BIWOC Hamilton Summit: Cultivating a Culture of Safety and Belonging
Jennifer Graves »
Melissa Blount »
“The challenge these days is to be somewhere, to belong to some particular place, invest oneself in it, draw strength and courage from it, to dwell in a community.” - bell hooks
I’ve been to three Wayzgooses and with each visit noticed there was very little diversity when it came to presenters and attendees. The museum feels to me like a shrine to white men, a preservation of a time in history when anyone other than white men were kept out of the room and off the press. Last year I encouraged a new friend, Jenn Graves, a Los Angeles-based book artist and letterpress printer, to attend her first Hamilton Wayzgoose. While in Two Rivers our friendship blossomed as we contemplated all of the incredible resources Hamilton has to offer. We asked ourselves, “How do we get more people of color, and in particular women of color, in the room?” I reached out to Stephanie Carpenter, and Jen Farrell to expand the conversation. We proposed an invitation to a core group of BIPOC women, from different parts of the country, art practices and skill levels to spend a long weekend experimenting, plotting, planning, connecting and building community. We hope to grow this first convening at Hamilton into a larger opportunity for BIPOC women to attend Wayzgoose, become familiar with Hamilton and engage with its rich history. Our presentation will share the experience of this first step in introducing new and dynamic voices to Hamilton and thoughts for future activities.