In January 2016 I wrote a blog piece celebrating The Field’s 30 years and discussing our commitment to non-curation, accessibility and equity.
On the cusp of President-elect Trump’s inauguration and as The Field ‘s 30th birthday year wanes, the work we have to do is more urgent and more obvious.
Some folks wondered why my last post started with my “social justice” CV: as a white woman leading an organization pursuing and activating equity I’ve been asked pointedly about my education in racial justice and cultural equity. I felt like it was important to say out loud – not to brag but to provide context for my work as The Field’s Executive Director.
What work have we done lately?
So much. We are wiped out but we are inspired:
- In the summer we offered PISAB’s Undoing Racism in partnership with FAB, Soho Rep and the High Line. 50 folks hard at work learning about institutional racism and analyzing power.
- One of our favorite new things: I Hate Your Work (IHYW)! Launched in Portland, OR and led by Field Deputy Director, Shawn René Graham, IHYW examines bias in adjudication. Coming to The Fire This Time Festival in January and Gibney Dance in May.
- Field Leadership Fund! Hear from the Fellows and Advisors here. I’ve never been more challenged nor more thrilled by a program. One big learning: how do I (and The Field) replicate injustice and white supremacy unwittingly in our policies, practices and programs. Who cleans up and who signs the checks? Is one basic power question I’ve learned to ask and analyze.
- Questions like these, and more, will be activated on Saturday, January 28th at our first ever Activate Equity forum. Check it. We have a sliding scale, modeled after Arts and Democracy’s! The amazing Renée Watson is opening the day.
There is so much work to do.
And some of the hardest is the least visible – because it’s so old, so embedded and so scary. But bit by bit, artist by artist, person by person, we shift and we move and we change.
By Jennifer Wright Cook