Monika Kropej, you are employed at Unesco chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning (at Institute “Jožef Štefan”, Ljubljana). Do you meet homosexual researchers and scientists at your work, especially lesbians and bisexual women, if yes, in which way?
Our project on open education resources is one of our first projects that directly focuses on marginal groups among which we collaborate with the LGBT-community and therefore LGBT-researches. Apart from that, our previous (research) work was mainly oriented towards dissemination and organization on topics, where we did not focus on the social perspective- (e.g. artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensors etc. and the dissemination activities, workshops/conference organizations). And of course, in these research fields the LGBT-researches were also involved. They are regularly included in the research activities as colleagues, co-workers as all other project participants. I haven't noticed any specific issues regarding their sexual orientation.
Do you think that sexual orientation and/or sexual identity has any influence on educational, scientific-research work?
I believe that within my field of work the sexual orientation or gender identity of my colleagues or co-workers does not play a role. However, I can only report for the work, where I am directly involved and I cannot with certainty state that the same holds true for every field of research. To my knowledge, I have not witnessed any discrimination or systemic inequalities within my research community.
Have Unesco chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning had any project that dealt with LGBT-people, if yes, how lesbians have been involved – how are your work experiences with them, how they have contributed to the project?
As already mentioned so far our work on open education resources is first project where we collaborate with this community. I can only compliment on their work so far, they are dedicated, very open to new ideas and collaborative.
Your diploma and Ph.D. deals with the meaning and influence of graphiti and symbols on politics, national identity, music and also feminism and LGBT-issues. Can you tell us more about that with emphasis on women and lesbians?
Within my primary research field, cultural studies, I have come across many feminist and LGBT-graffiti and street art. I have noticed that this community is very active in these fields, which I see as very encouraging. What I discovered, is the graffiti and street art or guerrilla actions are very innovative and subversive. I also study graffiti and the so-called graffiti wars and I can say that in Slovenia there have been many humorous and politically subversive actions. My work is closely connected to libertarian/autonomous activism and, therefore, with various feminist as well as LGBT-groups. I am a feminist myself and fully support the actions they are involved in., Nowadays, when the world is faced with fascism that is invading our everyday life in a very subtle way I believe the struggle for equality is again of great importance. There is a need for all to actively participate in the struggle for a more inclusive and equal community and such groups are an important contribution to the fight for a better world. Or to conclude with Emma Goldman's quote: »Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open.«
What are your plans for the future – include among others working with LB-researchers and scientists? Would you be interested in such work and if yes, why?
I am open to collaborate with LGBT-researchers, however I believe the sexual orientation does not define the researchers or their work.