Group presentations of who we are and who our students are: – it was fascinating to hear about the different paths that have led us to being arts educators.
We were assigned reading partners – never having had a reading partner, I’m looking forward to that interaction. I have shared discussions in a more general way through a google doc with other colleagues which I really enjoyed and found that process productive.
One of our cohort described part of her working life as being comprised of “bits and bobs”. Yet when she told us what they were – sometimes project based – or short engagements – revealed not only a rich experience that builds a creative practitioner’s life, but I think that it is by these varied length projects that we work in, with a variety of collaborators develops and encourages flexible responses to creative problems.
It also reminded me that Professor Orr mentioned in her lecture, the “imposter syndrome” that some arts practitioners may have, possibly due to the often circuitous routes we take as practitioners.
Buzzword activity with a specialist librarian. Her presentation of a history of librarianship as a political activity and her vocational passion for her work is inspiring. Our discussion on what inclusivity is and how it interacts / overlaps with diversity was a useful exchange. Between us we had some references to put into the grid immediately.
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw‘s intersectionality theory (1991) was discussed. It poses a useful idea with which to analyse the states or categories that describe people as interwoven and complex, a more nuanced and connected look than, often blunt, simplified and alienating categorisations.
Here’s a TED talk Professor Crenshaw delivered at TED Women 2016: The Urgency of Intersectionality.
I would go on to learn that African-American women, like other women of color, like other socially marginalized people all over the world, were facing all kinds of dilemmas and challenges as a consequence of intersectionality, intersections of race and gender, of heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, all of these social dynamics come together and create challenges that are sometimes quite unique. But in the same way that intersectionality raised our awareness to the way that black women live their lives, it also exposes the tragic circumstances under which African-American women die.
Intersectionality has since 1991 gained ground and is reflected in the UK in this Social Sciences paper by Emeritus Reader in Population Health Aspinall, P. and Song, M. (2013). Is race a ‘salient’ or ‘dominant identity’ in the early 21st century. The evidence of UK survey data on respondents’ sense of who they are. Social Science Research [Online] 42:547-561. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.10.007.
“However, many of these different identity attributes are consistently selected, suggesting the possibility – confirmed in in-depth interviews – that they may work through each other via intersectionality. In Britain race appears to have been undermined by the rise of ‘Muslim’ identity, the increasing importance of ‘mixed race’, and the fragmentation of identity now increasingly interwoven with other attributes like religion.”
To me this “sense of who they are” in the paper’s title, along with who is defining whom, and if people have the opportunity to be self-defining, are relevant matters in the discussion of the collection and interpretation of demographic data, and the discussion on who our students are, how UAL defines them, the methodology behind the collection of data and how that data is used..
Featured image screenshot. TED (2016) https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberle_crenshaw_the_urgency_of_intersectionality (Accessed 30 January 2018).