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CCA@CCA Belonging Symposium

Last updated on Mar 08, 2023

March 4, 2023 1–4pm
California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco

The CCA@CCA Belonging Symposium is an afternoon of participatory workshops, conversations and activations that explore the various dimensions of Belonging, unpacking its manyfold perspectives, premises and tensions. The goal of this symposium is to set in motion a reciprocal and generative dialogue among the members of CCA community about the conditions for belonging as a space of safety, care and virtuous mutualism.

The symposium is a compendium of faculty and student-led activities that reflect a diversity of creative practices and critical pedagogies, highlighting those who are already doing deep work on Belonging among the CCA faculty, students and staff. Seeing Belonging as a foundational pillar for the community's wellbeing, this symposium seeks to build common ground for Belonging as an inherently embodied experience moving between comfort and discomfort. Belonging is not about consensus but about holding space and embracing the spectrum of perspectives. 

"After an individual’s basic needs are met, the door is opened to experience a sense of belonging. Belonging cultivates feelings that the individual matters, they are valued, they feel safety, and it is conveyed that they are indispensable to the group. A sense of belonging is relational, reciprocal, and dynamic." —Tricia Brand, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at CCA


1–1:45pm | A Conversation About Belonging featuring Vice President of DEIB Tricia Brand and 2022 Creative Citizenship Fellow Christine Wong Yap

View a recording of this conversation on YouTube

1:45–2:30pm | A Faculty Panel on Belonging featuring Faith Adiele, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Steve Jones, Ana Llorente, and Michael Washington

2:45–3:30pm | Parallel workshops led by faculty Faith Adiele, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Steve Jones, and Michael Washington

STORYTELLING OUR WAY INTO BELONGING: A WORKSHOP FOR WORLD CITIZENS with Faith Adiele, Associate Professor, Writing and Literature Program

What does it mean to belong to the places we inherit or choose? How are the rules of belonging embedded in the languages we speak and the cultural traditions we practice? How can those of us who come from or move between multiple places, heritages, and identities create a sense of home and belonging? In this casual workshop, travel memoirist and CCA writing professor Faith Adiele will lead us through a series of fun writing, drawing and storytelling prompts to find our way home. We will use inspirations like food, names, maps, and family sayings to find the stories in our personal histories. Together, through supportive feedback, we will explore how writing, storytelling and art can create elastic communities that expand to include difference, while still holding us close. No writing experience needed.

DJELIYYA IS LIFE with Genevieve Hyacinthe, Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture Program

A short presentation about dance and the Black Atlantic Diaspora, West Africa, inviting the audience to move together. The workshop will include a short talk and show performance footage.

In Djeliyya is Life, Gen discusses the community-harmonizing artistry of Djelimuso – women griots in the Malian diaspora – followed by collective dance and percussion. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers (no shoes is preferred). Bring a real or improvised drum and drumsticks, bells, or something to shake. A scarf or some other kind of fabric that can be used to accent movement is also welcome. 

REAL TALK (or a study in the vainglorious emotive on thoughts, prayers, and the future of culture) with Steve Jones, Adjunct 2 Professor, First Year Core Studio Program

"As a designer, I have come to terms with the fact that what and who design history has been interested in canonizing, up to this point, does not reflect me, my cultures, my values, and many of the tenets that make me a citizen, a designer, and a teacher. I don't see myself reflected in much of the narrative of design—not in the history, the theory, the practitioners or the outcomes."

— Ramon Tejada, Professor, Rhode Island School of Design

An interactive discussion about debunking the notion of belonging that CCA professes. After completing a brief questionnaire, participant responses will be used to engage a conversation about so-called belonging at CCA. Outwardly, CCA professes to be an institution of belonging for Black students, but in my 35 year association with the college (from student to faculty member) the reality is quite different. While the school presents one narrative, Black students experience another - and the conflicting narratives often make for a less than optimal collegiate experience at the school.

ART IS NOT A LUXURY with Michael Washington, Adjunct 2 Professor, Critical Studies Program

“How do we become aware of the tenets of what we go through, and how do we begin to live self-consciously? How do we access the ability to have different visions, and acquire those experiences, cultural and otherwise, that raise questions about our living? It is difficult to turn around our living and consciousness, yet it is necessary if we are to create something new; obviously we must create something new since what has been is not serving us.”

—Audre Lorde, 1984

What did it mean for Audre Lorde to write these words in 1984? What does it mean to read them now in 2023? And what do they have to do with our practice as artists, thinkers, designers, poets, musicians? These are some of the questions we are going to ask and explore together in this workshop. Taking our cue from José Esteban Muñoz’s exhortation to look back to the recent past of queer of color life (the “then and there” of radical forms of queer sociality) as a means of pointing us toward the horizon of the “not yet,” in this workshop we are going to read some of Audre Lorde’s work together (out-loud), and discuss what her words about art making and politics mean for us today. There will also be some time for a little art making, and sharing of work. The goal will be to think together about the usefulness of art for the political work of imagining new and radically transformed social worlds, as well as our own lives.

Belonging Installation_Portal

3:40–4pm | Share-out and reflection

Refreshments will be available. The Symposium will be followed by an interactive tabling session from 4 to 4:30pm, featuring work by faculty Ana Llorente, Stephanie Sherman, and guest artist Maureen Burdock, and interactive installations curated by CCA@CCA Student Fellows Shreya Shankar (MArch ‘23) and Layla Namak (MArch ‘25).

4–6pm | Celebratory gathering and special viewing hours at CCA Campus Gallery featuring RECOGNITIONS / 认 • 知: A Solo Exhibition by Christine Wong Yap

Organized by the Creative Citizens in Action initiative, in collaboration with CCA faculty, students, and staff, the symposium serves as an anchor point for the Deborah and Kenneth Novack Creative Citizens Series, a year-long conversation series that spans the disciplines of art, design, architecture, and writing. The symposium is organized by 2023 CCA@CCA Faculty Coordinator Julia Grinkrug (Adjunct II, Architecture) in partnership with Shalini Agrawal (Associate Professor, Critical Ethnic Studies).

The premise and content of the program was co-created by CCA@CCA staff, student Fellows Shreya Shankar (MArch ‘23) and Layla Namak (MArch ‘25) and faculty facilitators, in coordination with Tricia Brand, VP of DEIB and the Center for Art and Public Life. 

Image 1: Tricia Brand and Christine Wong Yap

Image 2: Close-up of a fall 2022 installation by CCA@CCA Student Fellows Shreya Shankar and Layla Namak, which asked the CCA community: "What mark do you want to make in the world?" "What does community mean to you?" "What activities do you love to do with your community?"