Research Institute on Turkey is a grassroots research cooperative based in New York City.
We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers, artists, writers, architects, scientists and activists who explore and engage in commonization practices for social change.
Our goal is to contribute to a pluralistic, egalitarian, and democratic Turkey with an emphasis on social and economic justice, gender equality, sexual rights, cultural and political recognition and ecologic sustainability from a critical historical perspective.
We develop in-situ embodied knowledge through in-depth, focused research and policy analysis, creative public engagement, collective learning activities and network collaborations.
Our current research areas
Urban Justice and Right to the City
Labor & Finance
Facilitating interdisciplinary research through collaborative networks;
Developing practices of creative public engagement including data visualization projects, media campaigns, recording of collective memory in archives,
Organizing lectures, workshops, exhibitions, conferences and summer schools as part of the RIT University of the Commons.
The Gezi Uprising, a pivotal moment in the history of Turkey, is where it all started. We gathered in Zuccotti Park in NYC in support of our friends in Turkey who were occupying a small park in Istanbul. We started to organize in NYC during the early days of the Uprising in Turkey to voice the demands of the movement.
Meetings turned into forums that paved the way to Gezi Platform NYC – a non-partisan institution that housed important events such as the Talk Turkey Conference, twenty-two Gezi NYC Forums, art events, workshops and panels, commemorations and flashmobs. Individuals that have come together through Gezi Platform NYC have formed groups such as the GEZIniyoruz Network, an international network of Gezi Forums and Platforms across the US, Canada, Europe and Turkey.
The post-Gezi process has reaffirmed that social transformations can only be an outcome of a sustained and an effective collective struggle. This requires novel institutional structures that enable focused, and creative public engagement, coalescing individual energy and expertise.
A new model: a cooperative research institute
An ongoing collective learning process
Open and egalitarian participation of members in decision-making
An alternative to corporate think-tank models
A productive model of brewing ideas and action through solidarity
A hub for creativity and of thinking outside the box
A collective body of work that culminates impactful tools for social transformation and change
Authoritarian neoliberal policies are increasingly shaping contemporary research activities in Turkey and beyond. Political and financial pressures on researchers prevent them from addressing urgent topics and themes. Notable voices are sidelined by a lack of funding, and research projects are increasingly realized in a particularly conservative tone, lacking imagination.
We believe that salient radical research activity is necessary for informed critical decision making processes, public engagement and educational activities. We therefore initiated an alternative network of non-traditional, multidisciplinary collaborative research processes, RIT.
Addressing urgent topics which are not adequately studied
Using interdisciplinary methods and approaches beyond traditional disciplinary academic boundaries
Forming new working groups and initiate cross institutional working groups, and promoting collective action.
Creatively and systematically engaging with civil society
By opening up a new intellectual space, we aim to assemble collective energy and capacity and provide resources for researchers and practitioners.
Our specific contributions
Collectivizing research efforts
Building and strengthening research communities
Making research more easily communicable
Connecting researchers with broader communities of interest
In order to increase the effectiveness of social activism it is necessary to imagine new forms of public engagement that mobilize society, enable collective forms of action and have a transformative impact on our lives and our environment.
We aim to develop and support practices of commonization in different realms of life, especially:
A key starting point of our commonization efforts is the establishment of RIT University of the Commons, which aims to break the learning process free of the increasing limitations of academic institutions. We hope to provide a space of collective and critical inquiry, learning and teaching that is more responsive to social problems and struggles that emerge from them.