.

Last but not least, we would like to thank Olot City Council and the Government of Catalonia’s Ministry of Culture for lending their support to this project.

What’s in store now?

Now that this first residency period of the year has come to an end, we just have to continue working to host a group of nine mathematicians from all over the world in two weeks’ time.