Rewriting Racial Equity in(to) NYC Dance and Performance Networks will form partnerships with two organizations that support performing artists and their publics, working to build audiences and writers for performance while shifting patterns of racial and economic inequity in the dance and performance field.

This research team’s leader is Digital Publics Fellow Jaime Shearn Coan, Department of English, Graduate Center, CUNY.

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The project will support the Clinton-Hill space JACK and their year-long series of performances, workshops and discussions, Reparations365: From Memory to Movement. It will do so by developing content for a project website that will encompass oral history, video, performance reviews/responses, event documentation, compilation of data, and resources. Research team leader Jaime Shearn Coan was a core participant of The People’s Think Tank, which grew out of Reparations 365, and met over the fall for a series of Action Labs with the purpose of determining next steps. Since a focus on solidarity economies emerged in late 2017, The People’s Think Tank has been in the midst of determining what shape that their initiative will take going forward. Jaime will also serve as an editor for community members as they develop new writing projects that revolve around the topic of reparations. Writers will receive stipends and have their work published on JACK’s website and The Center for the Humanities Blog. On March 16, 2018, a follow-up roundtable event will take place at the Graduate Center focusing on Reparations and the Performing Arts in NYC.

Partnering with the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), an organization that coordinates rehearsal and performance space for NYC dance artists across 13 CUNY campuses, this project will seek to strengthen links between CUNY students and faculty, CDI dance artists, and the larger dance and performance community in New York City. This partnership will include a Spring 2018 undergraduate course at Queens College titled Writing about Performance, taught by Jaime. Students will pair with CDI artists—attending performances and rehearsals, and producing writing alongside the practices and performances of the artists, with the ultimate goal of developing a piece to be published in the CDI online platform, From the Floor. The politics and material effects of reading and representing bodies in motion will be a thread running through all discussions. A late Spring event to take place at the Graduate Center will bring together CDI artists, students, and emerging and established CUNY-based scholars. These two initiatives support structures for the diversification of dance criticism and for expanding the role of dance institutions in New York City in order to more fully reflect the neighborhoods and communities in which they are situated.

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