The Black Embodiments Studio Call for Residents

The Black Embodiments Studio

The Black Embodiments Course Flyer

The Black Embodiments Studio Project Narrative

Winter 2018  Residency

Directed by Dr. Kemi  Adeyemi

Assistant Professor of Gender, Women  & Sexuality  Studies


The Black Embodiments Studio is a writing residency  that brings graduate  students  from  a range of disciplines and knowledge-based practices together  to query how definitions of blackness  are produced and  expressed  through  visual,  aural,  and  affective realms—engaging three domains that  underwrite  the physical  and  metaphysical dimensions of  inhabiting  black  skin.  In focusing on  embodiments,  plural,  The  Studio  highlights   the  term  as  a  verb that  invokes  activity  and movement, as well as the temporary  and fleeting. The language  of embodiments clears  space to consider  the repeated, performative constitution of blackness  while remaining  attuned  to the material  consequences of  being  black; attending, in other  words,  to the traumatic legacies  of being  black  that  are continually  reinvigorated by spectacular violence  done  to black  people  as much as the quotidian, often-mundane moments where blackness  is produced outside  of (while never being inextricable  from)  a rhetoric  of violence.

The Black  Embodiments Studio  thereby  provides  residents  a  structure  of  support  to  critically engage  the diverse politics, practices, and pleasures  surrounding  black  embodiments since the 1970s.  Residents  are  steeped  in  a  variety  of  aesthetic  practices including  dance,  visual  art, sound,   and   new  media,   and   critical,   theoretical  standpoints  emanating  from   art  history, performance studies,  critical  race studies,  and more.  Crucially,  residents  gain  intimate  access to artists,  scholars, and curators  invited  to be “in residence”  with The Studio, as their work on contemporary  black   embodiments  models   the  innovation,  accessibility,  and  criticality   that residents  strive for in their own writing.  Guests such as the artist Liz Mputu (Fall ’17) give public presentations on their practice  and participate in closed  workshops  with residents.


Residents  of The Black Embodiments Studio will meet 5-6 times  over Winter quarter in a 2- credit  microseminar where they will deeply engage  with innovative  modes  of writing and of presenting  information that will enhance  their critical  dexterity surrounding  race, blackness, and embodiments. The brief syllabus  will be composed of writing that bridges  academic, contemporary arts writing, and writing for the public  sphere,  paying  particular  attention  to the genre of exhibition  catalogs and reviews. During this time, residents  will also develop  and workshop  at least 1 piece of short-form (600-2,000 words), publishable arts criticism concerning black  embodiments, developing  their writing to be accessible to multiple  audiences and shaping  their practice  as public  intellectuals. This writing is meant  for outlets  that press against  the boundaries  of academic writing, such as Performa Magazine, Art Lies, and Artforum and the journal of the Jacob  Lawrence  Gallery, Monday; but may also be incorporated into larger thesis projects  or to serve as starting  points  for longer, scholarly  peer-reviewed articles. The quarter’s guest resident  is Sampada Aranke, whose book  Death’s Futurity: The Visual Culture of Death in Black Radical Politics is forthcoming, and whose essays on the art of the Black Panther Party, Faith Ringgold, Saidie Barnett, David Hammons, and more have been commissioned by the Charlie James Gallery, the Tate Modern, and e-Flux, to name  but a few.


While The Black  Embodiments Studio  centers  racial  blackness, The Studio  will be of interest  to all students  invested  in thinking  through  the  intersections of racialization,  visual  cultures,  and critical  writing  practices. Interested  graduate  students  should  submit  a 2-page Letter of Inquiry in PDF format to  Dr.  Kemi  Adeyemi  (  by December  22, 2017,  5 pm  PST. This  letter  should   detail   the  applicant’s  own  critical   practice,  how  thinking   through   black embodiments  may  be  generative   to  it, and  what  they  hope  to  gain  from  the  methods  of engagement offered by  The Studio.  10  residents  will  be  notified of acceptance via email  by January 1, 2018.