[-empyre-] week 4: social practice and institutions

Michaela Leslie-Rule michaela.leslie.rule at gmail.com
Thu May 26 11:03:08 AEST 2016


Thanks so much for the opportunity to participate in this discussion. I
look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue.

My professional practice is concerned with using art and participatory
media practices to build opportunities that amplify marginalized voices in
communities. I often collaborate with philanthropic institutions in this
work, either by collecting or synthesizing information gleaned from within
communities, or by connecting community members to institutions so that
they may better inform programming and policy.

My work has primarily been focused outside of the United States (largely in
Sub Saharan Africa), but recently I've begun working with communities of
children living near Salinas, CA and with a community of elders in the
Mississippi Delta. I define my professional work as storytelling that lies
at the intersection of research, advocacy and communication. Importantly I
don't distinguish between the art I produce as a media maker and the art I
produce with communities that use media as one discipline among many

Right now I'm working on two long term projects that deal with the idea of
spiritual technologies in Black American communities in the South and South
East United States. One deals with exploring metered hymn singing, its role
within the black church (baptist and methodist) as a transformative ritual,
and the potential application of this 'spiritual technology' to secular
communities working within a social justice or social impact space. The
other deals with agricultural knowledge held by elderly black farmers in
the Mississippi Delta and ways in which this knowledge can be transmitted
to young parents and their children through storytelling.

Other past projects have included:

- Global campaign around women and girls, science and technology
- Media project with girls in Rwanda and Malawi
- First generation Latina girls discussing sexual and reproductive health
in Salinas
- Arts intensive conducted annually in South Bronx (NY) with girls raised
in the projects there

As I continue working around and within philanthropic institutions I find
myself struggling with questions relating to the ethics of accepting
institutional support and a oft heard 'new' equity agenda that includes
increased focus/funding of *voice *and diversity, when in most cases
institutional wealth is sustained in some manner by social inequality.
I'm also interested in how the impacts of social practice projects are
measured, when is it important to measure impact or change as a result of
social practice art projects and who should do the measuring.

I'll leave it at that for now.

On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 8:11 AM kyle mckinley <bicirider at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> hello everyone,
> Welcome to the fourth and final week of our May discussion of social
> practice. This week’s guests on EMPYRE have been selected to help us think
> about the particularly challenging intersections that emerge between
> artists, communities, and institutions as Social Practice is increasingly
> crystalized as a genre and as a funding model. Those guests are Michaela
> Leslie-Rule and Corrina Mehiel.
> I've generally thought that this might serve as an opportunity to reflect
> on the challenges that (funding) institutions and socially practiced
> artworks present to one another, and, I suppose, the opportunities...?...
> Basically I'm thinking about how Dont Rhine’s comments in week 1 present a
> critique of the ways in which institutions expropriate value from the
> participants of socially practiced art ("participation in its value form").
> To the extent that such institutions are themselves implicated in processes
> of displacement and gentrification, and to the extent to which such
> institutions are de facto put to service as an extension of the State, such
> critiques should serious pause all of us who imagine art as a force for
> social transformation. As artists and curators, what do we do with that
> going forward? Where you encounter meaningful strategies for working
> against these tendencies? Are there other pressing issues that come up in
> the interchanges between artists of social practice and institutions of
> various sorts?
> Corrina Mehiel (US) is an artist / art professor, with a background in
> community arts education.  An adjunct professor at the Art Academy of
> Cincinnati, Mehiel teaches social practice and studio inquiry in the BFA
> and MAAE programs.  She holds a BA from The Pennsylvania State University
> and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati.   With roots in Seattle,
> Washington and Central Pennsylvania, Mehiel identifies as an American more
> than from a particular city or state.  She spent the greater part of the
> last decade abroad, living in India, Australia and Dubai.  Currently a
> studio assistant for the social practice pioneer Mel Chin, Mehiel is a
> collaborator for his Fundred Dollar Bill Project which aims to educate
> children and families to make a lead safe environment for all.  In addition
> to teaching, maintaining a studio practice and collaborating on socially
> engaged projects, Mehiel is a graduate student in the Public Policy program
> at Portland State University, with research on policy shaping through
> artistic and civic engagement.
> Michaela Leslie-Rule (US), MPA, MPH is an artist and social scientist. As
> the owner of Fact Memory Testimony <http://factmemorytestimony.com>, she
> has been fortunate to collaborate with ITVS’ Women & Girls Lead Global,
> Memphis is Music Initiative, Community Foundation for Monterey County, Nike
> and Firelight Foundations’ Grassroots Girls Initiative. Embedded in
> Leslie-Rule’s approach to advocacy, communication and strategy, is a
> commitment to elevating community voices through the use of storytelling.
> She is particularly interested in participatory methods for measuring and
> documenting social and organizational change, and has designed and
> implemented participatory evaluation, strategic planning and documentation
> projects on four continents. Leslie-Rule also uses a storytelling approach
> to design and produce multimedia advocacy campaigns. As the producer of
> Global Fund for Women’s IGNITE: Women Fueling Science and Technology global
> campaign and online storytelling project, she curated and oversaw the
> creation of five online galleries, designed and implemented a five-city
> international girls’ hackathon and oversaw a coordinated advocacy effort
> between the Fund and UN Women demanding equal access to and control of
> technology for women and girls worldwide.
> Leslie-Rule holds Masters of Public Health and Public Administration from
> the University of Washington with a focus on advocacy and multimedia
> storytelling in global health. She also earned a BFA from New York
> University’s Tisch School of the Arts. You can learn more about
> Leslie-Rule’s approach and see samples of her work at
> http://www.factmemorytestimony.com/
> --
> http://www.kylemckinley.com/
> http://buildingcollective.org/
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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