Before I continue, I have some sad (relatively) news: we lost all of the photos we took from this session. We are not sure what happened–we suspect that the photos were set up to automatically delete from the camera’s SD card once uploaded to a computer. However, the photos never made it to the computer. This is a mystery. It is likely because they were being uploaded to a Dropbox folder and while this was happening, the Internet failed us. We do have a few images captured via mobile phones. For the other images: I tried my best to recreate the photos as sketches. NOTE: I come from a performing arts background…not the visual arts.
UPDATE: We found the photos. Just a case of the-wrong-folder-in-Dropbox. We added the photos to our Facebook page. (10/27/2015)
As the artists entered the workshop space at Fuse, we asked that they each self-identify according to a set of identity labels we defined. For example, performing artist, visual artist, educator, etc. We also included an “other” category. It was really interesting to see the diversity of identity by career role in the room. My favorite category is always “other,” because we may know a person as “a teacher, an artist, or administrator,” but the other category gives us a glimpse into endless possibility. We are more than one thing. We are multi-faceted beings–so are the people in our community.
We quickly moved into talking about “community.” What does it mean? As we sat in a circle of chairs, we collectively deconstructed the word community. We made a list of positive associations and then a list of negative connotations. We found that some words could have been on both lists.
The following games/exercises came from the Sojourn Theatre Institute, under the Center for Performance & Civic Practice. Staffers Jessyca Holland and Chelsea Steverson attended the Sojourn Theatre Institute, July 2015 in Chicago. We were taught these games by Michael Rhod. We were not teaching the games to the Hatch artists as a tool for them to use. The goal of the games were to demonstrate how a theatre device (artistic tool) might be used to explore an abstract, challenging or, in some cases, uncomfortable ideas. The game was also a way for us to explore how vocabulary is comprised of more than a denotative meaning. Our backgrounds and identity influence our worldview. It is the same when working with people toward a common goal–whether that be a public art project, community-based art project or social activism–we must be sensitive to the fact that our view isn’t the only view.
- Where I’m From – Explored identity through commonalities and differences of values in relation to location and our personal concepts of home.
- Flip Chart – This game implemented verbal exploration from our conversations around the original word map and the “Where I’m From” game. We put these words and ideas into a physical, non-verbal representation through still shot images.
Hatch artists were all given access to an online, resource page. This secure page includes upcoming training dates and a session recap. This is pretty standard for us. All of our main classes include a resource page for homework assignments, presentations, and additional links. It is our way of continuing to connect and reflect after the in-person session concludes.
Hatch artists have agreed to blog about this experience. We will share those posts on the C4 Atlanta blog (right here).
My personal reflection – I am super excited to continue diving into this project. We have a great group of talented, intelligent artists. I will be learning right along side of them. It is inevitable that we will have conversations around equity, gentrification, privilege as well as conversations about collaboration, partnerships and support. These are critical conversations. I have been personally struggling with saying that we (C4 Atlanta) empower artists. What does that say about who holds the most agency? Artist or nonprofit corporation. I believe that artists have power…already. Our goal is to be a resource, to be leaned upon, to be an advocate with artists. With our community. Not for our community.