Public, site-specific participatory performances that merge art with direct action. Taking place in Black-owned businesses and sites of collective trauma for Afro-Diasporic/ Indigenous communities, art actions transform unlikely spaces into social justice theatres and ring shout ceremonies. Collaborating with local activist groups and Black Lives Matter chapters, #DignityInProcess art actions create an environment for community protest, collective healing, and thought provoking dialogue. These immersive performance episodes invite the audience to become active participants in creating a world where dignity breathes and unfolds, visibilizing the Afro-Indigenous medicine of the ring shout as a tool for activism.
In response to the recent and ongoing violence against Black bodies, #DignityInProcess hosts healing circles centering Queer, Tans, GNC Black Lives. As people-of-color the wear of systemic and interpersonal acts of oppression requires that we lovingly care for our bodies and spirits. Together we ground in the tools of our ancestors creating space for healing, collective grief, and always- Black LOVE! All circles feature powerful local Black & Brown healers.
Councils of African American/ Creole/ Mixed/ Indigenous elders (Wisdom Keepers) gather in circle to provide guidance, accountability, a passing down of spiritual practices to emerging change-agents through oral tradition. Wisdom Councils support artivists in connecting to ancestral roots, enriching our understanding of the historical contexts that have contributed to today’s liberatory movements. Through gathering filmed interviews with Wisdom Keepers all over the country, #DignityInProcess fortifies the current Movement for Black Lives by stewarding these inspiring, critical multi-generational dialogues as medicine for the movement. Ensuring that these stories are widely accessible, the interviews live in an online, open source archive- "Dignity Speaks," launching in Spring 2017.
#DignityInProcess honors the legacy of the 1964 Freedom Summer of the Civil Right Movement producing Freedom Schools to educate southern communities for social change. Building upon this foundation, #DignityInProcess: Freedom School continues to evolve this ancestral model by creating pop-up spaces of embodied learning that center participatory learning, movement theatre, and community ritual as a means of teaching art-activism, Black Feminism, race and gender justice. Freedom Schools offer interactive workshops, learning spaces, and healing circles that utilize Afro-Indigenous Liberatory Practice* as the applied equity framework. Participants learn sustainable strategies grounded in ancestral healing to resist the impacts of systemic and internalized oppression. #DignityInProcess: Freedom School brings the fields of art, education, and social justice into creative conversation, to produce interdisciplinary leaders for social change.
#DignityInProcess artist residencies provide an immersive experience into Afro-Indigenous Liberatory Practice*. These creative intensives are a unique opportunity for artists, activists, and culture bearers to practice art activism, develop original art, perform with multidisciplinary collaborators, and share circle with local Wisdom Keepers. #DignityInProcess Artist Residencies foster a space of radical experimentation and risk-taking in the performing and intermedia arts for Queer and Trans* people-of-color and artists of the African Diaspora.
#DignityInProcess retreats are an opportunity for African American/ Creole/ Afro-Diasporic activists, artists, curators, arts administrators, and leading culture bearers to root in ancestral wisdom. Participants collectively create shared vision, build strategic partnerships, and push beyond oppressive patterns to co-create the just world they envision. All walk away with developed skills in Afro-Indigenous Liberatory Practice*, culturally grounded wellness practices, and a roadmap to create sustainable social justice impacts in their communities.
#DignityInProcess is made possible with the support of the New Orleans Loving Festival, Dancing Grounds, Amistad Reseach Center, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, myheartsleeve.com, Destiny Arts Center, Impact Hub Oakland | Omi Gallery, Emerging Arts Professionals, Gulf South Rising, and Brown University's Center for Slavery & Justice: Black Spatial Relics Artist Residency.