Improvisation and Social Movements. PI George Lipsitz was awarded a grant from the UC Center for New Racial Studies to organize and edit a special issue of the journal Kalfou on improvisation and social movement mobilization. This issue will explore the ways in which race-based but not race-bound social movement organizations in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Oakland are using improvisation to deepen the capacity for democracy in urban areas.
Fandango, Music, and Community Making. PI Gaye Johnson received a grant from the University of California Humanities Research Institute to fund a public humanities collaborative research project, “Afro-Mexican and Afro-American Encounters: Creating a Space of Convivencia in a Hollowed Out World” that brought together scholars, performers and community leaders to explore how the revival of Mexico’s most African-based music—son jarocho—serves as a register of the intertwined histories of Blacks and Chicana/os in California and signals the possibility of forging new relations between members of these groups. Framed by the arguments Johnson advanced in Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles about the ways in which shared sounds have helped Blacks and Mexicans in the United States find common ground, the CBSR staged a community son jarocho performance featuring the Grammy award–winning band Quetzal and, in the fandango tradition, engaged in participatory music making among participants of different races, classes, citizenship statuses, and levels of musical ability. The concert was held at La Casa de la Raza on February 26, 2015. The next day, the CBSR hosted an academic panel in which musicians Dr. Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores, scholar Ana Rosas, and CBSR Advisory Committee faculty Gaye Johnson and George Lipsitz spoke about the ways in which the convivencia (a deliberate act of convening outside of commercial culture) of fandango can help us better understand both the forces that divide Black and Brown people in California and those that unite them, as well as how the occluded history of Black-Brown coalition and collaboration can inform our shared civic and social life in the years ahead. At the CSBR, we recognize son jarocho music, convivencia, and fandango gatherings as, in part, expressions of an Afro-diasporic tradition of community-based art making and art-based community making.
International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. The CBSR was appointed executive partner of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) in Guelph, Canada, becoming the only US executive partner of this previously all-Canadian project. The IICSI has been very successful in securing funding from Canadian research foundations and we expect that this partnership will help to position us to secure similar support from US funders to build our engaged scholarship initiative.
The Black Panther Party and Revolutionary Art. On behalf of the CBSR, professors Felice Blake and Diane Fujino were awarded a $5,000 Public Events Curatorial Grant from the UC Consortium for Black Studies in California for a multi-component symposium on the Black Panther Party (BPP) and art activism. The symposium, held in November 2016, featured Emory Douglas, revolutionary artist and the former Minister of Culture of the BPP, and Akinsanya Kambon, pan-Africanist artist and author of the Black Panther Coloring Book. In collaboration with the UCSB MultiCultural Center, which hosted the event, the CBSR developed a quarter-long art exhibit, “50 Years Strong and Counting: The Revolutionary Art of the Black Panther Party,” that showcased Douglas’s graphic prints and Kambon’s drawings, watercolors, and paintings. The two Panther artists delivered the CBSR’s 2016–17 Clyde Woods Memorial Lecture, “Revolutionary Art and Black Liberation: The Black Panther Party to Black Lives Matter and Beyond.” As part of our pedagogical research in dialogic learning and our commitment to community collaborations, we also organized an “Intergenerational Dialogue,” held at and in partnership with La Casa de la Raza in Santa Barbara, as a community discussion promoting youth voices and youth leadership in collaboration with various generations of those in struggle for social justice.