“I am a Universe” – Healing Arts Workshop #iamauniverse


Our proposal was accepted as a skillshare for Detroit’s Allied Media Conference 2015 for their “Healing Justice Practice Space”

Finally, after almost 6 months in development, Loreto and I will be piloting this workshop Saturday June 20, 2015!

FullSizeRender(4)Skillshare Description: “I am a Universe” – Healing Arts Workshop #iamauniverse – How might we apply the expressive arts as tools to make visible, hold space for, and transform embodied experiences of systemic policing, violence and racism? In community we will explore a guided multimedia performance experience that releases the metamorphosing potential of drawing, song, storytelling and movement to heal beyond wounds and vision beyond surviving.

“I am a Universe” is an attempt to reshape the narrative of oppression and contribute a safe(r) space wherein communities of color brutalized by state-sanctioned violence may find community support to process their trauma in humanizing ways through performative art-making.

This workshop was designed to provide an expressive method for communities of color to make visible stories of police brutality, systemic racism and everyday racial violence expressed physically on their citizen* bodies. The tools of “I am a Universe,” namely exercises in drawing, spoken word/song and performance, have been designed to facilitate participants into a performative experience that hopes to relay the transformative potential of these various media, uplift participants, and provide healing through sharing, listening and re-interpreting in community.

[* We apply the term “citizen” in its broadest sense, referring to any person who is part of a society by virtue of living within the geographical space and participating, in whichever ways, in various contexts, whether documented or undocumented.]

This project grew from Pampi’s personal experience with racism and policing growing up in the States as a second-generation child; many years of listening to communities of color regarding policing; many years of witnessing evidence of brutal policing on media targeted mainly at black and brown peoples; being energized by the tenacious queer and youth-led, non-leader-centered Black Lives Matter organizing nationwide that is reclaiming the media spin; and a personal commitment to art-making in community for the express purpose of dismantling racism.

Through the many months of organizing by many organizers nationwide around #blacklivesmatter, there is an increasing openness and courage on the part of people who have been abused due to systemic violence enforced by state agents to speak out, braving re-opening old wounds. There is a wide-spreading feeling that the effects of trauma, both past and present, physical, emotional and spiritual, are in dire need of address and healing in community. This project is an attempt to address this call.