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Talk Together: Cultural Appropriation

Thu, September 20th, 2018
7:00 pm
- 8:00 pm

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This student-led community dialogue will offer space to surface and dig into issues of cultural appropriation in art from both historical and contemporary contexts.

Here’s what to expect:
  • Participants will be invited to spend time in “Dance We Must: Treasures from Jacob’s Pillow, 1906-1940” independently and reflect before a more structured program begins.

  • A group of students will be in the exhibition talking with participants about the students’ individual responses to and critiques of the objects and their interpretive framing.

  • Participants will then divide into smaller groups for facilitated conversations to share responses to the exhibition, and talk about how those reactions relate to one of a set of broader questions:

What do we make of the phrases cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation?

How do we negotiate the categories of inspiration versus exploitation in the arts?

How might/should cultural institutions frame artistic histories tied to colonialism and racist


What are the responsibilities of community members –students, faculty, staff, and

administration– on a liberal arts campus to frame and grapple with histories tied to

colonialism and racism? What forms could this collective grappling take?


  • Facilitators (WCMA staff and students) in each group will take notes during the conversation. These notes will then be consolidated and made available to participants. They will help shape WCMA’s work, and will also be sent to the organizers of a broader campus program around these issues that is currently in development.

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