Our Spring Events!

Our Spring Events!

We are proud to have hosted a number of exciting events this spring semester:

  • March 4th: Author David Shields read from his recently published book  How Literature Saved My Life at the RISD Tap Room.  The reading was followed by discussion. The event was sponsored by LAS and the Liberal Arts Humanities Fund.
  • March 6th: Alumn Afton Wilky (BFA Painting 05) returned to RISD to offer a book-making workshop, present a poetry reading, and lead an open mike in the Old Library. The event was sponsored by LAS.
  • March 7th: Dr. Siona O’Connell (University of Cape Town), presented “Curate Africa: Representations, Re-presentations and Freedom,” in the Chace Center Auditorium.

Described as “one of the most significant art projects on Africa for many years,” the Curate Africa project involves major curation of African photography, in a virtual gallery space, from around Africa: www.curateafrica.org

Dr. O’Connell (Ph.D. in Visual Studies, MFA with distinction in Photography from UCT) is a South African curator, photographer and Professor.  She was in residence at RISD for the first three weeks of the spring semester, collaborating with Bolaji Campbell in his “Contemporary African Art” course and working with groups of students from RISD and the African Studies Unit, the Centre for Curating the Archive, Michaelis School of Fine Art on the first output of the project – the curated online exhibition. Students will be soliciting images, researching historical collections that have been digitally borrowed from institutions around the world, and virtually working together on curating the first theme – which at this stage, is loosely based around the notion of “Play”.  The go-live date is 25 May 2013 — significant as it is Africa Day.

This event was sponsored by LAS and HAVC.

  • March 11th: A sreening of the award-winning documentary Precious Knowledge, followed by discussion with its producer, Eren McGinnis, and one of the teacher-activists featured in the film, José Gonzalez in the Chace Center Auditorium.

Hailed as “downright revelatory” when it first came out in 2011, Precious Knowledge provides an insider’s perspective on a historic battle over civil rights. The documentary follows the stories of students in the Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School who fight to save their classes in the face of official criticism that such programs are divisive and anti-American. While 48 percent of Mexican American students currently drop out of high school, Tucson High’s Mexican American Studies Program has become a national model of educational success, with an average of 93 percent of student graduating high school and 85 percent going on to attend college. The filmmakers spent an entire year in the classroom filming this innovative social justice curriculum and documenting its transformative impact on students who become engaged, informed and active in their communities.

Precious Knowledge is timely as the nation turns its focus toward a wave of anti-immigration legislation in Arizona, with other states planning to follow suit.  The film chronicles the ideological and political divides that shape views on ethnicity and ethnic identity in the U.S. today and provides vital models for grassroots political organizing and social justice-oriented filmmaking.

This event was organized by our colleague, Anita Starosta, whose courses on human rights and globalization have proved so inspiring to our students.

Sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement, The Division of Liberal Arts, and the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement.

  • March 19th & 20th: “The Collective Noun: A Conversation with Raqs Media Collective,” Main Hall, RISD library.

The RAQS Media Collective  (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) is one of the most important collectives working in contemporary art and new media. Raqs (pron. rux) follows a self-declared imperative of ‘kinetic contemplation’ to produce a trajectory that is restless in terms of the forms and methods that it deploys even as it achieves a consistency of speculative procedures. Their work thus ranges from documentaries to installations, from curating to editing books, from staging theatrical events to collaborating with computer programmers. Their documentaries and time-based installations have been shown at all the major biennials, and they were co-curators of Manifesta 7, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art.  They also helped found SARAI, a groundbreaking new media organization housed in the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi.

“The Collective Noun” was a two-day, un-moderated conversation with Raqs on the nature of the collective as an artistic and political model, and the place of language and utterance in visual arts practice in “the collective living room” that is the main hall of RISD’s gorgeous Beaux Arts Library.