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Heartwarming Meeting of October 30, 2022

On October 30, 2022, SMRN had another warm meeting with a group of members, including Juan Castrillón, Niusha Hatefinia, Nezih Erdoğan, Laura Marks, Pantea Karimi, Lynn Marie Kirby, Nina Czegledy, Farshid Kazemi, Carol Bier, Gareth Davies, Cigdem Borucu, Steven Baris, and Kalpana Subramanian.

The meeting centered on a thorough examination of the influence of "A Light Footprint in the Cosmos" festival on participants' approaches to cross-disciplinary considerations, issues, and artistic expressions within the SMRN community. Members engaged in a rich dialogue, reflecting on how the festival had potentially altered, enforced, or diminished their creative and scholarly practices. The hybrid nature of the festival, which accommodated both in-person and virtual participation, allowed members to feel a strong sense of co-presence despite geographical distances and visa-related limitations. This convergence of diverse perspectives and talents was seen as a powerful counterpoint to the prevailing global divisions, demonstrating the potential for unity and collaboration across borders.

Participants conveyed a profound sense of support and community within the SMRN network, highlighting the unique platform it offers for scholars and artists engaged in cross-cultural research and creative endeavors. The festival's interdisciplinary panels, exhibitions, and performances showcased the wide-ranging expertise within the group, fostering an environment of mutual learning and inspiration. The collaborative and feedback-rich nature of SMRN was exemplified during the festival, as members enthusiastically engaged with each other's work, provided constructive feedback, and explored new avenues of collaboration. This collective reflection and exchange of ideas were deemed instrumental in enhancing participants' research and artistic practices, reinforcing SMRN's role as a vital and nurturing space for intercultural exploration and creative expression.

In the closing moments of their lively conversation, participants delved into the topic of cultural appropriation, a discussion that had left them somewhat disheartened and necessitated the defense of their perspectives. They reflected on the challenges inherent in cross-cultural research, where a significant portion of their time was often allocated to explaining their backgrounds and research focus, potentially diverting attention away from the core content.