In one week, the BCRW conference The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia will be showcasing a diverse and accomplished range of contributers presenting and leading workshops on topics that range from community design and remix culture to open education and feminist parenting. This is our third round of introductions (read earlier posts here and here) highlighting the work of six Utopia contributors who educate, organize, document, and design to change the status quo.
Utopia will kick off on Friday, March 1 with a screening of Wildness, an explosive documentary and “visual extravaganza” exploring the intersection of queer community, creativity, class, and “safe space” through its magical-realist portrayal of the Silver Platter, a historic Los Angeles bar home to Latin/LBGT immigrant communities. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers Wu Tsang (Director) and Roya Rastegar (Co-writer). You can watch the theatrical trailer or read more about the intensions behind the film in Wu’s essay for the 2012 Whitney Biennial (PDF), which featured the documentary.
Leading a workshop on Creating a New Feminist Framework for K-12 Education at Utopia, Ileana Jiménez is a high school English teacher in New York and a pioneer in the field of social justice education. She is committed to “transforming education for gender, racial, and economic justice” as well as teaching students “how to make their writing a part of a larger public discourse through blogging.” Read more about her efforts in a recent video from The Atlantic or on her blog, Feminist Teacher.
Pam McMichael is an activist and organizer, as well as the Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center, which “serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the South” on issues of justice, equality, and sustainability. Pam will partner with artist Melanie Cervantes for Building Utopia: Stitching the Lessons from Stories and Visions of Women in our Lives as a Utopia keynote speaker.
Always inspiring, Amber Hollibaugh of Queers for Economic Justice will be leading a Utopia workshop on Desiring Change. Learn more about Amber’s radical vision in this video, and don’t miss her contributions to The Scholar & Feminist Online, A New Queer Agenda.
A growing national network, Design for America (DFA) aims to overcome the traditional band-aid approach to college community service by partnering interdisciplinary, enthusiastic undergraduate teams with local community organizations to develop sustainable products and systems that address community need through social innovation. The Barnard-Columbia DFA Studio will host a student-led Utopia workshop introducing the concept of human-centered design as a tool for creative problem solving and local change-making.
Independent scholar Gwendolyn Beetham has has worked as a researcher on gender issues for the United Nations and at the National Council for Research on Women in New York City. She has written for a number of publications and journals, including the review “Assisted Reproduction as a Queer Thing” in the BCRW’s The Scholar & Feminist Online. Gwendolyn will co-facilitate the Utopia workshop Beyond “Food Fights”: Re-imagining Food Justice with BCRW’s Pamela Phillips.