Swiss LGBTQIA+ Research Network

The Swiss LGBTQIA+ Research Network is a research Network for collaborating, sharing and disseminating Swiss research on LGBTQIA+ subjectivities and communities. This independent Network consists of researchers (both institutionally affiliated and non-affiliated) working on LGBTQIA+ issues in Switzerland. From the beginning, the Network has focused on building and consolidating bridges between the different linguistic regions of Switzerland. The idea of the Network, launched by Ad Ott and Patrick Weber, led to a first meeting, online, in April 2020, gathering about ten people. The Network has grown rapidly and now includes about sixty researchers from different Swiss cantons. Our Network creates a space for sharing and (de)constructing common reflections and collaborations, as well as for mapping ongoing research.

The first objective of the Network is, therefore, to create a space for interdisciplinary sharing and collaboration that deals with LGBTQIA+ issues in Switzerland (French, German, Italian, and Romansh speaking). The Network includes a plurality of disciplines from the social sciences and humanities (Arts and Letters, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, Political Sciences, Law, Education Sciences, Applied Sciences, History, etc.), working with qualitative and/or quantitative methods. This variety allows us to reflect on LGBTQIA+ research issues in a complex and complementary way, while seeking to build new collaborations between researchers and with LGBTQIA+ organisations.

The second objective is to map ongoing research in Switzerland, in order to gain knowledge of the issues developing within research and applied science institutions. This knowledge is vital for highlighting emerging issues, topics and approaches of LGBTQIA+ research in Switzerland. Mapping research is also a way to identify possible collaborations between researchers by overcoming the “Röstigraben division”.

The third objective is to build collaborative relationships between us as researchers in LGBTQIA+ studies. Collaboration in research and scientific activities (publications, conferences, organisation of scientific events) is necessary to survive within the highly neoliberal, individualising and still very hetero-cis-endo-centric academic environment. Collaboration allows important advances for our respective research and helps the Network to strengthen common reflections and identify “best practices” in our fields. These collaborative relationships help to bring the different linguistic regions of Switzerland into contact.

The fourth objective is to initiate common reflections through thematic work axes. These axes allow for in-depth discussions on themes (such as intersectionality, queer, mixed methodologies, etc.) that allow for the sharing of contributions, doubts, uncertainties and experiences. These joint reflections give the Network its stamp and renew its points of view.

To face the increasing individualisation and isolation towards which research pushes us, to resist (even temporarily) the competitiveness that institutions encourage, a form of invisibilisation of research subjects with an LGBTQIA+ perspective, the Swiss LGBTQIA+ research Network therefore proposes a collective echo. In a friendly and benevolent atmosphere, we think together about the future of LGBTQIA+ research in an interdisciplinary way.

This is possible thanks to the two annual meetings that the Network organises. These meetings are trustworthy spaces of cooperation and confrontation that the Network gives itself to a) organise the Network; b) propose scientific events (publications, conferences, panels) coordinated by the Network; c) exchange and present our current research; d) advance on common themes of the Network. These moments are particularly important and unifying for us, as they allow us to meet and move forward together. The meetings are organised each year by a small volunteer working group that changes from year to year, with the aim of ensuring that the organisational workload of the Network does not always fall on the same people, as well as to avoid stable power positions and problematic dynamics.

The two meetings take place in spring and autumn. The spring meeting is organised online, by video conference. The autumn meeting is face-to-face, and moves from year to year depending on the organising team.