My project explored the queer ethics of fun and play among leftist queer youth in Sofia, Bulgaria. As a piece of ethnographic research, it made use of interviews and observational data. The final product – my bachelor thesis - gives insight into the curious ways in which politics, ethics and fun are co-constructive in this community.
My physical engagement with the community was restricted by the on-going Covid-19 crisis, but I was able to engage with people online. My project was community-based in that, rather than simply interpreting the data on my own, I relied on stakeholders for feedback on what I was writing. Their thoughts kept me grounded in (their) reality and were instrumental in shaping the final product. The final product contributes to the community by giving attention to their existence, and building up the library of research on local queer communities. The project doesn’t so much address a problem in the community, but it makes the community central by considering what matters to its members.
The community engagement aspect was highly rewarding and gave purpose to my work
Doing this project pushed me into the depths of conducting qualitative academic research, which equipped me with priceless tools and skills for doing future research. It felt like the pinnacle of my academic endeavors. The community engagement aspect was highly rewarding and gave purpose to my work. Even if your studies prepare you for doing this kind of work, getting the opportunity to do it opens a whole new world outside of the gates of the university and brings you into the world that surrounds it. We’re so focused on just doing our assignments and getting a grade on them that we forget what is meaningful about the work, especially to people not in our immediate academic surroundings.