Participation in The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) 2021 Conference

The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) holds its 2021 conference this month. The event is designed to provide networking opportunities for young museum professionals, professional development, and online learning. Speaking about the event, Vedet Coleman-Robinson, Executive Director said, “Last year’s successful launch of the first virtual conference proved that despite our distance, we can still learn, grow, and network together virtually.   Historically, the AAAM conference is a family reunion of sorts for professionals of African and African American-focused museums as well as a wide array of cultural institutions.  Last year, we gathered and connected virtually and we all were safe, protected, and healthy.  We want to have that same outcome this year.”

This year,  I’m privileged to participate in a panel discussion, titled ‘Museum Pedagogy: Informing and Educating through a Parallel Delivery of Arts, Media, and Mentorship’. I’ll be joined by Kishan Munroe- a Bahamian documentarian, researcher, and interdisciplinary artist whose practice comprises painting, drawing, photography, film, installation art, and assemblages, and Alexis Alleyne-Caputo (Afro Diaries™ & Grace and Graffiti™) – anthropologist, researcher, and award-winning interdisciplinary artist. We’ll be exploring the importance of the arts and how artists may contribute to their communities whilst supporting worthwhile objectives of museums and educational institutes.

Registered participants will gain insight on a variety of topics surrounding the museum field from a range of museum professionals throughout the country with the conference and plenary sessions.  Keeping in the tradition of their conferences, AAAM will have special guests for their keynote address and evening receptions. This year’s event will again be virtual allowing registrants to be safe, empowered, and engaged while keeping safe and healthy.

The conference runs from August 4 -6th 2021. For further details, and to register for the event please visit the AAAM’s website.

‘Colonial Currents: Black Women, Water, Trauma, and Baptism’ At The 15th National Black Writers Conference

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York (CBL) presents the 15th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC2020). The conference, which started on Wednesday, runs until Saturday, November 14, 2020. The event, in association with Akila Worksongs, was rescheduled from its annually-held Spring dates due to COVID-19 and will be held virtually. This year’s theme, Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads, is a new focus for the Conference that boldly affirms and celebrates how the diaspora’s playwrights and screenwriters expand society’s understanding of Black life and the human experience. Forming part of an exciting program of events, anthropologist and interdisciplinary artist Alexis Alleyne-Caputo (Afro Diaries™) will present her short film titled  ‘Colonial Currents: Black Women, Water, Trauma, and Baptism’. 

Further to her previous projects exploring issues affecting black and brown communities, Alexis Alleyne Caputo’s project draws on current pertinent and intersecting issues, underscoring racial injustice, police brutality, climate change, COVID-19, and the global momentum supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.  The short film will be followed by a Q&A, which I have been invited to participate in.

Much reflection is given on how artists, activists, and educators can respond to the conference’s overall theme of activism, identity, and race whilst widening discussion, exploring solutions and disseminating findings beyond the conference’s virtual registrants. The artist who contributed to the project were Andria Thomas, Anasthasia Grand-Pierre, Cheryl Harrell, Desiree Parkman, Kashia Kancey, Maryann A. Payne-Benjamin, M.M.N. Caputo, Na’Talya Elizabeth Duhart, Shawna Watson, Shawnnette Longley (Rimidi), and Yolande Clark-Jackson.

Speaking on the eve of the conference Alexis Alleyne Caputo explains, ”This is a response to the conference theme of  Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads. The African American experience must be recorded and viewed from a wider lens, understanding similar or shared experiences of black people across the world. Milestones in history, our response, and the narrative of the African diaspora’s story matters. This is best served via the collaboration of literary and visual minds to celebrate our being and shape our future’’.

Other conference highlights include roundtable conversations, panel discussions, a town hall, film screenings, author readings, writing and playwrighting talk shops, a local vendor marketplace, and much more. The four-day virtual gathering brings together students, writers, artists, activists, scholars, literary professionals, theater and film giants, and other literature enthusiasts from near and far. The aim is to explore the challenges, rewards, and impact of working within the Black film and theater industries. Discussions will examine the ways that race, identity, politics, and popular culture shape the production of plays, films, and television shows.

For further information on Alexis Alleyne Caputo please visit https://alexiscaputo.com/

Click here for the program for the day.  For further information and bookings for the 15th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC2020) please visit https://centerforblackliterature.com

The featured image, courtesy of Alexis Alleyne Caputo  features Anasthasia Grand-Pierre (left) and  Maryann A. Benjamin (right)

Coronavirus: Be Safe and Careful!

Hi all! It’s been a very long time since I blogged and I’ve missed it. At the neglect of my blog, I’ve been very active editing and writing for Occhi Magazine. In the last few months we’ve reviewed some great films, directors, authors, visual artists and award-winning musicians such as Jackiem Joyner and legendary Sergio Mendes. Please visit the Occhi Magazine website for further information. I’m also pleased to say OPEN Ealing has also opened its community art centre in Ealing, London.

Unfortunately, like other venues, the community’s use of the venue has been under threat due to the coronavirus. Under the growing shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ll be confined in my studio, writing and working on some new work I hope to share with you.

In these difficult and unprecedented times I wish you and your loved ones the very best. Like most of you, I’ve witness empty shop shelves, panic buying and a great sence of fear. Please look after yourselves and each other by following recommendations proposed by the World Heath Organisation and your national health authorities.

The Art of Activism – An Exhibition by Friends of the Earth

Hope you’re all well and enjoying life! Friends of the Earth has partnered with theprintspace and The Guardian to host a month-long art exhibition focused on acts of resistance that give us hope and inspiration in the face of the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth invited the global creative community to submit artworks inspired by the whimsical, darkly humorous placards that people make for demonstrations and show that the voices of activists are heard, people power works and change is possible. You’re invited to join The Art of Activism on the launch night for the first look at the exhibition. The show opens on the 19th September to 13th October.

What to expect

A multi-artist exhibition highlighting that climate activists are brave, ingenious and resilient. This is an informal night, bringing together the art and activist world – there will be no talks or presentations, just a chance to view the art for the first time and meet like-minded people fighting climate breakdown. You can also expect works from artists including Jeremy Deller and Katharine Hamnett. The evening is free of charge, but please register for a ticket to avoid disappointment.

Prints will be available to purchase following the launch via Guardian Print Shop raising funds for Friends of the Earth to support their campaigning work in areas such as fighting climate breakdown, doubling tree cover and stopping fracking.

Speaking on the event, Stuart Waplington, CEO of thePrintSpace said, 

“The climate crisis is real and immediate. Change must happen now if we are to have a hope of achieving a sustainable society. At theprintspace it’s fair to say we have had a massive realisation that this problem is so urgent that it requires everyone to act immediately. As Greta Thunberg says, I don’t want your hope, I want you to panic.”

For further info please visit the Friends of the Earth (EWNI) website.

OPEN Ealing Arts in Ealing Broadway, London

OPEN Ealing, David Emmanuel Noel, David Emmanuel Noel Art, Artist David Emmanuel NoelTrusting all is well with you and yours! As a Director and Trustee of OPEN Ealing, I’m happy to share news of the organisation’s new pop up shop in the heart of Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.

OPEN Ealing was founded in July 2010 by a group of local artists and residents of the London borough of Ealing, with the support of local organisations such as Pathways, A2Dominion and community groups West Ealing Neighbours and Ealing Arts + Leisure. The aim is to provide cultural space and exciting arts programmes to the community by bringing artists, performers, art groups and residents together, promoting creativity, providing education and creating new opportunities. In recent years, OPEN Ealing has been looking for a new permanent physical space to call home. However, during the months of September and August, OPEN Ealing will host artwork and workshops by local artist at its  pop up shop on Oak Road at the Entrance of the Shopping Centre. If you live in the Ealing area please drop by. For further information on OPEN Ealing and its future programmes please visit https://www.openealing.com

Wishing you a great weekend!