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5 questions with... an IATL Co-Creation Officer

Gervaise is a final year Law student and a Co-Creation Officer at the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL). They are a writer, community builder, artist and cultural worker.

Congratulations on being selected as a Co-Creation Officer for IATL. Can you tell us a little bit about what you and your fellow Officers will be getting up to?

Gervaise Thank you! I’m ecstatic to be joining so many incredibly warm and insightful minds in the IATL Department! Co-Creation as a philosophy is an everchanging practice, but essentially bases itself on dismantling the traditional hierarchical structure found in Higher Education. I'm working with fellow Officers Sara, Wiki and Marco. Our work develops ways we can involve students and educators on an even and level working field in order to produce new forms of pedagogy, research, and various projects. Our work is driven by a conceptualisation of radical love – cogitating that we all come from different walks of life, with countless experiences and ranging expertise, but we can produce (even more) meaningful and genuine work when we pool these multiplicities together.

How are you bringing student voice into your work?

As Co-Creation Officers, we always find ourselves returning to this aspect: the student voice. Yet, so often, we fail to recognise that the ‘student voice’ is not one singular voice. With that in mind, I approach the space(s) I am involved in (research, reimagining pedagogy, project support) with an ethos of recognising that not all students have the same opportunities readily available to them, let alone the opportunity to voice their aspirations or their needs. During my time with IATL (and I think I speak for my fellow Officers too!), we hope to continue building community based on a culture of care and committed love: we want our fellow students to readily share their ideas, to collaborate, to enact research, to work alongside our educators, to discover and learn more about themselves. Instead of the student voice, we want a choir!

How did you get involved/get interested in the work of IATL?

I was introduced to the work of IATL originally through a previous Co-Creation Officer, friend, and fellow artist: Lanaire Aderemi FRSA. Lanaire engaged with IATL to put on an incredible production at the Warwick Arts Centre. Following from this, I was able to work alongside members of the IATL community this summer through my engagement in a WIHEA Learning Circle. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by educators who extended grace, especially through an ongoing pandemic. IATL continues to be a community founded on a culture of compassion and genuine learning.

Can you recommend a particular IATL module which you've studied?

Applied Imagination: Theory and Practice convened by Naomi de la Tour is an incredibly insightful consideration of the possibilities of the imagination. So often, our imagination is restricted by various aspects and frameworks in our lives, and Naomi does a wonderful job in sharing knowledge about how we can take agency over our imaginations once again (and hopefully imagine more for the future)! I encourage all students to take a look at the many IATL modules there are to choose from.

Have you done any research as an undergraduate student?

Yes! I had the opportunity to undertake a URSS research project this summer, exploring cultural/national identity in Cyprus, situating it directly within Europe’s own identity crisis. As a finalist, I’m also undertaking a dissertation. My research will look to formulate a topology: mapping transnational solidarity enacted by various liberation movements and moments around the world. I’m particularly excited because it pools my most important lesson to date: the personal is political. Take a look to see how IATL can support your research.

Five cheeky bonus questions

Where’s your favourite local place to eat?

Beba’s Modern Greek restaurant in Leamington Spa is my guilty pleasure at the moment. Their vegan loaded fries are delectable.

What’s your favourite animal?

I’m a cat person – through thick and thin.

Where do you like to study on campus?

It depends on my mood, really! If I’m wanting to be productive, the 3rd floor of the Library is my go-to. Otherwise, I love the studious buzz of the Law Hub and the Rootes Learning Grid.

What would you take to a desert island?

Probably a terrible thing to take but: dried mangoes (my favourite snack)!

What do you do to relax/what’s your top self-care tip?

Take time for you. Enacting intentional rest is often such a difficulty, but so incredibly important. Rest should not have to be something we ‘earn’ – it is simply demanded from the body, so listen to it!

To learn more about the work of IATL and how to get involved with projects, apply for funding or take your learning further through modules offered by the department, take a look through the IATL website.
You can also find out what the team is getting up to on Instagram.