Fellowship

Fellow 2020

Colored Qollective during Mama Cash Feminist Festival at BAK on 8 March 2020, photo by Gabrielle Kroon

Colored Qollective

Colored Qollective is an organization that was founded in 2018 and focuses on the position and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people of color in society. Everything Colored Qollective does is from a perspective of positionality and intersectionality, which means taking into account how different identities cross each other in every area, for instance: gender, sexual preference, race/ethnicity, class, financial poverty, cultural background, religion/faith, age, migration status, performing sex work, people with an invisible and/or visible disability, and mental and physical health. The collective consists of a core team of ten LGBTQIA+ people of color who organize monthly, private “safe(r) space meetings” in which only people within the community can join. In addition, Colored Qollective offers resource advocacy, trainings, and workshops; participates in conferences and symposia; and organizes various projects. The Colored Qollective is based in Utrecht

Website: www.coloredqollective.org

Shakila Ayubi, Team Member and Core Fellowship Liaison
Shakila Ayubi identifies as non-binary, femme, pansexual, queer and Muslim. They finished their bachelors study at Utrecht University, Utrecht, in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, majoring in Migration, Ethnic Relations, and Multiculturalism, with a specific focus on political conflict, gender, and postcolonial studies. They became part of the Colored Qollective in June 2019 and serve as the primary liaison within the BAK Fellowship. Ayubi lives and works in Amersfoort and Utrecht. As Ayubi says:

“The first time I heard of CQ was when they organized a symposium in April 2019. At the time, I just started writing my thesis and I was very much interested in safe(r) spaces. I had many questions like: What makes a safe space ‘safe’? Can there be spaces that are completely ‘safe’? How do people create safe(r) spaces, and are there any hardships in space-making practices within institutionalized power systems? I decided to have a look and went to the group meetings. During the meetings I have met many wonderful people with similar experiences. I had found a community that I had missed out on in my life. A space where I can be fully myself and talk about the things that really matter.”

Kalib Batta, Team Member
Kalib Batta is an agender, demisexual, panromantic, queer, bicultural, Caribbean person who is currently writing a novel. Batta is re-joining Colored Qollective and likes to work from an intersectional perspective, asserting the position of marginalized groups within established, institutionalized power systems.

Anysha Bharos, Counselor and Team Member
Anysha Bharos, a queer polyamorous person of color, is a newer member of the Colored Qollective. Bharos is a counselor who provides support to LGBTQIA+ people of color in the province of Utrecht. As Bharos says:

“I have always been committed to the community and will continue to do so because we are family. I am a person who does not have a lot of family, but I have found my home in the queer community. It is important that we are heard and listened to. That’s what I’m here for.”

Layla Chabhar, Chairperson
Since January 2020 Layla Chabhar is not only a team member, but Chairperson of the board of Colored Qollective. They are Lebanese and they identify as bi/pansexual and queer. In their daily life, they study linguistics at Leiden University, Leiden. As Chabhar says:

“I have come into contact with this collective since the beginning of CQ, at the time as a visitor. There I found a place where I finally saw people who were just like me and where I didn’t have to hide part of who I am. I feel particularly unsafe in white queer spaces, regardless of their good intentions if there are any. In queer POC spaces, including CQ, I can be completely myself. Despite challenges like my battle with chronic physical and mental health issues, I feel accepted and embraced by the queer POC community. I am aware that mental health problems, loneliness, and exclusion are common among people in this community, and I personally have experience with them. Because I was able to find my own strength thanks to CQ, I would like to commit myself to my community and pass on a feeling of love, recognition, and safety. I also think it is very important that everyone is able to be their most authentic self, and that the conditions (safety, etc.) to be able to do that are fulfilled.”

Fayaaz Joemmanbaks, Treasurer
Fayaaz Joemmanbaks is Treasurer of the board of Colored Qollective. Born in Paramaribo, they identify as a queer Muslim. From their own experience, they like to dedicate themself to other LGBTQIA+ people of color. As Joemmanbaks says:

“Because I have a broad vision, I actually believe in a world in which we can respect each other’s differences. Colored Qollective is an important step for me to achieve this.”

Jase Kruissink, Team Member
Jase Kruissink is a nonbinary trans woman and a lesbian. They are currently working on independently producing music and software, and study music theory. Their main task within Colored Qollective is IT upkeep, which boils down to keeping the website up to date and helping with any other technical questions. In the past, they have helped organize safe space meetings and events, and were present on CQ’s 2019 bicultural Pride boat. As they say:

“CQ has taught me a lot about organizing and the Dutch LGBT landscape and the BIPOC LGBT community, and helped me become the person I am today!”

Imran Khan Marwat, Board Member
Imran Khan Marwat studies medicine and is active as a board member of Colored Qollective, which he co-founded in 2018. His hobbies include being social, gaming, watching series/movies, anime, playing guitar, and learning Spanish. As he says:

“Colored Qollective is a grass roots initiative that was founded 2 years ago by a group of six who felt the need to come together and build up a space for queer people of color. We were striving to set up safer spaces where queer people of color (POC) can meet each other but mostly find recognition and acknowledgement of themselves in others. In this way, the loneliness many of us experience in the community can be minimized and people are given the opportunity to start empowering themselves. The core purpose of our NGO is creating safer spaces for queer POC, however, in addition we also conduct other projects to further work towards a more inclusive society, such as sailing with a Pride boat or organizing a national symposia.”

Lucien Sanchez, Secretary
Lucien Sanchez is Secretary of the board of the Colored Qollective. She identifies as queer and Dutch/Mexican. She studies Medicine at UMC, Utrecht. As she says:

‘’I am active in Colored Qollective, first of all because of a need to form part of a bi-cultural queer community, sharing our experiences and finding power in each other. But I also believe that organizing based on our common identity and experiences is necessary to be able to create the social change we need in society. I especially enjoy the group meetings, which can range from casual (creative) hangouts to intense emotional and political conversations.’’

Lorelie Tummers, Board Member
Lorelie Tummers identifies as an intersectional feminist and queer cis-woman of color. She has studied anthropology, focusing mostly on inequality and in particular institutional racism, and is also a singer-songwriter. As she says:

“Last summer [2019], Utrecht Canal Pride was the first time I visited an event like this. Previously I didn’t feel much affinity, but after delving into Pride’s history I decided to go anyway. Not because I suddenly felt part of a dominating group during these events, but because it felt important. I’m really glad that I went. It was here when I first got acquainted with Colored Qollective, a group of LGBTQIA+ people of color who together were unapologetically themselves. It was beautiful to see. I felt seen and represented. I therefore joined the foundation with great enthusiasm.”

Steph Yanlin Lee, Team Member
Stephanie Yanlin Lee (Steph) studies gender studies at Utrecht University, Utrecht and joined CQ hoping to bring feminist theories into practice. They identify as someone who is queer, feminist, and a person of color. They spend their everyday life with their dog Eva and cat Wally. As they say:

‘’Through such a series of intra-activities we are working amongst each other, somehow Eva and Wally have the magic power to obliterate the pain and sorrow of this intersectional predicament where I exist. Once I have them by my side, my abnormal identities are renormalized, let it be gender, race, sexuality, so on and so forth. Hence, I stand for a cyborg future where such a raceless, genderless, illegitimate, and absolutely monstrous space could be reality. Whether or not it is a hopeless hope, I keep hoping for the utopia.’’

Colored Qollective

Colored Qollective is an organization that was founded in 2018 and focuses on the position and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people of color in society. Everything Colored Qollective does is from a perspective of positionality and intersectionality, which means taking into account how different identities cross each other in every area, for instance: gender, sexual preference, race/ethnicity, class, financial poverty, cultural background, religion/faith, age, migration status, performing sex work, people with an invisible and/or visible disability, and mental and physical health. The collective consists of a core team of ten LGBTQIA+ people of color who organize monthly, private “safe(r) space meetings” in which only people within the community can join. In addition, Colored Qollective offers resource advocacy, trainings, and workshops; participates in conferences and symposia; and organizes various projects. The Colored Qollective is based in Utrecht

Website: www.coloredqollective.org

Shakila Ayubi, Team Member and Core Fellowship Liaison
Shakila Ayubi identifies as non-binary, femme, pansexual, queer and Muslim. They finished their bachelors study at Utrecht University, Utrecht, in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, majoring in Migration, Ethnic Relations, and Multiculturalism, with a specific focus on political conflict, gender, and postcolonial studies. They became part of the Colored Qollective in June 2019 and serve as the primary liaison within the BAK Fellowship. Ayubi lives and works in Amersfoort and Utrecht. As Ayubi says:

“The first time I heard of CQ was when they organized a symposium in April 2019. At the time, I just started writing my thesis and I was very much interested in safe(r) spaces. I had many questions like: What makes a safe space ‘safe’? Can there be spaces that are completely ‘safe’? How do people create safe(r) spaces, and are there any hardships in space-making practices within institutionalized power systems? I decided to have a look and went to the group meetings. During the meetings I have met many wonderful people with similar experiences. I had found a community that I had missed out on in my life. A space where I can be fully myself and talk about the things that really matter.”

Kalib Batta, Team Member
Kalib Batta is an agender, demisexual, panromantic, queer, bicultural, Caribbean person who is currently writing a novel. Batta is re-joining Colored Qollective and likes to work from an intersectional perspective, asserting the position of marginalized groups within established, institutionalized power systems.

Anysha Bharos, Counselor and Team Member
Anysha Bharos, a queer polyamorous person of color, is a newer member of the Colored Qollective. Bharos is a counselor who provides support to LGBTQIA+ people of color in the province of Utrecht. As Bharos says:

“I have always been committed to the community and will continue to do so because we are family. I am a person who does not have a lot of family, but I have found my home in the queer community. It is important that we are heard and listened to. That’s what I’m here for.”

Layla Chabhar, Chairperson
Since January 2020 Layla Chabhar is not only a team member, but Chairperson of the board of Colored Qollective. They are Lebanese and they identify as bi/pansexual and queer. In their daily life, they study linguistics at Leiden University, Leiden. As Chabhar says:

“I have come into contact with this collective since the beginning of CQ, at the time as a visitor. There I found a place where I finally saw people who were just like me and where I didn’t have to hide part of who I am. I feel particularly unsafe in white queer spaces, regardless of their good intentions if there are any. In queer POC spaces, including CQ, I can be completely myself. Despite challenges like my battle with chronic physical and mental health issues, I feel accepted and embraced by the queer POC community. I am aware that mental health problems, loneliness, and exclusion are common among people in this community, and I personally have experience with them. Because I was able to find my own strength thanks to CQ, I would like to commit myself to my community and pass on a feeling of love, recognition, and safety. I also think it is very important that everyone is able to be their most authentic self, and that the conditions (safety, etc.) to be able to do that are fulfilled.”

Fayaaz Joemmanbaks, Treasurer
Fayaaz Joemmanbaks is Treasurer of the board of Colored Qollective. Born in Paramaribo, they identify as a queer Muslim. From their own experience, they like to dedicate themself to other LGBTQIA+ people of color. As Joemmanbaks says:

“Because I have a broad vision, I actually believe in a world in which we can respect each other’s differences. Colored Qollective is an important step for me to achieve this.”

Jase Kruissink, Team Member
Jase Kruissink is a nonbinary trans woman and a lesbian. They are currently working on independently producing music and software, and study music theory. Their main task within Colored Qollective is IT upkeep, which boils down to keeping the website up to date and helping with any other technical questions. In the past, they have helped organize safe space meetings and events, and were present on CQ’s 2019 bicultural Pride boat. As they say:

“CQ has taught me a lot about organizing and the Dutch LGBT landscape and the BIPOC LGBT community, and helped me become the person I am today!”

Imran Khan Marwat, Board Member
Imran Khan Marwat studies medicine and is active as a board member of Colored Qollective, which he co-founded in 2018. His hobbies include being social, gaming, watching series/movies, anime, playing guitar, and learning Spanish. As he says:

“Colored Qollective is a grass roots initiative that was founded 2 years ago by a group of six who felt the need to come together and build up a space for queer people of color. We were striving to set up safer spaces where queer people of color (POC) can meet each other but mostly find recognition and acknowledgement of themselves in others. In this way, the loneliness many of us experience in the community can be minimized and people are given the opportunity to start empowering themselves. The core purpose of our NGO is creating safer spaces for queer POC, however, in addition we also conduct other projects to further work towards a more inclusive society, such as sailing with a Pride boat or organizing a national symposia.”

Lucien Sanchez, Secretary
Lucien Sanchez is Secretary of the board of the Colored Qollective. She identifies as queer and Dutch/Mexican. She studies Medicine at UMC, Utrecht. As she says:

‘’I am active in Colored Qollective, first of all because of a need to form part of a bi-cultural queer community, sharing our experiences and finding power in each other. But I also believe that organizing based on our common identity and experiences is necessary to be able to create the social change we need in society. I especially enjoy the group meetings, which can range from casual (creative) hangouts to intense emotional and political conversations.’’

Lorelie Tummers, Board Member
Lorelie Tummers identifies as an intersectional feminist and queer cis-woman of color. She has studied anthropology, focusing mostly on inequality and in particular institutional racism, and is also a singer-songwriter. As she says:

“Last summer [2019], Utrecht Canal Pride was the first time I visited an event like this. Previously I didn’t feel much affinity, but after delving into Pride’s history I decided to go anyway. Not because I suddenly felt part of a dominating group during these events, but because it felt important. I’m really glad that I went. It was here when I first got acquainted with Colored Qollective, a group of LGBTQIA+ people of color who together were unapologetically themselves. It was beautiful to see. I felt seen and represented. I therefore joined the foundation with great enthusiasm.”

Steph Yanlin Lee, Team Member
Stephanie Yanlin Lee (Steph) studies gender studies at Utrecht University, Utrecht and joined CQ hoping to bring feminist theories into practice. They identify as someone who is queer, feminist, and a person of color. They spend their everyday life with their dog Eva and cat Wally. As they say:

‘’Through such a series of intra-activities we are working amongst each other, somehow Eva and Wally have the magic power to obliterate the pain and sorrow of this intersectional predicament where I exist. Once I have them by my side, my abnormal identities are renormalized, let it be gender, race, sexuality, so on and so forth. Hence, I stand for a cyborg future where such a raceless, genderless, illegitimate, and absolutely monstrous space could be reality. Whether or not it is a hopeless hope, I keep hoping for the utopia.’’

Fellowship Research Trajectory

Nine Fellowships are awarded to practitioners engaged with local communities and struggles for developing a focus on long lasting, mutual support with and through BAK as a public art institution. Former BAK Fellow and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk joins this strand as BAK Associate to conceptually guide the research and work on forms of proximity and building connections.

Publications