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Workshop: 2017 Experiments in Exhibition, "Folk Art and Activism"

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 1:00--4:00 pm
Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place

Sponsored by the Folklore and Museums Section

Suzanne Seriff (University of Texas, Austin) and Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art), leaders

The fourth annual Experiments in Exhibition workshop, in partnership with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, spotlights some of the many traditional arts-and-activism resources of the Twin Cities to ask how folklorists can be better allies for their community partners to mobilize for action around pressing issues of conscience in our world. How can we work in solidarity with those fighting workplace injustice, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other violences in our midst to move beyond documentation and presentation in our exhibition and public program development? What resources can we draw on as museum professionals, educators and public sector folklorists to nimbly mobilize action, dialogue, and engagement in challenging times both within and across communities? What does it mean to be an ally, and how can our skills as folklorists be brought in service to a new kind of responsible and engaged community activism?

The Walker Art Center will host a hands-on resource-sharing and mobilizing workshop for folklorists and invited community members interested in developing concrete skills for building creative and effective  partnerships and collaborations to confront issues of oppression in our communities; developing mechanisms for mobilizing with artists and organizations; diffusing cultural tensions and “othering” that drive xenophobic, homophobic, and racist acts; shifting cultural narratives; and being allies for change. The workshop will include leaders, artists and activists from a number of organizations in and around the Twin Cities who will share their stories of using traditional storytelling, quilt-making, foodways rituals, poetry slams, and other forms of traditional culture in their successful interventions around social justice issues in their midst. They will also facilitate small group sessions on successful mobilizing strategies for folklore and community allies. Potential participants range from Black Lives Matter community art makers to major art museum digital and physical community hosts, to neighborhood library and resource sharing initiatives, to Native American activist artists grappling with issues of sexual violence through traditional quilt making and other public community projects.

The Walker Art Center is about a mile from the Marriott City Center; transportation is not provided.

Image: The women's march in Santa Fe, January 2017. Photo by: Chloe Accardi

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