Fabian Holle graduated as an actor/theater maker from HKU (Utrecht School of the Arts) in 2004, worked with directors, choreographers and performance artists, co-founded the theater collective Ponies (2005-2015) and performs as drag persona Massiah Carey. In 2020, they completed (cum laude) a Master of Science in Sociology at VU University Amsterdam. Fabian won the 2020 ARC-GS MA Thesis Prize (Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality at the University of Amsterdam).
In his thesis, it analyzes how LHTBQ+ refugees resist the exclusionary social structures they face, including through artistic expression. Fabian is currently working as a teaching assistant for the master’s program in sociology at the VU, and as a University Research Fellow with Prof. Dr. Halleh Ghorashi in the VICI research project: Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change.
‘My goal is to increasingly connect with (LGBTQ+) refugee and migrant communities at home and abroad, to exchange knowledge and experiences that contribute to greater equality, inclusion, visibility and agency.’
What is your scientific background and expertise?
Having obtained my Master’s degree in Sociology (cum laude), I am currently a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department of the Faculty of Social Sciences at VU University Amsterdam. However, my professional background is in the performing arts and theater. I graduated as an actor in 2004 and have worked as a freelance performer and playwright with various directors, choreographers and theater collectives. I have also engaged in community organizing and activism within the Rotterdam queer community, and I have moderated many conversations with groups of young students on LGBTQIA+ issues in vocational education. I would say that my expertise lies somewhere between arts practices, social sciences and LGBTQIA+ issues.
What role do you have within the Refugee Academy and what keeps you busy in this role?
Currently, representing the Refugee Academy and a PhD researcher in the NWO VICI project Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change, I am co-facilitator of LIMBO queer exilic narratives together with Noa Bawits (Framer Framed Amsterdam), Alaa Ammar and Sajad Salmanpour and other queer people with refugee experiences. LIMBO is a creative co-creation project that consists of 1) weekly creative workshops given by queer refugee artists/organizers for queer refugees, 2) creative (academic) events with combinations of art, dance, performance, music and/or social science, 3) and written outputs such as (co-authored) (academic) articles.
What do you think is most important about/central to Refugee Academy, and why?
Refugee Academy is important because it brings together different types of knowledge; that is, the lived experience of people from refugee backgrounds, a range of institutional knowledge, and academic knowledge with a specific critical focus on power issues within research collaborations. The Refugee Academy enables mutual learning for all parties involved, which to me is most important and inspiring. The pursuit of co-production of knowledge in non-hierarchical ways that benefit all involved.
What is your personal ambition within Refugee Academy and how would you like to connect this to your work and/or life outside Refugee Academy?
My personal ambition is to follow closely the needs of different people in the different contexts I work with, to see where connections can be made and fruitful mutual learning experiences further enabled or facilitated. I try to listen to the needs of the staff in the LIMBO project and continue our shared journey in which we strive for enriching experiences at the individual level and transformative potential at the individual and institutional levels. Personally, I embrace my own intermediate position, navigating between art, social science and community organizing, and collectively pursue my own learning with all these rich influences.
Refugee Academy- related projects :
– Engaged Scholarship and Narratives of Change