Queer Collaborations (QC) is the biggest queer student conference in the Southern Hemisphere. The conference spans over either 5 or 7 jam packed days and is hosted by a different university each year. The conference is a unique opportunity to engage with political thought on a different level than most students have the chance to. While the conference is largely based around education of queer issues, it’s impossible to say we don’t manage to squeeze some fun in. With social events every night QC is a great chance for networking and meeting a bunch of rad queer friends from all over the country. With past workshops ranging from ‘Civil Disobedience & Direct Action’ to ‘Quick Tips for Fisting’ there is truly something for everyone with all of your social, sexual and political content covered.
It’s been in the works for a while and finally it’s happening: Monash is hosting Queer Collaborations for the first time! Monash has never hosted QC despite sending large groups of delegates each year and us having the largest representation in 2013 of 27 delegates. To say this is a long time coming is an understatement.
Queer Collaborations is a great chance for people to engage with queer theory in an immersive environment which allows for more critical thinking and often eye opening experiences for many delegates. Through just sending delegates each year we have seen a ripple down effect within the department. Sending delegates is like skipping pebbles and sometimes we are amazed at how far those pebbles reach.
When our students come back from the conference they often have a new found energy and passion for queer theory and fighting against discrimination. We see activist ideals being passed from delegates to their friends within the department and outside of it.
We have found that attending QC is the most effective way for us to reenergise our department and collective members. It also leads to greater understanding of intersectional issues and more complex political thought. While 101 workshops are great and crucial to educating our community it’s important that we reach beyond that. Spreading awareness and providing a springboard for people’s own learning is a vital action of our department. However we must create pathways for our members to take it a couple of steps further. 101 workshops can only go so far in deconstructing hegemonies and prejudices and this is where more complex issues need to be given the space and time they deserve to be discussed.
Now I will admit that I am incredibly biased but the MSA Queer Department has always been the best when it comes to engagement. We have an enthusiastic, politically switched on and sizeable collective. We have no trouble getting volunteers to rock out to our events and help give back to our community. QC is just another chance for us to show Australia how great we are and all the great things we have to offer. Through hosting QC, Monash will be playing its part in supporting the queer fight against discrimination and especially under an Abbott government hosting QC sends a strong message that queer voices will not be ignored and that we have support from the wider community.
With QC in Melbourne and so close to home this year we are looking forward to a great turnout of not only Monash queer students but Victorian queer students in general. Closer to the date we will collect expressions of interest through a signup sheet in the Queer lounge and via email. If you want to learn more about QC there will be an information session later in the semester so keep your ear to the ground. The MSA subsidises registration to minimise costs and allow as many Monash queer students to attend as possible.
The conference is being organised by the Queer Collaborations Organising Committee and while we have our work cut out for us (organising a nation-wide conference is no joking matter) we have a dedicated bunch of people toiling away to get the job done. If you would like to get involved swing by the Queer Office (down the corridor to the right of the MSA desk in Campus Centre) or come to the next organising committee meeting. Dates and times for meetings will be released through our Twitter or ask one of the Queer Officers to add you to the Facebook group.
The Queer Department is always open to queer and questioning students. Come visit our lounge for Queer Morning Tea at 11-1pm Thursdays to break the ice (or any other time!) across from Wholefoods in the Campus Centre. The Queer Officers this year are myself and Freddie Wright and our office door is always open if you need advice or are just up for a chat. Like us at MSA Queer on Facebook to keep up and follow our twitter @MSAQueer to find out about all the other amazing events, get-togethers and workshops planned for this semester.