Find me at UBC’s International Women’s Day Festival
On March 9th, I’ll be returning to The University of British Columbia to speak about creativity and art and social change. Strangely enough, I’ll be one of the classrooms that I once inhabited as an art history student. Little did I know that one day I’d be back for Turn It Up and Disrupt.
My first talk in the morning will be talk with Q&A on social change and creativity. In the afternoon, Laura Farina and I stage a participatory writing session under our artistic collective called The Imprint. Come write with us!
Author Leanne Prain (Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit, Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery, and Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles) will give a talk about how artists, designers, and other creatives can use their work to activate social or political change.
What can we do as designers, artists, and makers to incite positive change in our communities? How do we make space for creativity, while also expanding our practice to include other voices? How do we know if our work has made impact? How can we scale our practice and share it with others? How can we change history by documenting and unearthing artistic practices? Why does collaboration make us stronger?
Inspired by Judy Chicago’s 1979 visual artwork The Dinner Party, which invited accomplished women from history to fictional dinner party; Invite Her to the Table asks participants to invite women and femmes, to tell us who they value. Through participatory writing, we will invite women that we admire to attend a contemporary dinner party in 2019. We will write on the tablecloths, napkins and place settings – and bring others to the table.
This project is presented by The Imprint, a literary collective in Vancouver that engages citizens through participatory writing projects.
To find out more about the Festival, and to purchase tickets, visit their website.
My friend, the brilliant poet Laura Farina, and I had a conversation once about the idea of a ‘cultural homeland’. She said that a cultural homeland is not the place that you were born, or even the place that you may want to live – but it is a place that you return to creatively again and again, if not in person, in your mind. It is a place that sparks your creativity and makes you feel emotionally sated. Your creative homeland opens you up to a bigger life.
There are places that I’ve never been to that I think could easily be my cultural homeland, such as Santa Fe, New Mexico; Savannah, Georgia; and Haida Gwaii, BC.
There are places I’ve visited that inspire me, where I’ve had fun, but they don’t linger much after I leave: Monterey, California; Tofino, BC; and Portland, Oregon. I think they must be someone else’s cultural homeland.
Then there’s New York City, a entity that’s been lurking in my subconscious and has been teaching me about dreaming, channeling itself through books and movies to me since I was a small child. I’ve dreamed of building tree forts in Central Park; hiding out in the New York Public Library, and writing all night in a brick-lined cafe. In the three visits that I’ve had there; I’ve found all of the legends that NYC promises seem to be true. It is a city where skyscrapers and parks co-exist, the rich and poor mingle, where graveyards remain quiet on busy streets, and where the impossible seems to happen on a daily basis – New York is everyone’s cultural homeland. It belongs to all of us. There’s a reason locals call it, so matter-of-factly, ‘The City’. It is a place where history and the present day walk together hand-in-hand.
This year I decided that New Orleans – a city of beauty and resilience; twisted tree roots and broken sidewalks; feather masks and painted houses; loud jazz and light rain; is my current cultural homeland. It is under my skin and I return to it in my thoughts over and over again.