My name is Zarena. I grew up in the Kyrgyz Republic, yet spent half of my life studying and working abroad. Currently, I am a Research Assistant for the project Creating Culturally Appropriate Research Ethics in Central Asia (CARE) at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. I am also a Mad activist and an interdisciplinary human rights researcher. I like to consider my research activities going beyond academia to encompass and make an effect on broader socio-political structures. For my MSc degree, for example, I researched the lived experiences of people with mental health issues. In the dissertation, one of the arguments that I make is that people who are deemed “mad” by professional experts possess significant and equally legitimate and valid knowledges for addressing their mental health problems. These topics, such as Mad Studies, intersectionality, and epistemic (in)justice, have formed my ways of being, knowing, and learning within research, activism, and voluntary sectors.
In addition, I am an amateur poet :-). I have dozens of verses written in different languages - Kyrgyz, Russian, English, including some digital/programming symbols. Sometimes, I experiment with the languages by mixing them into a bowl of moving words :-). I call this method translanguaging, and I really love the sense of freedom that poetry gives me unlike my social science research projects where I should follow strict procedures. That said, these two aspects of my life somehow complement and nourish each other.
Although I believe that life would not progress without frictions, when it comes to science and research, I feel, ‘frictions' - manifested in a form of paywalls, bureaucratic and corporate management, or other structural barriers - should be deconstructed. So, I am joining the Frictionless Data Fellowship Programme with the purpose to learn more about open and FAIR research. I believe that the Fellowship will help me to reconfigure existing research e/valuation systems and to create a more equal, just, and epistemically pluriversal research practices and products. I really look forward to co-create frictionless frictions that would lead to new socio-cultural and political arrangements where research data would be open, accessible, and reproducible.