Monday, November 4, 2019

The 2019 Field Network Conference

In April 5-7 this year we hosted the third Field Network Conference in Portland, Oregon. Held every other year (leap-frogging with the National Touring Exchange), the Conference gathers Fieldwork facilitators and participants from across the country to further develop the Fieldwork methodology, as well as to discuss other issues impacting artists in their respective communities.

The Conference welcomed Field Network site representatives from all over the country (representing The Field NYC were Executive Director Jennifer Wright Cook, Deputy Director Shawn René Graham, and Fieldwork facilitator Pele Bauch), joined by Portland-based artists, presenters, funders, and audiences for a tightly packed weekend of art-sharing and discussions - on stage and of both the round- and long-table nature.

While feedback forms the foundation of the Fieldwork process, the 2019 Field Network Conference schedule focused particularly on how equity (or lack thereof) shapes feedback in contemporary culture: How are artists using feedback? Is the feedback we’re getting useful or equitable? Who gets to give feedback? Whose feedback counts?

Brett Campbell of Oregon ArtsWatch recently published, "Field of Vision," an in-depth review of the Conference not just summarizing the weekend's programming, but also calling out the challenges in tackling inequity in the arts in collaboration with the very individuals who benefit from said inequities.
"These funders, even those who don’t use public funds (but do get tax breaks for donations), play a vital role in determining what we see and hear on Oregon stages," Cambell writes, "and that role demands scrutiny and constructive feedback from artists, arts lovers, and the rest of the community."
Read the full article here.

Special thanks to then-Network Manager Katherine Longstreth, and to Conference coordinator and current Network Manager Jen Mitas, and conference consultant Subashini Ganesan for organizing such an ambitious event, and for bringing both The Field Network and their local arts community together (in what feels like such an organic way) to engage in these important, pressing discussions.

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