Intelligent Mischief presents a round table discussion about the Black Atlantic, arts activism, and decolonization.
In the spirit of the black artist lunch tables and the Caribbean tradition of liming, Intelligent Mischief brings together some the Boston’s most influential artist activists to have a conversation about the arts in the African Diaspora, social change, and decolonization.
There is a new pan-African arts movement growing in the Americas with third culture people playing a particular role. Intelligent Mischief will create a space for a conversation about this movement using these questions: What is a black arts renaissance, given the colonial histories of black people in the Americas? And how does it relate to the current political moment?
Kenneth Bailey was inspired to cofound the Design Studio for Social Intervention in 2006 while a fellow at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning’s Center for Reflective Community Practice. Since then, he has put DS4SI at the forefront of sharing design tools with communities of color to help them take on complex problems like social violence, food deserts, climate change, school closings, etc. His community-based social intervention work includes Action Lab (2012-2014), Public Kitchen (2011-2013), School Lab (2012-2013), Making Planning Processes Public (2013), STREETLAB: Upham’s (2013), M/B/T/A Lab (2013), and more. His work includes collaborations with SenseLab (Montreal), Theatrum Mundi, MIT’s Center for Civic Media, and Community Labor United. His recent speaking engagements include Creative Time (2013), Hand in Glove (2013), New England Foundation for the Arts (2013), Encuentro (Brazil) (2013), and more.
Cierra Michele Peters
Cierra Michele Peters is a sometime-y curator and DJ whose practice spans a variety of media and cultural contexts.
Amah Edoh is an anthropologist interested in how “Africa” as a category of thought is produced through material practices across African and non-African sites. Currently Postdoctoral Research Associate in Francophone African Studies in MIT’s Global Studies and Languages program, Edoh will be starting as Assistant Professor of African Studies in the same department in summer 2017. The foundational concern underlying Edoh’s work is the makings of black African subjectivities: how are black African bodies imagined, made, interpreted, lived in, and how is this made visible through creative practice?
Edoh’s current book project is a multi-sited ethnography examining how ideas about “The New Africa” are produced and enacted along the trajectory of Dutch Wax cloth (a variety of the textile known as “African print”) from design in Holland to use in Togo. The ethnography takes as its object of analysis the practices of textile designers, advertisers, sellers, wearers, and tailors along the cloth’s path and considers what ideas, social relations, and subjectivities are produced alongside the material outputs of these actors’ practices. Edoh is Togolese-American and grew up in Togo, Zimbabwe, and the DC area.
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Aisha Shillingford is an artist, trainer, facilitator, and social change strategist who has been living in Boston since 1998. With over 15 years of community organizing and program development experience in Boston, Aisha dreams of a day when we all are living the truth that community is the answer to every problem and when we are truly prefiguring the community we wish to see in our every day practices as change makers.
She received her BA in Environmental Analysis and Policy in 2002 from Boston University, an MSW in Macro Practice with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families in 2009 from Boston College, and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship in 2014 from Simmons College. Aisha gets her jollies building the cooperative movement and ending all oppression by working with the Boston Center for Community Ownership and palling around with the AORTA Collective. She is also an Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change. On an ordinary day she can be found riding her bike around the city, picking up trash for her found-object-art obsession, and sewing random articles of clothing and making functional objects.
Her biggest art inspirations include El Anatsui, Ai Weiwei, and Basquiat. She is obsessed with the role of mestizaje and creolization in fostering cultural shift and is trying to get free.
Chrislene DeJean has been creating mischief since birth and continues to by hacking social justice issues at Intelligent Mischief. She is a Boston native, born to two great Haitian parents, and a Smith graduate with a BA in government and dance minor. Those two degrees reflect her passion for social movement and physical movement. She’s currently serving on several Boston local initiatives: Mattapan United Steering Committee, Mattapan Cultural Arts Development, and African Repertory Theater. She is also the Boston cultural agent for the US Department of Arts and Culture. She really loves to dance, especially afro-diasporic dances. Her dream is to do ethnographic dance research for an excuse to keep on dancing all day. Before Intelligent Mischief, she worked as a sexual health educator at a teen health center, where she began her practice of participatory artwork on projects that communicate reproductive health issues.
Terry Marshall has been involved in social justice movements for over 20 years and founded Intelligent Mischief in 2013. Born in Boston, his feet are firmly planted in Barbados where his family is from. Terry’s work has spanned a range of intersecting creative and social justice endeavors including cultural organizing, creative production, curation, writing, cultural research, dance, event production, design, and political strategy.
Terry is interested in traveling and developing an international network of creatives that share a vision of transforming the world through communications and making their beliefs real.
Terry is a superstar facilitator and brilliant cultural strategist. Prior to Intelligent Mischief he founded Streets is Watching and the Hip Hop Media Lab. He is an affiliate trainer and consultant for the Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS), a Beautiful Trouble trainer, co-founder of The BlackOut Collective and sits on the board for Center for Artistic Activism.
Ping-Ann is an associate professor in the area of cultural preservation and representation. She is a scholar-curator in the area of socio-cultural anthropology with experience in Tongan/Pacific Islander material culture and migration to New Zealand and the US. Her main focus is on textiles as embodiments of kinship, gender, and material relations. She looks at how Tongan women’s hand-made bark cloth and fine mats play a role as gifts, commodities, and symbols of tradition in the politics of Tongan diaspora. She has published in several scholarly journals: Pacific Studies (2010 and forthcoming), Pacific Arts (2007), and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2008 with Niko Besnier). Her monograph, Creating a Nation with Cloth: Women, Wealth, and Tradition in the Tongan Diaspora, was published by Berghahn Books in summer 2013. The book explores the role of diaspora community, transnational art production, and kin-based exchange in nation-building by Tongan women in New Zealand.
Having grown up in Trinidad, Addo also has scholarly interests in diasporic movement and festival costume production, especially as they pertain to Caribbean communities in Boston. She regularly attends east coast US diasporic Caribbean Carnival festivals to conduct ethnographic research on authenticity, performance, and women’s entrepreneurship, and is a willing participant observer of material culture in motion. She also ran a community project at the intersection of visual arts, natural history, and community activism in California, published an exhibit catalog, and worked on a documentary video on her work with Tongan communities and their traditional textile arts in Oakland, CA.