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In Fall 2016, graduate students in Geography and Urban Studies came together to create the Place + Space Collective. The Collective is a space for members to reflect on our geographies, engage each other and our departments, and present and publish as a collective. The Collective leads with solidarity for each other and works within a non-hierarchical model of consensus, friendship, empathy, and care. Collective members are able to rely on each other to navigate interdisciplinary challenges working across campuses and communities. By committing to the collective model, members have the opportunity to navigate competitive neoliberal policies and experiences in academia. We believe that forming collectives and working in solidarity across disciplines, intellectual ideas and diverse backgrounds can build important groundwork for emerging academics. We hope to inspire other graduate students to form their own solidarity collectives to enhance their graduate school experience and academic careers.

The members of the Place + Space Collective are: Katie Gravestock, Kate Elliott, Diandra Oliver, Samantha Thompson, Natalia Perez, Steve Tornes, Alex Thumm, John Pickering, Trevor Wideman.

The work of the collective takes place on the unceded, ancestral territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We recognize the many ways that Indigenous resistance and dedication to the land has deeply informed our own activism, both within and outside the academy.

In 2017, the Collective organized a solidarity drive for the land defenders at Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) on unceded Tsimshian territories in Northwest B.C., presented about processes for forming collectives at the UBC Graduate Student Council of Sociology’s 10th Annual Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference and at the Critical Geographies Mini-Conference at UNBC, organized a training day for geography teaching assistants, raised funds for a progressive candidate in Vancouver’s by-election, initiated an ongoing co-writing process, and organized an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional conference for those interested in forming academic solidarity collectives to resist neoliberalism in universities.

The Collective has one work meeting and one social event per month. Social events are open to those who are interested in learning more about the Collective and the work that we do. Connect with the Collective via email at placeandspacecollective@gmail.com or via Twitter @_pscollective.