Arrow right
Pnca 6c5b093b 001b 43af 939f d06b57d7c861 medium

The Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies Symposium: Art + Environmental Justice

Nov 22, 2019 - Nov 23, 2019


511 Building - Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design

Shipley Collins Mediatheque

Graduate Community Events

511 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon, 97209   [map]

A free, full-day interdisciplinary symposium to promote dialog on the interplay of environmentalism, social justice, design, education, and the arts.

Scholars, activists, educators, designers and artists working on environmental justice issues will explore the politics surrounding systemic biases and the ways that environmental degradation and climate change intersect with race, gender, and class to create disproportionate outcomes on both a local and global scale.

The day’s agenda will place art and design at the center of these conversations, investigating how creative practices contribute to community and global struggles for environmental justice.


Friday November 22:

Graduate Student Participatory Projects, 1-2pm Atrium - Screen printing with Natural Dyes - Seed “Bomb” Workshop

(Soma)tic Poetry Workshop with CA Conrad 3pm, Room 314

(Soma)tic poetry rituals provide a window into the creative viability of everything around us, initiating an extreme present. With (Soma)tics we will learn how even in crisis we can thrive through poetry, as well as learn to collaborate in unexpected ways with other artistic disciplines. Soon we’ll all agree with Alice Notley saying, “poetry’s so common hardly anyone can find it.”

Keynote Lecture: Macarena Gomez-Barris 6pm, Mediatheque

Macarena Gomez-Barris is a cultural critic, author and Chairperson of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute. She is founder and Director of the Global South Center, a hub for critical inquiry, aesthetic praxis, and experimental forms of social living. Macarena works on cultural memory, race, queer and decolonial theory, and rethinking the anthropocene. She is author of The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives, a book that theorizes social life through five extractive scenes of ruinous capitalism upon Indigenous territories (Duke University Press, 2017). She is also author of Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Politics in the Américas (UC Press, 2018), Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (UC Press, 2009), and co-editor with Herman Gray of Towards a Sociology of a Trace (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Macarena is author of numerous essays in art catalogues, including work on Laura Aguilar, Julie Mehretu, Cecilia Vicuna, and Carolina Caycedo, as well as essays in numerous peer reviewed journals. She is co-editor with Diana Taylor of Dissenting Acts, a Duke University Press series.

Saturday November 23:

9am Optional Tour of PNCA

10am-10:15 Opening Remarks + Land Acknowledgement by Demian DinéYazhi´

10:15am-11:30am: SESSION ONE: Chaired by Emily Scott, Assistant Professor of Art History and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon

Art and Activism

The topics the panelists will engage cut across artistic practice, critical theory, and political praxis. Panelists will examine how art functions and how artists create art today in the context of environmental crisis, unjust governmental practices, and corporate greed. The artists will be speaking from personal experience with protests, artist residencies, and other forms of artistic and political intervention and practice. The conversation will critique hindrances to our political imagination and explore new pathways forward.

11:30am-12:30pm Criteria for an Ecological Social Work

A participatory workshop that leads participants through questions and criteria for their current, or yet- to-exist work. Reflection questions will cover ecological impact, sustainability, equity or reparations lens, social, gender and racial justice, accessibility aspects, social impact assessment, context, community need, site-specificity, proposed futures, possible futures, and alignment with the makers.

Vo is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Impact NW. They have worked as a radical educator for eight years in over twenty countries in inclusion, refugee support, trauma-informed care, and racial justice. They are the editor of Fix My Head, an internationally renowned publication for people of color that has been going for six years, and a speaker, artist, and musician who has exhibited and toured in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and the United States.

12:30pm-1:30pm: Lunch Break (Provided)

1:30pm-2:45pm: SESSION 2 Chaired by Daniela Molnar, Head of Art + Ecology Program at PNCA

Queer Ecology

This panel will examine queer subject-object relations and the non-human by exploring geology and how queer social movements relate to the earth. Using photography, sculpture, drag, and biennales as subjects of inquiry, the panelists seek to rethink ecology and how we interact with the natural world. The body, landscapes, and art will be discussed in light of their potential to unsettle the natural.

3:00pm-4:00 pm: SESSION 3: Chaired by Benjamin Craig, Doctoral Candidate, European Graduate School

Pedagogy and Community Based Learning

Three faculty members from Portland State University’s interdisciplinary “University Studies” program examine environmental justice within an educational program that centers social justice and social responsibility. This panel explores educational strategies and environmental justice in three local contexts: local food systems, disability and higher education, and outdoor education projects.

4:00pm-5:15pm: READING CA Conrad, Allison Cobb, Demian DinéYazhi, Introduced by Jay Ponteri, Lead Faculty, Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing, Moderated by Daniela Molnar, Program Head of the Art + Ecology program

CA Conrad is a 2019 Creative Capital Fellow, and the author of 9 books of poetry and essays: their While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books, 2017) received the Lambda Award. A recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, they also received the Believer Magazine Book Award and the Gil Ott Book Award. Their work has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Polish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Danish, French, and German. They teach regularly at Columbia University and at the Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam.

Allison Cobb is the author of After We All Died (Ahsahta Press); Plastic: an autobiography (Essay Press EP series); Born2 (Chax Press); and Green-Wood, originally published by Factory School with a new edition in 2018 from Nightboat Books. Cobb’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, and many other journals. She was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and National Poetry Series; has been a resident artist at Djerassi and Playa; and received fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Cobb works for the Environmental Defense Fund and lives in Portland, Oregon, where she co-hosts The Switch reading, art, and performance series and performs in the collaboration Suspended Moment.

Demian DinéYazhi´ is an Indigenous Diné transdisciplinary artist born to the clans Naasht’ézhí Tábąąhá (Zuni Clan Water’s Edge) and Tódích’íí’nii (Bitter Water). Growing up in the colonized border town of Gallup, New Mexico, the evolution of DinéYazhi´’s work has been influenced by their ancestral ties to traditional Diné culture, ceremony, matrilineal upbringing, the sacredness of land, and the importance of intergenerational knowledge. Through research, mining community archives, and social collaboration, DinéYazhi´ highlights the intersections of Radical Indigenous Queer Feminist identity and political ideology while challenging the white noise of contemporary art. DinéYazhi´ has recently exhibited at Portland Biennial (2019), Counterpublic (2019), Honolulu Biennial (2019), Whitney Museum of American Art (2018), Henry Art Gallery (2018), Pioneer Works (2018), CANADA, NY (2017); and Cooley Art Gallery (2017). DinéYazhi´ is the founder of the Indigenous artist/activist initiative, R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment. They are the author and self-publisher of ANCESTRAL MEMORY (2018) and AN INFECTED SUNSET (2018), and their writing has appeared in numerous publications. They are the recipient of the Henry Art Museum’s Brink Award (2017), Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts (2018), and Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow (2019).


Demonstration of Learning from Cascadia, a set of multimedia maps presented on a single web-based platform, forming an atlas of the Columbia River Basin and the bioregion known as Cascadia, created by Brian Holmes and Mack McFarland. Focusing on the political ecology connected to this river system, Learning from Cascadia is as much a geography of persons, histories, and collective experiences, as it is a map of locations and sites. The project is highly collaborative, combining the insight and authorship of many different people.