(Image is speaker's own created in homage to Tammy Rae Carland's Lesbian Beds (2002) series

Feel Tank as Method: Overworked and Underfunded

'Queer, feministisch, dekolonial: Intersektionale Impulse in de Geistewissenschaften' Postgraduate Public Series

Institute of Theatre, Film and Media | Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

27 November 2021


‘Feel Tanks’ (a spin of ‘think tank’) derive their name from one cell of a larger group known as the Public Feelings Project which operated from the conviction that ‘understanding affective investment can be the a starting point for theoretical insight into the workings of capitalism, racism and sexism within power structures.’ (Cvetkovich, 2012)

Through over a fifteen workshops, seminars and lectures in the UK and internationally, Chloe Turner has been using ‘Feel Tanks’ as both intellectual enquiry and call-to-arms, to consider how to sustain living under capitalism in the current moment. 

In the continuing struggles against global anti-Black, queer/transphobic conservative governance, pandemic "new normal“ living and the stripping of arts and humanities funding, nurturing spaces of care and connection have never felt more pressing. How do we bring into being the feminist space we want to be a part of? A space where we gift our labour to each other as opposed to institutions, co-create the
spaces to weather the coming disasters and mobilise a resistance that centres pleasure and joy.


Feel Tanks as Method: Overworked and Underfunded

2-hour led seminar centring on Feel Tanks as methodological practice. Initial opening points as follows:

# What does we mean when we refer to a Feel Tank?

# Centring Black, Trans and Deaf and/or disabled histories and activism explore what the core values of these spaces are and how to exist within them (e.g. care, vulnerability, community, accountability, aims of 'success')

# Identifying both what types of knowledges should be counted within this space and the different ways of participating are available and accessible within a feel tank - how does this change when implemented within a virtual space?

# How can we hold space for both the importance of discussion of 'sticky' feelings (e.g. exhaustion, being stuck, jealousy) between the power relationship of students to the institution and how these 'bad feelings' have comp​lex psychosocial histories that intersect with neoliberal academic spaces and how such cultures are mobilised, amplified and channelled along classed, raced and sexed dimensions.  

# With consideration to The Undercommons by Stefano Harvey and Fred Moten and their discussions of 'Debt and Credit' https://www.e-flux.com/journal/14/61305/debt-and-study/ what is the position of the overworked and underfunded student in a system who's knowledges are degraded, unsupported, rejected and unpublished?

# In relation to the resurgence of 'defund the police' demands and scholarship on carceral technologies how can we reckon with academia as a branch a carceral continuum, and use Feel Tanks to actively unlock these relationship of freedom and restraint, and manifest this 'elsewhere' academic space we dream of when we say 'lets burn it down.'