Self, Craft, World: Workshops on Intercultural Understanding for Visual Artists, Creatives and Educators.
MassArt, Engaging Pedagogy Incubator, January 2018
Grub Street Writing Center, December 8, 2018
New England Conservatory, March 13, 2019
MassArt Low Res MFA Program, Summer 2019
Difference is that raw and powerful connection out of which our personal power is forged.
What is intercultural understanding and why should it matter to visual artists, educators and creative practitioners?
These workshops will delve into the lived implications of this question within the context of art thinking, art writing, art production, art teaching and art critiquing.
We will use “the premise for any meaningful encounter across differences in which all parties involved recognize and engage with each other’s complexities, specificity, and dignity” as the working definition of intercultural understanding (IU). Intercultural understanding will be both the destination (it is the main learning goal of the class) and the journey (the process of cultivating it) of this class.
We will read and discuss a number of theoretical and literary texts, artists’ interviews and examine cultural production that map the places where questions of identity and difference - of the artist/writer, the subject in the work, the intended audience - intersect with the tools of creative craft and with issues of contemporary social and global relevance.
We will use these works as gateways to reflect on and practice hands-on several tools of our craft in relation to experiences and representation of otherness, exoticism, spectacle, and to employ our practice to negotiate or resist cultural (in/over)visibility and (un)legibility.
We will also discuss crucial scholarship, creative texts on IU, and practice a number of activities (including modeling critiques) and tactics that are designed to invite, cultivate and deepen IU in ourselves and in our practice.
We will discuss how IU can move the needle from “diversity” and good intentions to concretely designing and responding to complex histories in a way that truly creates visual and written work that is informed by the practice of IU.
The premise of this workshop is that a continuous conversation between Self, Craft and World helps us navigate social and cultural systems with more agility, be sharper readers and consumers of images, compassionate educators, responsive cultural agents and ultimately make clearer sense of ourselves in relation to others, be these others stories, individuals, cultures and art practices different from ours.