Curating Social Justice: Three Case Studies
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
4:00pm - 5:30pm ET
This webinar presents three case studies which demonstrate the ways in which social justice issues are inspiring new forms of curatorial practice. With the intense focus over the past year on social justice--advocacy for equal rights and opportunity--there is increasing scrutiny on how U. S. cultural institutions are addressing (or not) recent events and more chronic issues. From #Blacklivesmatter to marriage equality, from immigration to education: how can curatorial practice productively navigate potential political flashpoints, avoid superficial gestures, and inspire deeper understanding? How might presentations of "timeless" art effectively address diverse communities' more immediate concerns simmering just below the surface? Could institutions become more proactive instead of reactive? Specifically: Rather than turning inward, can external community partnerships be a productive curatorial resource?
While social justice issues cross many demographics and contexts, this webinar focuses in on three case studies that address urban race and class disparities through initiatives that are at once innovative and relevant. Panelists are invited to discuss how their shared programs developed, not through proposals *for*, but through ongoing dialogue and collaborations *with* the communities that form their audiences. The moderated discussion will focus on: the participatory installation "reForm" by Temple Contemporary in collaboration with the Fairhill Elementary School community in Philadelphia; the shared exhibition program by Art+Practice with the Hammer Museum and RightWay Foundation in Leimert Park, Los Angeles; and the dialogues and acquisitions at the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, around the 14-venue exhibition "Hands Up, Don't Shoot: Artists Respond."
The aim is to show how partnering with community audiences becomes a form of primary research that can generate new forms of curatorial practice. Thoughtfully curated art and dialogue does open doors to social justice. Museum and arts professionals can effect change, not alone, but through strategic collaborations that balance community need with artistic insight.
Moderators and Panelists (listed alphabetically):
Melanie A. Adams, Managing Director for Community Education and Events, Missouri History Museum, Panelist
Dejáy B. Duckett, Associate Director & Associate Curator, Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Moderator
Robert Blackson, Director, Temple Contemporary, Temple University, Panelist
Jamillah James, Assistant Curator, Hammer Museum, Panelist
Jen Mergel, Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Moderator
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