An unhelpful guide to surviving the battles of racial equity in art academia
The Handbook Project is an exploration of an “unhelpful guide” for navigating arts academia and art spaces as a person of colour through a tactile and social “art practice”. This project is an intuitive and reflective journey of deinstitutionalising my mind and my making (even though I still operate within the institution), through the lens of race. My research explores how retrospective (which developed into reparative) forms of making can work towards a decolonised sense of imagination. To aid this exploration, I utilise materials that I am very familiar with when it comes to academia, such as annotations, workshops, essay writing, paper and photographs. These sit alongside conventional methods of artmaking such as photography, sculpture, and print. I introduce notions of slowness and repetition to these materials in order to disrupt my habitual behaviours with them (in the context of academia).
The project is situated in the following three main concepts of freedom: the freedom-of-knowledge, the freedom-of-space, and the freedom-of-language. These “freedoms” simultaneously function as pathways and pillars to navigating the concepts of race, and the potential explorations of racial equity in context to this project. To understand how these freedoms might manifest, I move between my experiences as a student, as a mentor, and as staff (of the University) to observe and critically engage with how my BIpeersOC and I can exist here safely.