The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated policies, guidelines, and practices have laid bare fundamental, systemic inequities, tensions, and sites of struggle and power coursing through our cultural and social frameworks. As an extension of Headlands’ Thematic Residencies—our cross-sectorial convening and residency program—the Keywords Conversations take their name from both a “keyword” project that resulted from a Headlands Thematic Residency on climate equity, and from Raymond Williams’ essential work, Keywords, a collection of cultural histories of words as sites of struggle.
Communities of Care
Participants in “Communities of Care: A COVID Keywords Conversation” will consider the lessons we have learned, or failed to learn, about concepts like public health, risk management, criminalization of disease, and collective power and action from artists and activists responding to the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis as we face the unpredictable landscape of COVID-19. While COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS are different diseases that need different solutions, our experiences of both pandemics serve as a reminder that artists and marginalized communities often develop and use some of our most potent tools in response to crisis, while institutional insistence on business-as-usual often magnifies harm and inequity.
- Theodore (Ted) Kerr (moderator), a writer, organizer and artist focusing on HIV/AIDS, community, and culture.
- Kneeshe Parkinson, motivational speaker, facilitator, activist, and the Positive Women’s Action Network’s State Lead for Missouri.
- Sarit Golub, Ph. D., Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and Director, Hunter Alliance for Research & Translation
- Dr. Andrew Jolivette (Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Louisiana [Tsikip/Opelousa/Heron Clan]), Chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego, poet/writer, and author of Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community.
In our varied responses to COVID-19, American (and global) society has undergone unprecedented transformations. What has changed? And, are such changes transitory or permanent? These implicit questions will guide a conversation between our participants as they interrogate the meanings of “recovery” and “reopening”—terms often used to describe the transition from the early stages of the pandemic to some new, not-yet defined stage. What do these terms mean and how are they articulated to communicate social, cultural, and economic power? Is this a moment of opportunities and restructuring or a period of danger and retrenchment?
Transmedia and futurist artist, Stephanie Dinkins; marine biologist, policy expert, and writer, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson; and philanthropic innovator and program officer, Abdiel J. López will each present their views on the meanings of recovery/reopening with an aim towards clarifying this particular cultural moment and reimagining our collective futures.
This conversation will take place Thursday, September 3, at 11am. Register here.
Blackness in the American Outdoors
Access to nature and the outdoors has long been considered one of many personal health benefits connected to environmental health. This access is also the prerequisite for participation in key aspects of culture such as conservation, agriculture, life sciences, natural history, and a long legacy of art and storytelling inspired by the natural world. By a variety of means, including housing discrimination, violent policing, and environmental racism, Black people and communities have always faced significant barriers to free and equitable access to healthy outdoor environments in the United States.
As life with COVID-19 continues to reveal deep-seated social inequities in new ways, this panel will look at how Black folks in America are facing the changing relationship to public space and the concept of the outdoors during the pandemic and ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality. While we are unequally burdened by new regulations and vastly underserved by government response, we can also name and seize new opportunities for public joy, protest, and presence.
- Grace Anderson, co-director of PGM ONE (People of the Global Majority in the Outdoors, Nature & the Environment)
- Carolyn Finney, Author, Storyteller and Scholar-in-residence at the Franklin Environmental Center at Middlebury College
- Cauleen Smith, interdisciplinary filmmaker
- Joanne Douglas, Watershed Interpretation Manager at Bartram’s Garden, and member of Kosmologym, an arts and game-design collective.
- Aay Preston-Myint (facilitator), visual artist and Program Manager at Headlands Center for the Arts
Banner Photo by Cauleen Smith