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Program Highlights



Dash: Metaphor and Connection

(Nighttime, Ticketed Event)

Blanton Museum

Blanton Auditorium
Edgar A. Smith Building, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin
Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd. at Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78712

Torkwase Dyson, curator/moderator
Pairs: Wura-Natasha Ogunji and Tisa Bryant
Carl Pope and Ronaldo V. Wilson
M. Asli Dukan and Nalo Hopkinson

Dash will connect visual artists with writers to explore the relational patterns between form, content and the context of language. From the pairs, each visual artist will lead an observational and interactive discussion of the writers’ work.

Black Queer Literature: Preservation, Interpretation and Criticism

Matt Richardson, Jafari Allen, Marlon Bailey

There is an emerging world of literary scholarship dedicated to acknowledgment of Black queer literary accomplishment. This scholarship comes from individual scholars' desires to preserve (through continued publication) and to foreground the political and artistic contributions of Black LGBT writers across the African Diaspora. This panel will explore the research and critical interpretations of Black LGBT literature from scholars around the country and consider the academic struggles of doing this necessary work.

Contemporary Caribbean LGBTQ Writing

Thomas Glave, moderator
Panelists Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, R. Erica Doyle, Ana Lara, Anton Nimblett

This panel will focus on the redoubtable presence of LGBTQ writing in contemporary Caribbean literature (Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone, Dutch), taking into account the groundbreaking 2008 anthology Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles and works by other Caribbean writers. Contributors to Our Caribbean will discuss their work and the journeys that led them to the discovery of—and participation in —a wider LGBTQ Caribbean discussion, and the ways in which their work and the work of other LGBTQ Caribbean writers speaks (or doesn’t speak) to the work of African American and Latin American LGBTQ creative writers, activists, and scholars.

Why Do You Write/Read and How Do You Succeed?

G. Winston James, moderator
Panelists Laurinda Brown, James Earl Hardy, Alphonso Morgan, Matt Richardson

Join this panel of fiction and nonfiction writers as they discuss what motivates them to produce work, and how the books they read and the lives they live inform their writing in terms of subject matter, style, form, target audience and other literary choices. These authors will also tackle the complex questions of what “success” means to them as individuals, artists and educators in today’s literary and media marketplace and how they are striving to achieve that success.

Black LGBTQ Publishing and New Technologies in the 21st Century

John Keene, moderator
Panelists Steven G. Fullwood, Reginald Harris, Lisa C. Moore

This panel will explore the nexus between the changes in publishing and its contemporary state in the U.S., and Black LGBTQ literature. Panelists will talk about the challenges and possibilities for publishing today, especially in light of the current economic crisis, discussing the relationship between authors, the remaining mainstream publishing houses, smaller, independent presses, and other institutions in the publishing marketplace. What are the prospects for Black LGBTQ writers today? Black LGBTQ small-press publishers? Potential Black LGBTQ bookstore owners? What opportunities do new technologies, such as just-in-time and Web-based publishing, blogs and e-books, offer? Will these changes obviate the role and need for some of the longtime elements of publishing, such as newspaper reviews, agents, and the bookstore return system?

Witness to Tradition: LGBT African Media Makers

Notisha Massaquoi, moderator
Panelists Samiya Bashir, Zanele Muholi, Nick Mwaluko, Selly Thiam

With increasing homophobia and violence against African LGBT people, artistic work created by African LGBT artists have become an act of resistance, documentation and a vehicle to express isolation and frustration. The work has also been instrumental in creating an African LGBT community that exists on the Continent and abroad. A panel of LGBT African (first generation, migrated and still living on the African Continent) media-makers, playwrights, filmmakers, writers, photographers, and documentarians will discuss the creation of an African LGBT aesthetic and African LGBT art as witness, documentation and response to increase homophobia on the African Continent and abroad. What does it mean to be an LGBT African Artist? What is our role in the global movement for LGBT rights? How does our work reflect an African LGBT aesthetic?

Canaries in the Mine: Black Queer Protagonists and Resistance Saves the World
(and You, Too)

Andre Lancaster, moderator
Panelists Aurin Squire, Sharon Bridgforth, Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Thomas Allen Harris

In this discussion, Freedom Train Productions, a political theatre based in New York City, gathers two past resident playwrights along with two scholars whose work focuses on social change. The panel will make a clean break from the ghettoization, misrepresentation and commercial exploitation of black queer texts, culture and activism. Canaries in the Mine will highlight struggles within the respective new works by Sharon Bridgforth and Aurin Squire; then scholars Omi Osun and Thomas Allen Harris will consider broader applications of social justice that arise from these new works of political theater. Canaries in the Mine is part of Freedom Train’s larger efforts to show solidarity with critical movements and struggles, locally and around the world.

Pot Calling Kettle Black: Heterosexism in Homo-Hop

avery r. young, C.C. Carter, Tim'm T. West

Is homo-hop at its core supporting or combating homophobia, misogyny and violence through its music? Is it the responsibility of the homo-hop artist to be more socially conscious? Will there ever be an open homo-hop artist in mainstream hip-hop? Panel of hip-hop poets, emcees and journalists.

The Black LGBTQ Blogosphere

Reginald Harris, moderator
Darian Aaron (Darian Out Loud)
Pam Spaulding (Pam’s House Blend)

Popular bloggers discuss how they got started in cyberspace, why they blog (and why you should too), and the pleasures and difficulties of this new form of writing and journalism. Will blogs replace more traditional means of information dissemination like newspapers? And what do they see as their role in our LGBTQ community?

Prevention Literature that Emphasizes Literature

Steven G. Fullwood, moderator
Panelists Cheryl Clarke, Marvin K. White

This panels explores the development, execution and responses of community-based organizations (CBOs) and AIDS service organizations (ASOs) producing literature for black gay communities challenged by HIV/AIDS and other health issues, what the implications are for community organizing, and what future interventions might take shape.

Building LGBTQ Collections for Librarians

Steven G. Fullwood, moderator
Panelists Kerrie Cotten Williams, Ronald Gauthier, Reginald Harris

This panel focuses on keeping black queer writing and culture alive and circulating, specifically within public libraries and archival institutions. Guided by moderator Steven G. Fullwood, founder and project director for the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. Panelists Williams, archivist at the Auburn Avenue Research Center on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, will speak about the library’s acquisition of the records of Zami, a black lesbian organization in Atlanta; Gauthier, branch manager at Gwinnett County Library in Atlanta, discusses creating one of the first special collections of gay and lesbian literature at the New Orleans Public Library; and Harris, librarian at Enoch Pratt Free Public Library in Baltimore, talks about his experiences in fostering a more black queer friendly space at the library.

What’s Sex Got to Do With It? Documenting & Celebrating Our Sexual Selves

Panelists: Laurinda Brown, James Earl Hardy, G. Winston James

Sex. It—along with money—makes the world go ’round. And given the popularity of erotica collections and novellas—one of the few literary genres to keep growing in the past decade—a portion of the public can’t get enough of it. Yet, even in a culture where sex is used to sell just about everything, its depiction can still cause quite the stir. And for black SGL writers, there is always the chance you will be accused of confirming or endorsing stereotypes rooted in white supremacist and homophobic ideology. This panel analyzes the cultural, political, social, sexual and racial paradigms and pitfalls black SGL writers face when tackling same-sex desire head-on. Is there an “appropriate” way to describe any sex act without it being labeled smut or gratuitous? What’s the difference between erotic and pornographic? Can sex be a/the character in a poem or work of fiction? What elements separate good erotica from the bad?


Sweets from the Sweet: intergenerational black queer language (re) production

Moya Z. Bailey, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Julia R. Wallace, Yolo Akili

Sweet. Sugar in the shoes, funny. Queer. What do these terms mean and how do we relate to them as self identified black queers? While “queer” may translate and feel accurate in our peer group we find that with lgbt or straight elders it doesn’t and it doesn’t have its own currency among younger kids. As we work to reappropriate language we bear witness to the need for an intergenerational dialog that will help bridge gaps in meaning. Please join us in a qreative exploration of ways we can make ourselves heard, felt and seen across generational divides as we work to uncover a language that liberates and transforms. We will share current projects in which we are actively reworking language and invite audience members into written and verbal exercises that help convey the messages we want. The roundtable will be documented so that the interaction can continue through the multiple multi-media entities that the panelists have created. 

Broadened Visions: Black LGBTQ Writers and Global Human Rights

Thomas Glave, Moderator
Panelists Jafari Allen, Samiya Bashir, Pamela Booker, Andre Lancaster

This presentation will explore questions centered on Thomas Glave’s black LGBTQ identity, rooted in Jamaica and coming of age in the U.S. and Jamaica, and move into questions on our involvement, as black LGBTQ writers from a variety of places, in global human rights. That is, do we see any kind of connection between the work of our imaginations and the present situation in Gaza, or in Darfur? Do we make connections in our work between realities like problematic U.S. foreign policy in African countries and our own realities outside Africa? In posing these and other questions, this roundtable will explore what it might mean to be a (black LGBTQ) “political” writer in an era when the political realities of many nations are invariably interconnected, but also when human rights around the world continue to be violated. What is our connection as a self-identified black gay person to a torture victim in, say, Darfur, or to a prisoner of war and torture victim in Guantanamo Bay, taking into account the fact that many such people may not be of African descent and may not be LGBTQ? In asking these questions, this roundtable would like to “unsettle” some of the “identity nationalism”—and in particular the African-American ethnocentrism—that sees “black” as strictly African American, and that, in some instances, seems to view our involvement, literarily, socially, or otherwise, with anyone who is not black or queer (or both) as distinctly odd.

Dialoguing about the Arts Across the Black LGBTQ Diaspora

John Keene, Tisa Bryant, Yoruba Richen, Colin Robinson

This roundtable discussion will explore the dialogues that have historically existed and which are currently underway, as well as those that might be constructed and reformulated, about art and related modes of cultural production between Black LGBTQ people in the United States and across the Black Diasporic world. One area of specific focus will be on the circulation of cultural (and social) production, including a discussion of artistic works and projects that imagine and foster transnational black LGBTQ conversations and dialogues.

NOTE: Fire & Ink III: Cotillion acknowledges this is a working schedule, and reserves the right to change the Cotillion program. Fire & Ink III: Cotillion is not responsible for any act or omission of speakers from the program.

register now buttonregistration ends Oct. 1


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