fbpx It Was Always Possible: Centering the Leaders Who Were Here All Along (ASL & Captioned) | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Livestreamed on this page on Tuesday 7 April 2020 at 8 a.m. HST (Honolulu, UST-10) / 10 a.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC-8) / 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

United States
Tuesday 7 April 2020

It Was Always Possible: Centering the Leaders Who Were Here All Along (ASL & Captioned)

an #ArtistResource talk with Rachel Spencer Hewitt (PAAL); Claudia Alick (CallingUP); Ashley Hanson (Department of Public Transformation); and more

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Email your questions and comments for the panel to [email protected]


Nicole Brewer: Hello, welcome, friends. I'm Nicole, my pronouns are she, her, hers and I'm one of the producers of today's sessions along with my colleagues.

Hannah Fenlon: Hi, I'm Hannah Fenlon, she, her, hers.

Ann Marie Lonsdale: Hey, Ann Marie Lonsdale, she, her, hers.

Abigail Vega: Abigail Vega, she, her, hers.

Nicole: Today, we are so excited to have with us the artists who have been building community and creating art with intentionality across boundaries that are geographic and socially created. We're going to be in conversation with Rachel Spencer-Hewitt, Claudia Alick, Ashley Hanson, Cole Alvis, and Ty Defoe. All of them are doing exciting work and we'll hear more about that soon.

Abigail: This is the fourth in our series of online events. As you might have heard last week, we are committed to a practice of community tithing, where we work to extend 10% of our cash resources to other collectives and organizations providing relief, with a focus on serving the most vulnerable populations of freelance artists. We will be paying our speakers today, as well as commit to a tithe towards an organization doing this important work. This week, we are contributing to the American Indian Community House in New York City. AICH is a nonprofit organization serving the needs of Native Americans residing in New York City. To learn more about them, follow HowlRound on Twitter @howlRound, H-O-W-L-R-O-U-N-D. They just tweeted out this website, and they'll also be tweeting out other relevant links as this conversation continues.

Ann Marie: So, if you get something out of today's conversation, add it to our tithe and well send it on to AICH! You can Venmo us directly to at C-O-V-1-9 dash F-A-R that's @COV19-FAR through 4:00pm Eastern tomorrow, April 8th. These funds will not go to HowlRound nor to us personally, they will be added to the pot for our tithe. On the resource site, covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com, which is C-O-V-I-D 19 F-R-E-E-L-A-N-C-E-A-R-T-I-S-T R-E-S-O-U-R-C-E dot W-O-R-D-P-R-E-S-S dot C-O-M, oh boy, you will see a link to the funds raised and who they went to. But don't stress if you cant give, we're all in this together.

Hannah: In addition to our gratitude for all the panelists, we'd also like to thank HowlRound, specifically our colleagues Vijay Mathew, JD Stokely, and Thea Rodgers for the vital role they're playing today. We are also so grateful to the ASL interpreters supporting this call as well as the National Captioning Institute. They're doing the live captioning for this session. And before we go any further, I'm gonna pass it to Nicole, to lead us in a land acknowledgment.

Nicole: Thank you so much. So as we gathered digitally, we will be honoring the many Indigenous peoples whose land the facilitators and panelists are gathered on. We do this practice as a way of acknowledging the people who were present on Turtle Island as the past, present and future caretakers of the land. I invite you to breathe as you hear these names. Nicole, calling in from Yemasse & Muscogee lands also known as Savannah, Georgia.

Hannah: Hannah calling in from Kickapoo Lands & Miami, also known as central Indiana.

Ann Marie: Ann Marie Lonsdale calling from Ohlone and Chochenyo land here in Oakland, California.

Abigail: Abigail Vega calling in from Coahuiltecan lands, now known as San Antonio, Texas.

Rachel Spencer-Hewitt: Rachel Spencer-Hewitt calling in from the land stewarded by the Leni Lenape people, now known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Claudia Alick: Claudia Alick calling in from the land of the Ohlone people, also recognizing all those who have been displaced and enslaved through colonization.

Ashley Hanson: Ashley Hanson calling in from Arapaho in Cheyenne Land now known as the Front Range in Colorado where I'm quarantining with my family. I also want to acknowledge the traditional Dakota homelands of the Wahpeton and Wahpekute tribes now known as Granite Falls, Minnesota, neighboring the upper Sioux community where our organization is based.

Cole Alvis: Cole Alvis, calling in from Dish With One Spoon Treaty Territory where the original caretakers include the Mississauga Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, and Wendat nations. Now known as Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ,

Ty Defoe: Ty Defoe, calling in from Lenapehoking, Manahatta, where the historically first natural caretakers of the land, by Lenape peoples, and also the Hadenosaunee, the Carnarise, the Mohegan, and the Shinecock, and out on Long Island, many folks who have passed through the waters where the Hudson and East River meets and shout out to the Mohawk Ironworkers so we can cross over from Brooklyn, where I'm actually located, and a big shout out to all the urban native folks who are still here making, creating songs and stories of the First Nations people.

Abigail: And on the behalf of the staff of HowlRound Theatre common at Emersons college, they wish to respectfully acknowledge that their offices are situated on land stolen from its original holders, the Massachuset and Wampanoag people. They wish to pay their respects to those folks past, present, and future. Adrienne Wong of SpiderWebShow in Ontario has written this digital land-- I'm sorry, y'all, this digital land acknowledgement, which we wanna share with all of you now. Since our activities are shared digitally to the internet, lets also take a moment to consider the legacy of colonization embedded within the technologies, structures, and ways of thinking we use every day. We are using equipment and high speed internet not available in many Indigenous communities. Even the technologies that are central to much of the art we make leaves significant carbon footprints, contributing to changing climates that are disproportionately affecting Indigenous peoples worldwide. I invite you to join me and join us in acknowledging all of this as well as our shared responsibility: to make good of this time, and for each of us to consider our roles in reconciliation, decolonization, and allyship.

Ann Marie: Thank you, Abigail. So speaking of technology, when or if, but definitely when, the internet connection freezes, we invite you to take a breath and do a body scan, and just release the held parts of your body. Or it may be beneficial to reflect on whats been said so far and where those ideas land for you. You are in good company today. We have had thousands of people joining us for these conversations over the past few weeks, and we invite you to share that you're present with us using the hashtags #ArtistResource, hashtag A-R-T-I-S-T R-E-S-O-U-R-C-E and #HowlRound, hashtag H-O-W-L-R-O-U-N-D to join the conversation online.

[Nicole begins speaking, but her audio is muted.]

Nicole: How about I unmute myself?

Hannah: There we go.

Nicole: Anyway, that brings us to our reflective fives. So the relective five, this is a pause for us to check in with ourselves through mindful breathing. This week's reflective five will happen at the top and bottom of the conversation. And so, we'll do one now. Notice some challenges that have been arising for you this week. Inhale. One, two, three, four, five. Hold, five, four, three, two, one, exhale. One, two, three, four, five. I'm delighted to pass the mic to Hannah Fenlon, who will be facilitating this conversation.

Hannah: Thank you, Nicole, thank you for your guidance, for that moment of pause. I'm really excited to share the virtual stage with these folks. When we think of our guests today, we think immediately of their visionary leadership, their advocacy and their depth of lived experience embedded within the communities. Within communities that are regularly pushed to the margins in and an outside of the culture sector. They have shown over and over what collective action, totally access, and community care looks like in the arts and culture. And they are not new comers to the challenges of isolation that we are all facing now. Instead, they have been here, ringing the alarm about our field's lack of attention to its people, its creative engines, while simultaneously developing art practices for themselves and their communities that are sustainable, imaginative and flourishing. So we're going to hear a bit about their stories, one by one, and then we're going to move into a group discussion with some prompt questions from our producing collective and some prompt questions that members of our group today have for one another. But I want to remind us all that as we listen, this conversation isn't necessarily about replicating these folks' models, instead, it's about sharing practice to inspire you to find your own solutions. So before we move into this sort of one-on-one moments with each person, it is my privilege to welcome for an initial icebreaker, our friends and colleagues Rachel Spencer-Hewitt, Cole Alvis, Claudia Alick, Ashley Hanson, and Ty Defoe to the virtual stage. Hello, friends. Look at them, look at them coming in. Hi.

Ashley: Hello.

Hannah: Hi. Hi, hi. So we're going to take some time and folks have prepared some remarks and we'll talk about the prompts they're responding to. but just to get us all sort of warmed up, 'cause it's just continuing to be so weird to not be able to reach out and high five you all. We're going to start with just a softball one. But depending on your state of mind, depending on where you're at today, it could be harder. And I'm just going to ask each of you share and we can go perhaps in the order that we're going to go for our presentations. Share something that you've done today that you're proud of. And I'll invite everyone who's watching right now to think about that too. Maybe take a minute to meditate yourself. Just one thing that you've done today that you're proud of. Ashley, can I ask you to lead us off?

Ashley: Of course, yes. I'm really trying to each day balance community care and self-care and so on the community care side of things, being proud to sift through SBA and Cares Act stuff to try to help people figure out this whole clunky system. On the self-care side of things, I had a candlelight breakfast and found it to be really a special way to start the day. I highly recommend eat your oatmeal or cereal or granola or whatever you're eating over candlelight.

Hannah: Beautiful. Claudia, can I call you in to share?

Claudia: Indeed, it's a bit early so the thing that I'm most proud of today is that my quinoa bake was a success!

Hannah: Perfect, Cole, what are you proud of today?

Cole: Anii, everybody, I am proud of signing the petition that I received from our lovely panelists and fellow person here, Ty Defoe. Land is sacred, stand with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. I live in Canada so my zip code didn't work but hopefully they'll accept 90210, and they did.

Hannah: Beautiful, beautiful, thank you, Cole, and maybe we can get that resource out so folks who are watching sign in as well. Rachel, what are you proud of today?

Rachel: I’m proud of today keeping my children alive. I have two of them and in a moment of productivity when I was tempted to work, I decided to do 20 minutes of stretching instead and use that time to really consciously meditate and embrace the fact that they may walk in on the call today and I want to spend my energy and resources on engaging with people and not on erasing that part of my life. And that's an intentional practice. And I'm proud of myself for doing it before noon instead of like after noon when things have already gotten exciting. So, yeah, Just getting your kids through the day is a big, thank you.

Hannah: And while I await that moment I think I hear my friends in the background already, Rachel, so we'll await that moment where we can wave to them. Ty, Will you round us out and let us know what is making you proud today?

Ty: Sure, yeah, what's making me I guess proud today is I was able to drink some clean water, noting that's a resource that still existing and just being really grateful for the water that we have. I was able to take a shower and do the things that I need to, you know, to keep it fresh amidst what's happening with COVID where many others are also fighting that at the same time as this virus. So feeling grateful, I would say.

Hannah: Beautiful, thank you all. Some really wonderful and deep accomplishments today from the quinoa to the shower to the petitions to the Cares Act. So I'm going to transition us into hearing from each of you one at a time which I'm really, really excited to do. And just to offer that as a producing collective, we ask folks to spend about three or four minutes introducing those who are watching to their work, each of the five of you, and we ask them to, one, briefly identify themselves and their work. We asked about some of the strategies and mantras and operating structures or philosophies that they've deployed in their work. All of these humans pre the COVID crisis, that they've also found useful during this time. And then we've also asked them to talk a little bit about what keeps them motivated, what's giving them hope and or to what legacies do they attribute their work and their efforts. So we're going to go in actually the same order. Not a mysterious order, just first official, first name. And we're going to start with Ashley and then I'll help transition us down the line. So, Ashley?

Ashley: Thank you, it is such an honor to be here among heroes and sheroes and I thank you for inviting me. I am coming into this conversation who with two hats. I am the founder director of the Department of Public Transformation that works with the intersection of creativity and civic life in rural communities and site specific theatre company Play Space Productions telling history stories and imagined futures of rural places through sight specific large scale musicals. So, our work is locational and relational and it centers deep listening to people and their places. And that practice of deep listening continues to be the anchor for our work during this time; whether it comes in the form of having one-on-one conversation with folks in our community just to check in and see how they are doing, or listening to what our regional partners are doing and finding ways for our organization to support or connect the work that's already happening, or providing a platform for rural arts and cultural workers across the country to share ideas with each other. In any of these instances, the practice of deep listening helps inform us where the greatest needs are, so we can turn around and be better advocates for our communities and our field. As an organization that works with rural cultural workers we have had to be creative about ways to connect across distance for quite some time. So for example, we've been hosting Off the Clock, a monthly digital happy hour for rural arts and cultural workers, for the past year. In general, our work can be quite isolating, just based on geography alone. So these happy hours have been an amazing touchstone for folks to stay connected with each other and to the broader conversation around the rural arts movement. And I will say that our last Off the Clock had the largest attendance, as I think our and noticed and felt and witnessed our rural leaders really looking for tools and resources that are rural-centric right now because our needs are different in a lot of ways from urban spaces. And, its in these moments of connection with other rural practitioners that I'm really finding hope during this time. It's been incredibly inspiring to see the immediate and creative action that our rural collaborators have been taking to connect their people, places, and resources over the past month. I think one of the many benefits of living in a rural place is that in most cases, you know who the vulnerable community members are, you know the best way to contact them to ask what they need, and you know who to go to to ask for help or support. They are your neighbors, your collaborators, your friends. And watching my friends across the country step up and design, implement and share these really creative, community-specific solutions to the largest collective challenge of our time has been a great source of motivation and inspiration. With all of this work, we stand on the shoulders of giants, as they say, and I have the privilege of learning from and working alongside, although at a far geographic distance, but alongside my rural arts and cultural colleagues and collaborators on a daily basis. My only hope is that our organization can continue to amplify this work and act as a source of connection with rural people, places, creative solutions, resources, in times of crisis or times of calm. So again, thank you for having me be a part of this conversation.

Hannah: Excellent, thank you so much for sharing, Ashley. Claudia, can I invite you to share next?

Claudia: Sure, so, I'm the executive producer of a company called Calling Up Justice, it's a transmedia company that's producing performances of justice online, on stage and in real life. I began this company about two and a half years ago and I think of more as a practice. It's how I live my life and it's me living my dream. Current projects include doing consultations, free consultations on a weekly basis, but long-term projects are doing equity consulting for the Fools Fury company and acting the guest director for their FURY Factory Festival. I'm co-president of the board of the network of ensemble theatres so I'm working with a lot of national movements for funding as well as just looking at what our field is going to need. I'm advising the national disability theatre, I advise HowlRound, I'm an advisor for the national theatre project with the New England foundation for the arts. I'm also working with the Doris Duke foundation on a commissioning project and specifically with Calling Up Justice, we're doing projects like the every 28 hours plays, we produced a digital poetry slam with California Shakespeare theatre. We have a project called the Justice Quilt where we have doing digital stories circles for over a year. And currently, we've got a transmedia Facebook page and we have been doing weekly digital and transmedia producing in an age of pandemic peer exchange sessions online. So when I began this project two and a half years ago, I first went back to the beginning of my practice, and I asked myself, what was most important to me back in the day? I grew up in a rural area in Montana. So I've always been obsessed with accessing cultural productions across distance and I recall being young and frustrated that I couldn't get to the plays. I couldn't get to the video of the plays 'cause technology one there and I couldn't get to New York. Then I moved into New York and I still couldn't get into the theatres because I didn't have enough money to get into the theatres. So then my second obsession was all right, once you figure out how to share work remotely, how do you also share it equitably so everyone can access it? I spent 10 years working at a Oregon Shakespeare Festival where all of my programming was centered on accessibility. Physical accessibility, accessibility for all populations, marginalized populations, and also I had an outdoor theatre. So I was ideating ways to produce inside of a climate crisis where your outdoor stage might not be accessible to you in unexpected moments. So transmedia producing felt really, really important. I started this project by doing something I called #walkabout where I called up all of my freelance friends, all of my disabled friends, and all of the people I knew who were digital nomads and a few others to ask them, how do you travel around the country, create a base of operations? But then also how do you function if you're trapped inside your home for possibly a week at a time or 10 days at a time and still remain productive? So my planning has always been one where I plan for the unexpected, potentially, I will be there physically, potentially I will have to collaborate digitally and I try to program all of my work around that. In this wandering of the country, inspired by invitation, I've been witness the intersection of cultural production and social justice. Sort of a drama study of our arts ecology from a non institutional perspective. And the biggest challenge to social justice outcomes I witnessed was a fundamentally unsustainable and inequitable economic structure. Most of the money's going to rent, it's not going to the artists. And everything seems to be designed to serve the most narrow demographics. So in my practice, I use the intersectional lens. I design for the maximum accessibility and the maximum outcomes of justice. I use crypt time. I schedule with intention and balance. I do relaxed meetings. You know how you have relaxed theatre? I have relaxed meeting style. I create a schedule for myself, but I create a schedule that works for me. So just going to do a quick quote from Sims Invalid, This is the skin, tooth and bone. The basis of movement is our people, like disability justice primer, and in a 10-principles of disability justice, one of them is recognizing wholeness. Valuing people as they are for who they are and understanding that people have inherent worth outside of capitalist notions of productivity. So my balance is found in family, friends, field service, learning, self-care, ideating about the future, and radical generosity. And I make sure I have a really rich circle of friends that I can contact over the internet through a multiplicity of platforms, over the phone and also in person. And the thing that's keeping me motivated right now is the necessity of this work. And the amazing human beings who have been working on solving these problems for all of us for many, many years. I didn't make any of this up. I am standing on the shoulders of giants and learning those who came before me and also learning from people who are doing things every single day. So, I shall pass the mic to someone else to continue this conversation.

Hannah: Amazing. thank you, Claudia. And we've tweeted out via the HowlRound Twitter At least one of to the resources you offered so thank you so much for that. I see Cole on the screen, Cole, will you take me mic?

Cole: My name is Cole Alvis, I'm a Michif artist based in Toronto, Canada which means I have Metis and Chippewa as well as Irish-English heritage that from the Turtle Mountains which is the southern part Manitoba and the northern North Dakota. My artistic process places rigor, equity-seeking values, and community leadership at the center. And through shared leadership platforms, I work with many incredible individuals. The queer theatre company I run with Indrit Kasapi is called lemonTree Creations, an Indigenous artist run organization called manidoons collective I run with Yolanda Bonnell and a national arts service organization that advocates for Indigenous and culturally diverse theatre artists called AdHoc Assembly that Michelle Saint Bernard and I are at the helm along with others. And I've been reflecting on a call to action that Alok V Menon, a gender queer non-conforming writer and performance artist said on Instagram Live recently pushing us to be more ambitious with our empathy and by practicing intersectionality. Prior to, during, and after this pandemic I think it's essential that we're vigilant as allies to protect everyone in our communities, which includes recognizing the ways oppressions are compounded and often present at all times. I think with this time in my home that I'm grateful to have on these indigenous territories, I'm choosing to find hope in myself and to do what I can to cultivate that in my community. That that is an active choice that I can make and what I can choose to do with this privilege that's been afforded to me being born in this body at this time and on these lands and waterways. One of the relationships that I'm grateful to be continuing to pursue is with a two-spirit artist in the Turtle Mountains on the North Dakota side. This is where my family left when their children were taken to a convent. It's the source of the fracture of indigenous knowledge and language in my maternal line and recently I've been able to reconnect with a cousin there and I met a two spirit artist named Iwana Gije who I feel it's relevant to name and also as we're thinking about ways of being, the value and the principle of reciprocity is something that I've been sharing with my auntie and anyone else who has been coming back with to the Turtle Mountains on the North Dakota side. There's a lot of access that our family has had when they left the community and moved towards whiteness, marrying white people and in the case of my parents, seeking oil in Alberta. And so it's a conflicted thing for me to have the access and class that I do because of those choices. But then also see the consequence of that on the land and the water. So for me be part of this discussion and I'm looking forward to hearing from the rest of you.

Hannah: Beautiful, thank you, Cole. Rachel Spencer-Hewitt, I invite you up to the screen, there you are.

Rachel: Thank you so much. Yeah, so I am the founder of Parent Artist Advocacy League for the performing arts which goes by PAAL, P-A-A-L. It's a national resource hub, solutions generator, and digital and physical community for caregivers in the performing arts and the institutions that support them across the country. PAAL has long been advocating like many of the people on this call for so many of the initiatives that have made this time of crisis accessible in terms of the way people are connecting with one another. We have long been offering live streaming caregiver support, not only on site but also sharing digital resources for caregivers. We've been providing free webinars for resource support on our Facebook Lives and also Facebook groups for caregivers in different chapter cities. So we've been using digital resources as ways to connect people who otherwise feel tethered to their physical space. Because this isn't a new concept for many people, the difference is just that it's now a global reality. Personally, I am an artist, I'm a mother of two, an actor by trade, and my day job is actually digital content creation and management. And I have over five years of experience in developing digital spaces, artistically and logically, while also parenting and homeschooling and I want to give voice and visibility right now that homeschooling is not the same as crisis schooling and creating a digital space doesn't necessarily mean that you've created an inclusive digital space. So just to give a voice to those distinctions which we can talk a bit more about later. And I'm here to also speak to our mission which is that for parents and caregivers. Our caregiving obligations have long shut us out of spaces and shut us in. While we are full-time providing for our families and caring for our children, trying to find space to breathe and create and negotiate supportive work policies, and the obligations have long been on us to advocate for ourselves and we've been pushed off as a niche group or here's your affinity group that you can meet with at lunch. When now that it's a universal reality and we all need it people seem more ready for the conversation. I've been reflecting on my personal experiences with those and there are five principles that I think that everyone can take away and apply not only to our lives now but in how we rebuild our systems and our structures and that's first starts with the mindset shift which is that everyone is vulnerable. We may be vulnerable at different times but it's going to take empathy when we all are able to go out again or feel healthy again to remember that crisis happens all the time to individuals. It's just unique now because it's happening globally and we can't forget that support is necessary. Two, work from home policies are possible for every organization. Supportive scheduling to reduce burn out and financial burdens because access to digital spaces is also a class reality and an economic reality, do you have equipment? Do you have Wi-Fi? How else are we supporting people financially? And we need to shape the space and caregiving support for funds. I would say that I want to acknowledge the women of color and the leaders of color who have advocated for caregivers supportive practices and I'm going to quote Delicia Turner Sonnenberg from Moxie Theatre company. She used the term self-generosity in a webinar that we did on the Facebook Live page yesterday. And also Kaia Dunn who is a teacher at UNC and she was talking about how we can let go of this need to produce and react about this time and I just want to reflect on that that as we share these resources is to give you will us all space to breathe.

Hannah: That's gorgeous, Rachel, thank you. Ty, will you close us out by sharing your responses to these prompts? I can't hear you, Ty.

Ty: All right. So, this is Ty. You can see my name and I'm gonna start my video now. Hello, everyone, Ty again. Just wanted to talk a little bit about some of these prompts and wanted to say my artistic process aspires to interweave social justice, ingenuity, indiqueering, and environmentalism by all means possible in this global pandemic because more and more people are beginning to understand what this is and also relate to the arts and the interconnectedness of all living things and I think the one thing that stands out to me in terms of thinking about this from verbalizing it is talking about the great hoop or the great circle of life. Noting that all things are connected, that there isn't a hierarchy when there is shared leadership and we can talk more about that if you're interested. But this is something that, you know, I'm drawing upon elders and ancestors and also some other folks within the native indigenous community. And like I said, I'm here in New York city. You know, doing a lot of work with the American Indian community house as well as native folks across Turtle Island and I wanted to do this quote from Delana Study who is the co-artistic director of Native Voices, she said, never waste a crisis, and she start this off when we are part of our virtual talking circles. Hosted by Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansans. And this is a place where intergenerational folks are able to come and connect and so what I'm finding during this time is a cultural resurgence of people calling upon the conversation and to create story, dialogue by any means possible. I've also noted some things that I've been seeing and participating in such as the social distancing pow wow on Facebook across the country. And this is where social gatherings weren't able to happen in the United States from like 1978 and below that so now it's a good time, people are dusting off their regalia, getting those songs started, and creating art. Which is great, finding another way to connect. There's also folks who have been going on into learning language learning classes and this is something that I've been participating in too so it's really great to have, you know, the resource of the interwebs, the internet, to connect with people and to check on people back home. One thing that has been most special during this time I think as an artist in terms of finding that connection has been meeting the elder brunch that happens Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 12, rain or shine, here on Zoom and it's a time to just listen and show up for elders to see what is needed in their homes as they are going through a lot as well, a lot of the indigenous elders. Another thing that I think that I've been trying to, you know, in terms of bringing some of these philosophies into fruition is the, as Cole mentioned earlier, is the Wampanoag and the Mashpee got their tribal government, their tribal sovereignty revoked. And so there's a huge petition going on right now with folks signing it. So that just brings me to the point of that this conversation, yes, COVID is happening, we all must take care, but it is also a yes and conversation. It's a yes and, and I feel like consistently for so long, queer folks, marginalized folks, indigenous folks, have been doing this yes and conversation so much I'm also interested in the philosophy of opening up that circle a bit more with the arts and the world, the everyday happening and how to connect. So I'm doing a lot of arts at this time and interweaving and interconnecting as it relates to anchoring and values. And some of those values are to honor and to celebrate, to decolonize and indigenize time, space and resources in all stages of practicing, to expose and dismantle any kind of bigotry or biases or disrespect and opportunity to create new practices and accountability being viable, how do we retain the haven't over the socials? And just want to gave little plug here, if you're interested in the art show in April 10th and 11th with all my relations collective where some of these values were implemented. We're going to do an excerpt of which is revolving sky for folks to promote some good medicine out there. It talks about star knowledge, indigiqueerness, and connecting together so that we can all, I've been reading this book in the morning too, have some radical hope for this time. And I'll leave it there to we can get to the discussion. Please reach out, y'all have my information. I'm so open to Zoom, talk, text, chat about what's going on but also how do we uphold and take care of the, you know, the sacred circle of all living this things, the two-legged, the four-legged, the winged, and the rooted during this time.

Hannah: Thank you, Ty. And thank you, everyone, I'm going to invite you back in with your videos. And also just acknowledge that our producing team has been putting out links to pretty much all of the resources and organizations and collectives that you all are either a part of or referenced. So if you're interested, again, in all of the magnificent work that these folks from referencing, you can find it on HowlRound's Twitter feed. So please do go there there's and we'll keep doing that throughout the call. So, whew, that was a lot of beautiful information and I thank you for putting that out into the atmosphere it's something that I feel like folks can go back to and watch the recording and deepen into. But I do want to take some time to lead us through a little bit more cross-talk. And I have just a few questions for you folks and you can sort of popcorn them. And this one I think hopefully just diving in, going straight to the heart. I've been reading, as all of us have, a lot of folks different experiences of this moment of this crisis. And I read a quote on body workers Susan Raffos blog recently and Susan wrote "I keep being struck "by how the things we should be doing "in response to the coronavirus "are really the things we should be doing "as a way of being alive." How if it does, does this resonate with y'all? How does this apply to your experience of individual and collective survival? And how you are sort of mediating and supporting and investing in that through your work? And anybody who wants to jump in is free to jump in.

Rachel: When I read that quote, and thank you for sharing it, for me, what keeps coming up is how universally in this moment we're all being asked to say yes do the reality of being human. This idea of how, you know, this virus makes no discrimination, that it takes a collective act for us to feel strength and for us to seek health and to improve. All of these conversations in terms of sick leave, caregiver support, lack of child care, crisis at home, the domestic disputes. These are all realities that I feel when we allow ourselves to believe the illusion of everything is fine, workplace policies that are based on the best-case scenario, we are absolutely rejecting the reality of what we are, which are vulnerable dynamic human beings. And this time is asking us to say yes to that vulnerability, to the fact that we are mortal. And the fact that we are responsible not just for our own health, but for each other's health. Like this is not a solo operation. We are not asked to engage in this life for this like individualistic boot strap my success idea, but that success is a collective effort. How do we flatten the curve for the world? How do we engage in best practices to support everyone? To center the vulnerable, the elderly, the people who are immunocompromised? It is such a lesson in centering our practice on the people with the greatest need as opposed to the people with the least need and then building support for people with needs after the fact. That it's not an afterthought but it's our priority. I think that should always be the case of how we build structures and go about how we think about engaging with people.

Claudia: Hello, this is Claudia. So I've been feeling the strange mix of deep, deep cynicism and deep, deep hope in this moment. 'Cause in crisis, there is opportunity. There's the opportunity for transformation and the opportunity for further exploitation. As I was wandering the country and kind of assessing what I thought was wrong with the American theatre scene, my biggest reason for not publishing most of my findings was I didn't have a good replacement, I didn't have a good answer answer because most of our structures were designed to maintain themselves. To maintain themselves despite the people inside of them saying this doesn't work for any of us. So in this moment of everything breaking, I go, okay, can we acknowledge that the way we were doing it was bad? And can we do things a different way now?

Cole: Yeah, I'm all for different models and being inspired to make change and I'm conscience of how the virus doesn't discriminate, but the structures and the systemic nature of how things have been certainly does. And I'm thinking again about Iwana Gije, the two-spirit artist that I referenced who participated as a water protector, the Turtle Mountain Chippewas were one of the first to ban fracking in the Turtle Mountains. And of course, that's a significant way that the oil industry continues to find profit and then when I consider the poverty that the Iwana Gije lives in, it's stark for me, this inequity that is normalized and not only that it's inequitable but that one must be in relationship with the land in a productive way or in an exploitative way and that is being normalized is just really shocking and unfortunate to me. And so if we could look at this as an opportunity to make change, yes, please.

Ty: Hey, this is Ty. I'm going to say yes, yes, and yes to all the things that you said, Claudia and Cole and Rachel. And, you know, I was thinking about this too and about the system and access. So I'm going to yes and you too about the idea that some of these coming together in the connection and the system being broken, all of things, when I'm also finding out on these conversations with elders, it's like wow, sometimes for the first time folks are clearing their schedule, right? Saturday and Sunday mornings to sit down and listen to the wisdom that elders who have had this like vast experience and lived much longer on this earth, they have, you know, there are things that they say, like live carefully. What you do will come back to you. Accept what life brings, you and not control many things. Honor your elders, they will show you the way in life. And a lot of these sort of I guess like indigenous things across many nations across Turtle Island has been shared and I feel like it was interesting one elder was like, wow, I feel like I haven't been asked what I need for several years. And here it was like a Zoom call of, you know, about a dozen sort of in between ages who are asking this because of this pandemic. And it was turning something and making something into a gift so we could move forward as a means for perseverance and survival and also wanted to underscore the additional laughter being medicine and cynicism from folks who have had such passed down historical trauma has been really healing at this time as well.

Ashley: Yes, yes, yes to everything that my friends have said and the yes and which you said before in honoring Ty in our rural communities and Indian country, a lot of this is not new. We're acutely aware of the limitation of our health care, education, child care system and have been advocating for access to broadband and healthy today options for a long time. It has been amplified during this time but it's something that we know really deeply and I hope, I hope that this is an opportunity for our statewide, our national, our tribal leaders, our general public to have a better understanding of the geographic iniquities that have existed for some time so we can continue to push those agendas forward and provide more access. My optimistic side, building on Claudia's feeling complexed at this time. I hope that this gives our country the opportunity to hear the song that the rural folk have been singing for a long time and hopefully build empathy and complexifying our understanding of rural challenges, finding opportunities where rural and urban neighbors can learn from each other. Where we can find moments of urban rural solidarity. But my pessimistic side is worried about how this challenge will widen, not lessen the perceived rural urban divide and I hear folks in my region say things like, of course we can't get tested out here. There's like this assumption that we're lesser than and undeserving of equal access to health care and it's just like a known thing because of our zip code and that sentiment is really real and really hard to overcome. And I hope that this opens the ears to that call that's been being made for a long time.

Claudia: This is Claudia, and the concerns of our rural community, I feel like I'm hearing that echoed in most of the communities that I belong to. So that's being echoed really loudly with the disabled community all over the country in both urban and rural areas. The disabled community A, are the ways of surviving in the world that we had already designed, those are the ways everybody is surviving in the world right now and they are straining the way that we have been surviving. So it's already impacting the disabled community. I know when I've been chatting with friends from the Black community, most of us are deeply aware that Black people are dying more. Black people are dying more in the United States and that should not, there's no good reason for that in terms of science. That's 100% behavior and the way our country works. I think it's real interesting that some folks thought that they could poison our systems and they would have no negative impact. It's all connected. I guess that's the lesson we're learning, we're all connected.

Hannah: Yeah, thank you, thank you folks. And I think that the depth of experience and just the examples that you all are offering into this conversation is one of the reasons why we wanted to bring you together. And so to kind of angle into that a little bit more deeply, this idea of social or probably more aptly put, physical distancing is something that due to a variety of circumstances, each of you has had some familiarity with, some relationship to in the communities you work within and belong to. So while many of you have been scrambling for meaning and experiencing a new version of what it means to be quote-unquote alone, what we've seen and what we've heard over the last 40 minutes are calls to action. Are deep and thoughtful resources and a general sense of we may not know everything that's going on but we got you, we have responses in this moment. So I would love to hear you all, each speak a little bit about what leadership means to you. And, you know, we're putting you here because we are looking to you as sort of leaders in this moment. Folks who may not have all the answers but do have a breadth of experience from which we can or which we can follow. So speaking a little bit about what leadership means in this moment and then I'm also curious, you know, there's a lot being asked of leaders in this moment. So what do you feel you can give and offer to others and what are your personal systems for preserving some of that for yourself? What are you sort of holding back to make sure that you're keeping yourselves healthy and whole? Anybody can start.

Ashley: I’ll hop in here. So thinking about that physical distance and geographic isolation which has been reality for rural cultural workers for a long time. So we have a lot of creative strategies for staying connected and that I think are beneficial all of the time, not just now. We recognize that in addition to stepping up and being community organizers and really helping, you know, on the ground and in community work, rural artists are often the ones to also bring bold vision and hope and joy to their communities. So we invited our collaborators across the country to contribute a list of ideas for create, compassionate, and joyful connections during social distancing. Stuff that people have been doing already for a long time but wanting to share that as a resource. And also just seeing world leaders really step up and create space for conversation and connection for people to articulate their needs and really identify what collective resources already exist and how we can help meet one another's needs, like there's examples of community websites being created, Mary Welcome and Bruce Washington, Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama, California, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, there's some really incredible successful examples of immediate creative community organizing being led by artists and connecting the most vulnerable community members to the resources and that kind of echoing what Rachel had said so earlier, that tangible awareness of how our actions are affecting others. Wouldn't it be great if that was how we operate all of the time and I really do see there being an opportunity to learn from some of our rural colleagues about the way in which they center vulnerable community members all of the time. So I would say look to your rural leaders at this moment.

Ty: Hey, this is Ty, hope you can hear me here. I wanted to say that some things that I've been finding most useful as a creative artist and connecting it together since that seems to be the running theme too, is participating in artistic jams. You know, that are like facilitated by folks that want to also practice leadership which has been so wonderful getting in the minds and the opportunity to collaborate in that kind of way with the next generation of artists that are coming up as well as elders who are also at that time who wants to still participate in creative art making which has been great. I'm also made aware that time is one of the biggest colonizers, right? And I often talk with Lori Glory about this, about partnering with time and the idea of how can we partner with time to create a type of risk and resilience as it relates to creative art making. And through some of that work with all my relations, we have found really like you all do here, taking those five breaths before starting meetings and throughout the process because we ain't going anywhere. We cannot go outside right now, we can't do things. So take the time needed to actually form the reciprocal relationships as Cole was mentioning that I think is really, really important to do. We have the time so gift that to ourselves as makers and artists.

Claudia: This is Claudia. I invested in my space. So my space is full of the comfy blankets and the beautiful artwork and all of the things that bring me joy. I can't turn in the direction without seeing something or being able to reach for something that sparks joy in my life. I made sure that my home does that for me. I got plants to take care of. There are things that are alive that depend on me. I love taking care of those plants. I already had a practice of doing digital brunches with folks. So I'm still doing my digital brunches where we meet on my Zoom and we have coffee and breakfasts and whatnot over the computer, we're doing that. I have a weekly meditation practice. And so I've been inviting people to do silent meditations with me online, that's been lovely. And of course, epic, epic text message threads with my family, memes are life. That's self-care for Claudia.

Hannah: I wanna interject here and say the text message things. I was listening to an interview with George Sanders and Cheryl Stray the other day and the uncertainty of this moment and one of the things that we can best do is to be sensorally aware of the things that are happening by documenting them because we may not actually know what will be important to this moment until later. And we may be able to see those threads when we look back later if we properly documented what had we were thinking and feeling. And so that keeping the text message threads and making sure that there's a documentation of what we were experiencing feels really resonate and relevant to me right now. Cole and Rachel, do you want to share around this question of leadership and also taking care of yourself as you give?

Cole: Yeah, sure, I'll jump in. I'm definitely resonating with the opportunity to be present at home with the way that I make this my space and whether that's picking up a knitting project or a book that I've been meaning to get to. Doing some thinking about what is the foundation that I often prior to this pandemic was launching from or operating more often outside of. And is there an opportunity to really invest in who I am here to make me stronger in the world? And definitely the connection with family and friends where often a lot of my work is now happening over Zoom but friends and families are also discovering Zoom. So it's a lot of this. And that has its own level of exhaustion. So definitely limiting screen time is a useful practice. And then also confronting some of the conversations that maybe I have not been choosing to have with my family around identity and around what it means to be my full self. And that's ongoing work and challenging in and of itself but it's definitely present for me in this time.

Rachel: Yeah, for me, it's been an opportunity to engage with the leadership to ask questions that can't be avoided by going into an office or going into a space that is absent of children or dependents. Because when you're Zooming into people's homes, you will see it. The children will crawl on you. They're being surprisingly great right now but that's because my partner is on nights and he just woke up and he's taking care of them so it actually might so happen that they don't join this zoom call, which would be rare. But I think the questions that I would offer leadership to be asking at this time is where's the financial disparity in my community? When we ask that question for PAAL where was the financial disparity in our community and we've started the PAAL COVAID Emergency Relief Fund for artists with families because as people are getting laid off and as productions are closing and as unemployment is becoming more and more difficult to apply for, these are not individuals buying groceries for one, they're buying groceries for four or five. And there is no daycare, there is no school, there is no caregiver. Last year in 2019, my most expensive month for child care was, emotional creature. Was women's in national history month because of all the gender parity events, I had to attend for equity. And I spent hundreds of dollars on child care just to show up and it was too much. The rest of my year was completely altered by that because of the inequity and the fight for equity. And so what I would encourage is at this time as we're planning our 2020 to say, where is that financial disparity? How expensive is my free event for people who had to pay for my child care? How expensive is my free streaming event for people who need networking opportunities but can't access my space? How can I create conversation once I'm able to get back into the office but other people still can't? So that's the question that I would offer leaders to ask, where is the financial disparity in my community and then for immediacy right now as an individual, the power that you have is to remember that caregivers can't Zoom out. So when they are not on calls, they're being touched and needed and whether it's an elder dependent or whether it's a child, they're on the clock 24/7 engaging. There is no such thing as a checkout, especially now that people are sheltered. So ways that you can take care is to offer to Venmo a little bit for groceries or offer to do a virtual call with their children or with their children or with their elder dependent so that they can step away read a book or do the work or file for unemployment and do a call while you're reading a book to their children online. This idea of it takes a village is something that I got frustrated hearing when I had my first and then my second because I was like it always takes a village. Why are you telling that to me now? Because now you're so out of practice being my village that the learning curve is so steep. So now that we're getting a crash course in being a village I would just engage that like as leadership we can say, okay, how can we continue to be a village from this point? And in terms of self-care, for myself and for parents, like be really explicit with those boundaries on other people and say, I am not meeting with you before noon. I am not Zooming with you before noon because that is time that I need to care for my full-time work here in my home and here in my space and know that you are the expert of your home. That was something else that Delicia Turner Sonnenberg offered, you are the expert at this time with what your ecosystem needs. And so by giving yourself that agency and that power, you can remove that burden to having fulfill everyone else's expectations. Like full permission to let go of what the teachers and the bosses and everyone is telling you you should be doing to produce at this time. That's, yeah. That’s that.

Hannah: Rachel, thank you. I wish we're in the same space where our hearts are beating together. You all, I want to acknowledge that we were technically supposed to stop at 3:00 and I feel like there's a little bit more I want to dig into and also to recognize Ty's expression of partnering with time and Claudia just brought up something really important, which is that you want to say it, Claudia?

Claudia: I was just joking but it's real!

Hannah: It’s real.

Claudia: Relationship with time is messed up. Time didn't do nothing with you, time's all right. Time is fine, in fact, what we need to do is get a different relationship of time that isn't being controlled by white heterosexual patriarchal capitalism and white supremacy. But time didn't do nothing, I'm okay with time. So let's flex, I'm down for whatever.

Hannah: I love it, I love it. And as we create our village, as some of us are creating our villages for the first time, we are going to be flexed for just a moment because I wanna, there was another question we wanted to ask but we had a question that Ashley wanted to ask to the rest on the group which seems like a really beautiful way to end, actually. And so that's why I wanted to invite you to bring that in, Ashley. There's quite a bit of other stuff that was sort of rolling around in all of our heads that we'll try to share and maybe we can post about it. Maybe you all can, we can share some writing after the fact. But Ashley, do you want to jump in with that question?

Ashley: Yeah, just hearing all of the amazing work that you all are doing, as leaders we often work towards collective action. We move quickly, we act. And this is a time for collective reflection. So my question is a takeaway for the people participating in this call. What do you hope folks are spending time reflecting on during this time of our collective reflection?

Rachel: I hope we're reflecting on how much of our systems and maybe our own expectations of ourselves are aiming for a goal of success as opposed to source point of compassion. Like how can we start to flip that? Like as a daily practice of compassion for ourselves.

Cole: I love that, Rachel, and it's a part of the practice within the theatre work that I do. How can we tell stories and cause the least amount of harm? And I'm thinking of that as moving forward and then this period, also reflecting on some discordance with my family. What does it mean or how can we create platforms where is people can disagree? I think it does a real disservice when folks suggests to not talk about politics or religion or whatever it is. At the kitchen table because that means we aren't practicing how to be in the room with each other and how to manage that discordance and find consensus. So, yeah, for that.

Hannah: Are there reflections on reflection?

Claudia: I have been doing a lot of writing recently on what I call the white imagination and the limitations of the white imagination and the places in myself where I thought I was failing to be able to imagine solutions because I was trapped into this white imagination. So I'm hoping that everybody is bouncing against the walls of the white imagination and the patriarchal imagination and the capitalist imagination and finding some liberatory ideas do do something different.

Ty: Thank you, wow, I love that movement in there, Claudia. That was like, in Zoom, I'm like I need to move! So, in my reflection, yeah. I think, yeah, I'm reflecting on reflecting but I get to like also think about things like magic, which is like whoa! Here's like a queer indigenous person thinks about magic because I have the time to do so, which is fantastic in between things. So, yeah, I just wanted to thank everyone and also how to change my background on Zoom too, which, you know, oftentimes in meetings I don't get to but now it's also like social acceptable to do. [Ty changes his background.] So I've often been doing that and teaching people how to do it because it's so fun to also bring people to a different visual world which is also very theatrical experience. [Ty changes his background again.]

Hannah: Beautiful, I love these backgrounds. Oh, wow, this is really fantastic. I know we're going to breathe in and out in just a moment with Nicole. But, you know, to close us out I just want to actually offer one more quote from a hero of mine, hero writer of mine, Rebecca Solnit, who wrote recently an opinion piece in the New York Times about what we're all facing and I think, I was like reading it and I was like, oh, it's so interesting as it sort of goes, and then you all, just the brilliance that you have offered us throughout this call has made me feel like I just wanna put it out in the world to close us. Rebecca wrote "but like so many other disasters, "this one has revealed how interconnected we are. "How much we depend on the labor and good will of others, "how deeply and in meshed we are "in social, and economic systems, "and how prevention or survival "of something as deeply, boldly bodily personal as a disease "depends on our collective decisions "and those of our leadership." And in our cultural field and in our field of cultural producers, you folks are our leadership so thank you for shining the beacon for all of us and thank you for being with us today. And the producer's gonna offer a little closing but just our deepest gratitude to you, thank you.

Nicole: Oh, my gosh, these conversations are so incredible. I always come with my tissues and my hydration of water. So, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Okay, so as we move into taking this conversation deeper within ourselves, whoopsy! This last reflective five is around, can you think about an artist who has a strong community practice that inspired you? I know I just got to sit on this webinar with these amazing folks. So I hold you all as I do my reflective five. So we inhale, one, two, three, four, five. Hold, five, four, three, two, one. Exhale, one, two, three, four, five, thank you.

Ann Marie: Thank you so much, Nicole. So, before we completely close out, we want to offer an exercise. Thinking about today, what are three things that you want to explore more? Artists you learned about, tools, websites, articles, books, podcasts, past projects that you want to come back to? And we invite you to commit to learning more and exploring how you could apply these concepts of connectivity, tools for connection, across physical boundaries, and authentic community building to your practice as an artist. So write down three things that come to mind right now, and take some time, maybe 30 or 45 minutes later today or during the week, to check them out online or on social media, do that research. We really invite you to take some time to move into a space of curiosity and learning. And I learned that when I write things down, I'm more likely to follow through.


Abigail: Awesome, awesome. Well, everyone, thank you so much for being with us today. So I just want to give a round of applause to all of our panelists, thank you for being here. So, the recording of this conversation is going to be available within 24 hours on HowlRound.com, and our first sessions, which includes topics including emergency funding, legal support, national advocacy, financial strategies for individual artists, and reimagining how we gather are already on Howlround.com. If you learned something from this conversation today spread the word and spread the link.

Ann Marie: We always welcome feedback and suggestions for next weeks tithe, donation. So if you have some please send them to us at [email protected]. A-R-T-I-S-T R-E-S-O-U-R-C-E at H-O-W-L-R-O-U-N-D dot C-O-M. And on that note, we have a correction from our second webinar with Amy Smith which was focused on financial strategies for freelance artists. Because that took place before the Cares Act was passed, we wanted to offer this update which is that as per the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, a single member LLC. may apply for the SPA Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP. Applications for self-employed individuals will begin this Friday, April 10th, 2020. Information was developing quickly at that time and we are doing our best to keep up. So when that webinar was recorded that information was not yet available. So we encourage you to contact your bank and look for that resource through your existing banking relationship or Google SBA approved bank and see if you can find a loan servicer that can work with you.

Nicole: Thank you so much for that. So we'll be continuing these conversations every Tuesday on HowlRound TV at 2 p.m. eastern, 1 p.m. Central, 12 p.m. Mountain time, and 11 a.m. Pacific. Join us next Tuesday, April 14th for a conversation attending to our spirits, all of these conversations are attending to our spirits,. Healing and enduring during this traumatic time. I'm sorry, my screen is jumping, folks so it's a little hard for me to read. So thank you for your patients. We'll be announcing more Tuesday conversations soon, and we hope you'll join us! We also want to lift up our guests, our incredible partner HowlRound! They provided us with a platform and technology, funds for our A.S.L. interpreters and captioners, as well as some support for our panelists today.

Hannah: Awesome, and before we go, we wanna see the commons in action. We talk about the commons a lot. If you got something out of today's conversation, I know I did, we wanna ask that you direct that love and support towards the American Indian Community House in New York City which is where our donation today is going. You can use the Venmo which is our Venmo we set up once a week for this, which is C-O-V-1-9 dash F-A-R as in Freelance Artist Resources, to give any amount, a dollar or three, lets see how abundant we can be! We as a collective will be donating $750 to the community house And we're challenging our community who are tuning into this call to help make it 1,000. So if you can help us, we will be much appreciative. We'd be very grateful, that's what we would be, very grateful.

Nicole: Let’s take care of each other, keep connecting. And for more resources added every day visit the WordPress resource site covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com and we encourage you to join HowlRounds mailing list to be advised of future conversations.

Abigail: Thank you so much to Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Claudia Alick, Ashley Hansen, Cole Alvis, and Ty Dafoe, and thank you for spending time with us together today! Take care, and well talk again next Tuesday. Bye, everyone.

Hannah: Thank you, bye!

Ty: Thank you so much for having us on.

Hannah: Thank you.

Ty: Appreciate you all. Hello, is this thing still on? Oh. I guess donate. If you care you'll donate. Love you all, take good care. Oh, I'm supposed to not be talking. [Ty laughs as he logs off.]

image of cleaning wipes with the word "Don't Touch The Art"

Artists in a Time of Global Pandemic. Image by deYoung Museum and Quinn Fenlon.

Livestreamed the #ArtistResource panel It Was Always Possible: Centering the Leaders Who Were Here All Along (ASL & Captioned) on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 7 April 2020 at 8 a.m. HST (Honolulu, UST-10) / 10 a.m. AKDT (Juneau, UTC-8) / 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

Erasure and isolation (geographic and social) is not new to people with disabilities, carers (caregivers) and parents of small children, folks in rural communities, and Indigenous artists. Despite burdensome, unwelcoming, and sometimes punitive arts and culture sectors, these leaders continue to bring their energy and labor to creative practice. Our current crisis offers an opportunity for us to center the leadership and expertise of artists who already know how to create sustainable and resilient practices. What can we learn from folks who have been developing strategies for combating isolation and cultivating online, digital, and transmedia practices all along? How can we follow the lead of those who have been advocating for a shift in the way our cultural sector values artists? Join Rachel Spencer-Hewitt (Parent Artist Advocacy League), Claudia Alick (CallingUP), Ashley Hanson (Department of Public Transformation), Ty Defoe (writer & interdisciplinary artist) and Cole Alvis (actor, theatre maker, and Artistic Producer, lemonTree creations) and more to be announced for a discussion about how to work collectively, collaboratively, and imaginatively in a system that was not built with them in mind.

Panelist Bios

Ashley Hanson is a social practice and theater artist, community organizer, entrepenuer and advocate for arts in rural areas. She is the Founder and Director of the Department of Public Transformation, an artist-led organization that collaborates with local leaders in rural areas to develop creative strategies for community connection and civic participation. She is also the Founder and Director of PlaceBase Productions, a theater company that creates original, site-specific musicals celebrating small town life. She was recently named a 2018 Obama Foundation Fellow and a 2019 Bush Foundation Fellow for her work with rural communities. She holds a BA in Performance and Social Change from the University of Minnesota and an MA in Applied Theater from the University of Manchester (UK) with an emphasis on the role of arts in rural community development. She is a firm believer in the power of people, places, play and exclamation points!

Cole Alvis is a 2 Spirit theatre artist based in Tkarón:to with Métis-Chippewa, Irish and English heritage from the Turtle Mountains. They are a leader of lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, AdHoc Assembly and led the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance from 2013 – 2017. Recently, they performed in Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company / National Arts Centre) and directed the Dora nominated bug by Yolanda Bonnell (manidoons collective / Luminato), Lilies by Michel Marc Bouchard (lemonTree creations, Why Not Theatre and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) and co-directed, with Michael Greyeyes, an Indigenous opera double bill called Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit (Signal Theatre, National Sami Theatre, Soundstreams Canada). This autumn, bug by Yolanda Bonnell will be presented on the Métis Homelands during FemFest in Winnipeg, Manitoba (manidoons.com).


About HowlRound TV

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world's performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected], or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.

Bookmark this page

Log in to add a bookmark