10 Questions: Centennial Edition — What is COMMUNITY?

10 Questions: Centennial Edition — What is COMMUNITY?


– Hey you all. If you’re just joining
us, welcome to week eight of 10 questions and what is community. Speaking of community, I’m so happy to see so many of you here, so often. Thank you for coming. And if you’re just joining
us, thank you for coming. And if your students in this class, thank goodness, you’re here. I just want to start with
a few acknowledgments. I think it’s appropriate that
we’re talking about community this evening because it takes a community. So you who have been
here, week after week, you know who we want to acknowledge. So could you help me by just shouting out who are we acknowledging and thanking for 10 questions? – (murmurs) – (murmurs) Emery. I couldn’t hear you say it louder. – The Centennial community. – The Centennial community. – Andres – Andres square, he’s right there, – (murmurs) – Big marks yep. Also the Department of world
arts and cultures dance and the school the Arts and
Architecture, the inbred steel. All right. So, why are we asking this question? Why of the 10 questions
is what is community? One of them and, I was thinking that the late
great Maya Angelou said, nobody, but nobody can go it alone. So, particularly, in a university, we often celebrate the
accomplishments of individuals. And we support this myth
of the rugged character who sustains themselves and
makes discoveries and explores and all those things
without acknowledging that they probably are situated
within a community that has become less visible to support those
individual accomplishments. And we’re constantly in this
place of failing to recognize the community that
supports the individual. For students, as Kevin said earlier, we’re each members of
numerous communities, and some are temporary communities that exist only for a
very short period of time. Like, I need some help, what would
be a temporary community? It’s really good that you’re speaking except I have no idea what you said. – (murmurs) – The class that we were in
today was a temporary community. Other just shout really loudly. A sports team. It could be yours but you know, at least for that period of time and one more contemporary community. This room and somebody over here. – College. – College. And other communities are lifelong. Some we choose consciously
and others less consciously. Some are communities
forged by circumstance. And sometimes our community affiliation is not something we choose at all, but rather is something defined by others. You students have
tremendous pressure on you, to be outstanding, to distinguish
yourself from the crowd, to be original, to fly solo,
just like our mythic heroes. But the challenges is to find how it is that you can be your best
self and continue to discover that self within the
context of contributing to and participating in community. So that “I, we” combo is
so important to navigate. And it’s not an easy one. It’s not an easy one at all. As an art maker, and many
of you here are art makers, I find that though the
moments where you collaborate and create something
much bigger than the sum of one person’s ideas, something that exists larger than is one of those opportunities
to fully present oneself and at the same time, to be the
deepest listener you can be. To be as someone who says yes, end. And then of course, I know all of you have multiple circumstances
beyond art making where that “I we” combo is
such as important navigation. And of course, art making, or any other project is also a metaphor and an activity within life making and in life making, we
are constantly looking for that balance between I and we, right? I just want to share my
Angelou’s full poem with you as the last part of my introduction here because I think it’s so
appropriate for this evening. It’s called “alone.” Lying, thinking last night,
how to find my soul a home where water is not thirsty,
and bread loaf is not stone. I came up with one thing, and
I don’t believe I’m wrong. That nobody, but nobody
can make it out here alone. Alone, all alone, nobody, but
nobody can make it here alone. There are some millionaires
with money they can’t use. Their wives run around like banshees, their children sing the blues, they’ve got expensive doctors
to cure their hearts of stone. But nobody, no nobody can
make it out here alone, alone, all alone, nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone. Now if you listen closely,
I’ll tell you what I know. Storm clouds are gathering
the wind is going to blow. The race of man is suffering
and I can hear the mourn, coz nobody, but nobody can
make it out here alone. Alone, all alone, nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone. Maya Angelou. (audience applauds) I would love for you
to join me in welcoming our special guests for the evening. If you all will come
out, I will very proudly introduce you and we’ll get started. So this is Jennifer Pharaoh,
Amanda Roy, and Kevin Kane. So if you don’t mind, Jennifer is the CEO of KCRW, a UCLA alumni, and his work to transform
the institution of KCRW from Southern California’s
flagship public radio station, to a worldwide community that connects through
the discovery of music, news and culture both in
person online and on the air. In addition to fostering a vibrant social networking community and creating 100 hours of original programming a week, KCRW produces 80 live events reaching more than 250,000 people each year. Welcome Jennifer. Ananya Roy is professor of urban planning, social welfare and geography and the inaugural
director of the Institute on inequality and
democracy at UCLA, Luskin. She holds the Meyer and Renee Luskin chair in inequality and democracy. Ananya’s research has a
determined focus on poverty and inequality, both in LA and in other cities around the world. Her most recent book is
“Encountering poverty, “thinking and acting in an unequal world.” Welcome Ananya. (audience applauds) And Kevin Kane right here is the director of the UCLA visual and
performing arts education program or VAPAE as we finally
call it in the School of the Arts and Architecture. He oversees the programs
arts education coursework, designs, Community Arts and
arts enrichment programming, and supervises public and special events. Originally from the working
class suburbs of Philadelphia, and the first in his
family to attend college and pursue the arts
professionally, and get a PhD, Kevin has dedicated, an MFA, Kevin has dedicated himself
to using the arts in education as a tool for individual
and social transformation. Welcome, Kevin. (audience applauds) So we’re going to move right into our first part of our evening and Jennifer has graciously agreed to start us off. So we’re going to take our seats. – Okay I decided to go first. (murmurs) And then it would just
go on up from there. So my name is Jennifer
Pharaoh, as you know, I went to UCLA, got bruins. So happy to be a part of this community. So I run KCRW. And I use the word community all the time. I talk about KCRW is building community that the thing when I think
about my job and what I do, and what’s the thing
that makes me most proud, it’s building community. And then I realized,
everybody uses that word and that phrase, and I was like, what the heck does that mean? And of course today, was a
good time to ask that question, because we’re asking the
question, what is community? So one of the things that KCRW does, that I think is really powerful, is allow people to be
a part of a community while they’re completely by themselves. And so you can be in your shower, in your car, in Los Angeles,
we spend most of our time getting from one place to another. When we do that, we’re often alone. And KCRW has the ability to
be with you at that time. And, I keep pushing that idea, when I was thinking about
this talk, I was like, what does that mean? That doesn’t mean anything, like I just listened to something. But there is something more profound that I think happens. And we’ll get to that. I think as I roll through these
highly complicated slides. So how do we get into community? That was touched on already, I found this quote, I thought
that was really interesting. It used to be that people were
born as part of a community and had to find that
place as an individual. And now people are born as individuals and have to find their place. Find their communities. So there’s my graphic design for you. You could be born into one, right? And we have that you’re African American, you’re a woman, you’re
or a girl or whatever, you know, you can pick
those kind of things that you just are inherently, you have and you will automatically be in. And then but the thing
that’s really, I think, very special is this notion
of choosing your community. And when I think about UCLA, when I talked to undergrads, one thing I always think back to is the time when I was
an undergrad at UCLA, so I feel like I didn’t belong at UCLA, I know a lot of people have that feeling. I got an ACT score that
like, was below 1000. And everybody around
me was so much smarter. And I’m like, Oh my God, I snuck in, someone’s going to figure
out that I don’t belong here. And I’m going to get kicked out. And, then I felt very alone, and I eventually found my community of people who shared my values. And I think that’s, so all of this ultimately
goes back to KCRW. But we’ll run to the next slide, which is why is that, it’s this
notion about shared values, and those values you can
have from your childhood, or you can develop them
as you educate yourself and live your life and learn things. And the thing that I feel like KCRW does is bring people together who share values and not necessarily political values. When we do research about
public radio listening, we find that people who are curious, they want to know things about the world. They want to know what’s happening in places that aren’t
just right around them. They care about music and culture. That’s what KCRW provides people who have those values who want
to know about those things come to KCRW and connect by themselves, with people who talk to them on the radio, or through streaming or podcasts. And that’s where the
relationships come in. And so this is a kind
of a profound change. And again, all of this
was, all of this thinking was because I knew I was going
to be coming here tonight. There’s this notion that I’ve discovered from a lot of people who first say, arrive in Los Angeles, and
they don’t know anyone, and they feel like they’re
just in a land of Hollywood or, you know, people who are
not connected to each other. But then they listened to
KCRW, and they’re like, Oh, I found my people,
I have a relationship with the people who are talking to me. So in the radio environment, I’m just going to use radio to mean audio that’s in a linear form. So you can access it any which way. But in the radio environment, we tend to do things
like have the same person on every day at the same time. So at 12 o’clock in your behavior, if you’re in a place where
you’re going to listen to something, you can listen to KCRW. And you can hear Madeleine Brand, and you can get close to
her because after a while, you start to not only connect
with her through her voice, but you start to hear the things
she likes and doesn’t like. Same with our music programming, which I think is also really profound. We have a DJ, let’s say who
does our morning music show morning becomes eclectic
from nine to noon, you can not only start to get
to know this person’s voice, but you can understand
their musical tastes. You can say,oh my gosh,
they put that song on because there were, you know, this particular thing was
happening out in the world and start to follow this pattern. But somehow through that,
you’re making this connection and you’re building a
relationship, but it’s virtual. And it’s one way yet it’s
still really powerful. So that’s why I think that
KCRW builds community. And so when I was thinking also about, again, that word which is quite overused in our nonprofit space, I was kind of thinking like,
the hierarchy of community. So again, I’m not as educated as the rest of the panelists up here, but indulge me, these are
the levels of community that I think exist. So and I’m going to, of
course, relate them to KCRW. So the first one of the yellow quietly identifying yourself with a group. So you can say, Yeah, I
feel like I belong to this. So whether its proximity, you know, whether you live next to someone, you’re on the same hometown,
whether they share your goals, share your attitudes, share your values, you can know like, Oh, yeah,
I know I’m down with you. That’s my community. The next level I think,
is publicly identifying and letting other people that you belong to that
particular community. So in the KCRW, well it would be like she having a KCRW bumper sticker, I have some to if you guys
want any there in my pulse don’t let me forget. You could wear a T shirt
you could, you know, portray your love for
KCRW on social media. But this is the part that I
think that I’m after personally. The part that I think has the most value, which is that the third
level or the Uber level of community, which is
when you do something for someone else. And so I guess it goes
back to the notion of myself versus we are one versus many. What can you do for other people, and when you feel like
you belong to a community, and you do things on
behalf of that community, I feel like that’s the final level. And I think I’ll just
tell you the society, and this may or may not
be interesting to you. But when you look at voting, or you look at giving to public radio, depending on what kind
of messaging you use the notion that like you
need to do this to support the free flow of information, you know, news and information that’s
the bedrock of democracy. That kind of appeal, it
really matters the most to people 50 and above. Younger people are just like, Yeah, no, you’re not talking to
me, I’m not interested. We have to use different
messages for people under 50. But I think it’s kind of interesting. And I think it points to this notion, just like voting right? Voting is kind of a little
bit of a selfless act. I mean, you know that you’re one vote isn’t going to necessarily
change everything. But you do it because you’re responsible. You serve on jury duty, because you’re responsible
for your community. And I think we tend to find that, that notion when we get older, I think that we can do it
when we’re younger, myself. But anyway, that’s my
hierarchy of community. And then, of course, that
got me thinking again, I’m just going to ask you guys questions, which we’ll talk about later. But this question, “can community be bad?” And I think the thing that is, something to consider about community is this notion of belonging. So if I belong, and you
don’t, does that mean that you could ultimately
become less human to me? And we do see that all over the place, we’re experiencing it and
living it every single day. So if you identify with a particular group and you happen to, you know,
get involved in social media, whether it’s next door, otherwise
known as racist Facebook, or Twitter, you can see
this happening all the time. To me, that’s the bad notion. I don’t know if that’s
a function of community. But I do believe it’s a
powerful thing, this notion of, I’m in, you’re not in, I’m
out, you’re in etcetera. And I think that’s one thing that at KCRW and public radio we really
try to guard against. We are trying to be open and accessible to literally everyone, we’re free. We’ve talked to lots of people are like, Oh, you guys should
charge for your content. We’re never going to
do that because we are a public service, a community service. So anyway, that’s the kind of conclusion, I don’t really have any
conclusion, just a question. I shouldn’t leave you with that slide. We’ll just go back to the
one that I designed myself, which is that one. Anyway. So thank you very much. And I can’t wait to continue to talk about these questions that
you guys have brought up. (audience applauds) – I’m not disappearing,
I’m just getting a prop. – Good evening, everyone. So I’m Ananya Roy. And I’m thrilled to be here this evening. So as you can tell from my title slide, I am going to argue this evening, that community is made and lived
through political struggle. As Vic noted, I am a scholar
of poverty and inequality. And my research is concerned with and seeks to be accountable
to communities in struggle. About two decades ago, my PhD dissertation completed at the University
of California Berkeley, which was also the basis of my first book, was set in the city of
Kolkata, India where I grew up and where I remain rooted. While my world growing up in Kolkata had been a middle class one, my research focused on
informal settlements, often known around the world
as slums, and on informal work. Precarious livelihoods
such as street vending and domestic work. For a year and more I traced
how slum dwellers struggle to find shelter in the
liminal spaces of the city, along railway tracks and polluted canals. And in particular, I
followed tireless women as they packed the local trains on a daily commute against
hunger from village to city. These women worked as maids
for the city’s middle classes who had come to call them, “the automatic washing
machines of the city.” And it was on those crowded trains that I, feminist scholar,
came to understand how community is made and lived
through political struggle. It is on those crowded trains that I learned what politics is. So it is on these trains that women, some of the poorest
women I will ever know, engaged in political action, with the creativity and
fierceness that is unmatched. So every day thousands of
poor women travel ticketless, on the trains to and from Kolkata, and are militant in their
refusal to buy tickets. The crowd as you see in this image into the men not-allowed compartments, that had been designed for Boucher women. And in these compartments, they defy railway administration
staff and ticket checkers. Fighting a daily battle
against acute impoverishment. They insist on an entitlement
to ticketless travel as a way of feeding their children and nourishing their families. And in doing so they create community. It is important to know
that these are women from numerous different villages
who do not know each other. They are strangers on the train, who come together in the space of these overflowing commuter trains to disrupt the status quo. In my first book, “Calcutta Requiem” I argue that these poor
women form a collectivity, were strangers from strange villages, they are intimately
familiar with the conditions of each other’s impoverishment. The conditions of their lives
are agonizingly similar. And it is from this strange familiarity that they forge political struggle and the sense of community. And it is in community that they critique
capitalism and patriarchy. They do so in unison, but
without any formal coordination. These women reminds me of a key idea in the writings of abolitionists scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, who
argues that freedom is a place. Gilmore is particularly interested in what she calls forgotten places, or sites of what she has described
as organized abandonment. And how from these forgotten places emerged struggles for self determination, for human dignity, for freedom. This to me is the making of community. I’m an urbanist, I think
about space and place, and this relationship between
community freedom and place matters a great deal to me. Needless to say, while freedom is a place, not all places are terrains
of freedom, and community. A few years ago, I authored
a book called welding cities. Which is about global capitalism
and urban transformations. The cover of the book is
this photograph by Salgado of a worker contained and isolated in the scaffolding of construction overlooking the skyline
of a city that he builds, but from which he is excluded. And this is in the face of
such containment and isolation and exclusion, that communities
from Kolkata to Los Angeles persistently built power and collectivity. I took this photograph
at an inspiring meeting organized by social
movements in Santa Ana, where communities facing
displacement have insisted that they will remain and thrive, that they will lead
social science research and tell their own stories
of housing precarity, that they will lead
and make public policy. I see such communities made and forged in political struggle as making what humanity scholar Laurin balad would call the comments
or what in a writing is the infrastructure for troubling times. These are transformational
infrastructures. What Hory and Melton in
this extraordinary manifesto the under comments right about as forms of fugitive planning,
so fugitive planning, as infrastructures for troubling times. And indeed this manifesto
is an ethical guide for the institute on inequality
and democracy here at UCLA, for which I have the great privilege to serve as inaugural director. The under commons reminds us
that the building of community requires a dismantling. A dismantling of systems of
oppression, in particular. The building of community
requires a refusal to make peace with violence. So Hony and Moten in
the under commons right. And I think of this often in relation to the work of the Institute. We cannot say what new structures will replace the ones we live with yet. Because once and only once
we have tone shut down, can we inevitably see
more and see differently and feel a new sense of
wanting and being and knowing. And so the idea community
I’m putting forward today is about connections and solidaritys that create a new common sense. Be attending to unions demanding the de commodification of housing, or data unions insisting
on the cancellation of old student debt, or
the women on the trains of Kolkata insisting
that if one is a citizen, one should not have to pay
for what one cannot afford, that if one is a citizen, one should have the right
to demand public goods. There are indeed many
such examples of community in the long history of the United States. A history worth remembering
in troubling times. For me, one of the most important is the rise of the Black
Panther Party in the 1960s, through struggle in a
city that I called home for a very long time,
Oaklands, California. There Black Panther leaders
articulated a global vision of community connecting ghetto and colony, recognizing the many fronts
of war in a world system of racial capitalism and US imperialism. This, of course, was
Huey nutrients framework of revolutionary inter communalism where blacks subordination in Oaklands was entangled with American
counter insurgency in Vietnam. But it was also about
building an under commons about creating that
infrastructure for troubling times and infrastructure for self determination, most famously to the Black
Panthers free breakfast program. At its peak in 1969 and 1970, the program fed thousands
of children daily before they went to
school across the country. And later this would become a model for the federally funded
school breakfast programs across the United States. With all of this in mind, my
final arguments about community this evening is about solidarity. And these two terms are often linked. Solidarity is a term that is used widely and I would argue loosely
to connect community. That we are in solidarity
with, in community with those who are otherwise apart from us. Those who are other, those who are distant
socially and spacially. I urge us to use the term
community with great caution. And I urge us to use the term solidarity with even greater caution. Community doesn’t it entail solidarity, but let us then consider what it is and how it relates to community. There’s a wonderful interview
that Amy Goodman conducted a few years ago with Augusto Boal, the founder of the
Theatre of the Oppressed before he passed away. In it Boal talks about
traveling to the rural interior of Brazil to stage play. Actors and peasants
participated in the theater, staging a rebellion against
landlords with fake rifles. After the play was over,
peasants came up to Boal and his fellow actors and
said, why don’t you now join us in taking up real rifles
in a real mobilization against the landlords
who are oppressing us? Boal notes that he
realized in that moment, that solidarity means
taking the same risks as those that you want
to be in solidarity with. If that is solidarity, then
that is how community is made and forged in political struggle. It happens every day,
but it’s no easy fit. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Hi, wow. Lets just do it, okay. Just go for it. I working with the students in this class in the previous session and I already shared that
this image behind me, actually motivated me
to sort of think about what I might speak about tonight. It was an image that I was
immediately sort of familiar with and comfortable with a group of folks, turns out there they’re all men, but they could be numerous
genders in that photo but standing in a circle holding hands. Playful to me in terms
of their body language and the way that they’re
shaped and somehow with the students, we
explored why a circle somehow can be helpful in symbolizing, what we think of when we say community, there’s no beginning, there’s
no end everyone can be seen. There’s an opportunity for
everyone to lead and to follow. And it’s often a very
useful metaphor and symbol, when we work in the arts. with children, we often bring
together children in a circle to sort of start the session. And that goes all the
way through, I would say, working with elders and seniors as well. The community circle is
important to many of us who work in the arts
and outside of the arts. And I think, though, that it also leads me to sort of complicate this circle, because it’s also a place
where not everyone can get in once the hands are held,
not everyone can join unless we open hands
and let people join us. So it can also be a kind of wall unless we’re really conscious
and careful of that. And so already I started to think of what I’ve been working for 30 years since I moved to LA and 25 years this year since I started being an
educator, first to LA Unified, and then later here at UCLA, to create inclusive spaces
for the arts to happen. I’ve already complicated this
beautiful picture that I liked into something that felt
problematic already. So as I started thinking
about what is community, I start from a place where
it feels really comfortable and familiar to me. And then my mind goes into like, a spiral. What do I mean, when I say this
word that seems so familiar. I can only guess that the previous weeks where we’re asking very
interesting questions like this is the same sort of process. The initial kind of question we’re asking seems very straightforward. And like, Yeah, I know what
that word means, I get it. And the more time we spend with it, I think we actually feel less confident that we know what it is. But I hope that at the end of it, we kind of put it back together and maybe that’s the way
of this process works. And maybe that’s what a
university is about as well. It’s taking apart things so that we can put them back together to really understand them. From my perspective, as an
artist, I’m always looking at it and I always circle back to and how can the art speak to that? How can the arts be informed
by that or impact that or make a difference in that conversation? I would share with you my
own sort of thought process, which is very similar in some
ways to Jennifer’s process. So some of these words are even similar to what Ananya wrote. But I started with what
do I think about community geography and boundaries. As 30 years here, as an Angeleno, one of the most frequent
questions that get asked of me and I asked of others
is, where do you live? How did you get here? Well, tonight, I went south on Crenshaw, I hopped on the 10 West. Transferred to the four or
five North got off at sunset. You know, those are conversations that are like community
conversations that happened, I would say daily, where
we’re actually talking about, you know, what it is that we got here. And in the process of getting from my home in South LA to UCLA and Westwood, I’m actually traversing and crossing over so many communities and neighborhoods that are really important to me and the people who live there. But often, maybe communities
and neighborhoods that I don’t really
even know what they are. I’m just passing through them. But I try to think about, where are the arts vibrant and
alive in these communities? I might look this up. So I hope these numbers are correct. But I think they’re probably
in the right ballpark. The county of LA has 88 cities,
140 unincorporated areas and more than 250 named communities. So even after 30 years, it
would be really difficult for me to understand the
full geography out of LA. But somewhere after a couple decades, I sort of got the hang of it. I sort of started to feel
like where things are at and where things are happening and where things are vibrant and where things are sort
of exciting to be at. And the arts was my way a
ticket into those communities. And being an educator
was a way to feel like we were making an impact in
some of those communities and is, on the flip side,
really learning from communities that have figured out
how to center the arts in their identity. These boundaries can start to fade away when we’re using the arts
as a sort of a calling card as well as a sort of a question an invitation a curiosity to sort of engage with
different communities. I think about space, where
are people holding space, so that community can
actually be held and created and where are they literally,
where are the buildings and also what’s the space We’re all holding for each
other to make this happen. I think of things like time, how long has a community existed? What’s the duration? The longer I’m part of a community, the more I can feel
comfortable in that community and that might be true for all of us. The less time I’m in a community, the more I’m still on a learning curve about what it is that that
community has to offer. Every community has a history. And within that embedded,
literally embedded in that word is every community has a story to tell. And my job as an Angeleno
was to sort of listen to all of those stories or as
many of them as I can. And hopefully my task as an
artist is to sort of help well first start with myself
to help tell my own story in ways that could be important to others, but to really work with
generations of younger people, to know that their story matters, their neighborhood matters,
their family matters. And the arts can be a tool and a mechanism for them to sort of share that story. I’m not going to go through all of these, but I wanted to take you
through my thought bubble. So it’s a visual
representation of everything I’ve been thinking about for
the last couple of weeks. And it’s a lot to sort of grapple with. But it’s also really important
for the work that we do. And I’m just clicky clicky right now, because there’s so much about
what’s happening up there. And I’ll speak to a few of them. The last one is joy and hope. I thought about of all of
the things that we’re kind of thinking about when we’re talking about our community and making
our in communities. Is there a possibility that
the time we spend with others, the connections we’re making with others through art making, are
exploration of self, self reflection at the same time, we’re being self reflexive,
thinking not only about me, but how do I fit in with others. Really looking at our commonalities as well as our differences
and really owning that both of them are
equally important in the building of a community but
also in the making of an Arts Collective and an arts project. I’m thinking about how creativity
when it’s at the center of an experience can
help build relationships, can help people feel like
they belong somewhere. What scholar named Anthony Cohen said, the community is the great
promise of belonging. And so how how many
communities do we enter where we actually feel like we
are accepted for who we are. Like where everyone knows
our name, that kind of thing. I’m also thinking about spaces where there might be a reputation
that it’s a very challenging space to be for me. So it goes back to this idea of us in them to what what spaces do we not feel that we belong in, or
we’re not feeling like we’re comfortable in or we’re not feeling like we’re represented in. And how much of that is
historically constructed and problematic, and how much of that is actually very intentional in a way that artists can be a part of, either recognizing those
spaces that need to be sacred for some of us, and those
spaces that are inclusive and open to new faces and new voices. And I think both are
actually equally important. There’s an idea of all of us being in multiple communities. We talked about that as students earlier. But we’re also thinking about
that, as community members, we belong to many different communities and different communities,
we have different roles, and some of our communities we’re the elders of the community and we understand the history of it, in others were just brand
new to those communities. And I think there’s a
kind of both a curiosity and a humility that hopefully we can bring to all these communities. So that’s a lot about what
I’ve been thinking about. But I come back to, bringing snazzy (laughs loudly) Thank you. Amber and my TU. I rely on the kindness of young people. (laughs loudly) But this is sincere. I always try to send to the arts because the art is the
space where I first felt like I belonged somewhere. But it was even before belonging. It was the first place I
felt safe outside my home. And it’s an in between
space for some of us. Where It’s not quite our home,
but it’s not quite school, it’s the arts classroom. Where we were first felt physically, I mean, literally physically safe, to learn, to express,
to share, to connect. And so I’ve been very committed to how that kind of space
was instrumental in me, feeling like I belonged at school. It was in an arts classroom. It’s through theatre, it’s through music, it’s through dance. Later, now, as I’ve become
the director of VAPAE, it’s through my students
who are also creating spaces like that in various community centers and K through 12 sites,
through photography, through film, through
sculpture, through ceramics, through painting, through poetry, writing. These spaces can be the
one space in a child’s day where they actually feel,
a they’re going to be okay. There’s a Kind of healing that happens just from being in that space that can lead to a kind of burst of creativity and energy and connection. I made my best friends in
some of those classrooms and they’ve remained friends to this day. So I often say to my students, you have no idea the folks
sitting next to you right now, 30 years from now could
still be one of your friends. That’s, you know, that’s not a given. It takes a lot of work to sort
of have lifelong friendships. But lifelong friendships
are certainly possible in an art space and in an arts classroom. And in that way, art has always been
about creating community more than about creating
the next generation of Broadway singers or dancers
or the next gallery stars or the next folks who are
going to be superstars. I love those folks, too. But I feel like my place
has always been about creating spaces where
community can happen. And I think that one of the
ways I’m able to sort of commit to is offering in a way that change in transformation as possible, just like it was possible for me. Individual change creates an opportunity for a collective change and
collective transformation. And there’s one way we’re looking at this. I won’t go through all this, but I’ll try to sort of talk us through some way to measure what
change and transformation in the arts looks like
in our VAPAE program. Is this, what do we call this, kidwill, a slice of color that
sort of shares a journey that could be possible in the arts, where it starts with
social and personal comfort that can lead to social
and creative confidence, that can ultimately lead
to social connections that are really positive. What the author and musician Dar Williams in the previous slide
called positive proximity, being really close to people
who can add positivity to my life and to the life of others. And then that can lead to
growing artistic knowledge, artistic skills. But if you look around this circle, it eventually leads to
a way that leadership starts to happen in a space where all these activities and
projects can lead to me really becoming a more
confident, visionary. For not only what I want my life to be, but I want my community to be. And I’ve seen this happen
time and time again. And I think that’s something
that as a arts educator I’ve really committed to. Could today be the day where
a fire is lit in a child, where they actually see their
potential to be a leader, to be a visionary, to
not only be an artist, but to be a change maker. A change maker in their own
life, but in the life of others. And I’ll sort of end with saying, it’s not given that every
child has that opportunity. In our city, so much of
that is dependent upon what neighborhood you live in. So I’m circling back to us driving through all these
different neighborhoods. Can we ask ourselves, who are the children that live in these neighborhoods and do they have daily access to high quality arts education. It would depend on what
neighborhood you’re in. Whether you’re saying yes or
no, or sometimes, or maybe. It depends on what school children go to. And so much of that is out of the control of the children themselves. So part of becoming an arts educator is also becoming an
advocate for social justice and educational equity that includes arts as part of a child’s education. It’s actually a state
mandate that every child needs to have access to arts. It’s just very challenging,
if not impossible yet, to sort of make that happen. But everyday arts educators
and educators in all schools wake up and think about how can I make a difference in that child? And somewhere in there,
the end result of this sort of transformation is hopefully positive social and community change. That could happen because
a child or children or a class or a school had
access to the arts in that way. In this way, I described
community engagement through the arts as a huge social project and not just about painting
a beautiful picture or learning how to do a triple pirouette or actually making a film
that everyone finds amazing. Though those are amazing, this is art ultimate goal I
think at UCLA and in my career. And so when I look at this
picture circling back, it is a goal. It is not something that happens easily but it’s also something
that’s not impossible. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Thank you all three, what
a special evening this is. We’re going to make a
transition but before we do, I know that especially for you students, you know, it’s a long day, you’ve had, I hope, some pizza. Maybe more than one slice. And you know here we are
sitting in this room. So I’d like to ask us to kind of, we need to exercise the
energy, not exorcise, exercise the energy of
the room for a moment. I’d like to ask everyone,
everyone, everyone here to stand. I’m not a big sports person, but I know there’s something called a seventh inning stretch. But here tonight, in this lovely theater and with Kevin’s invocation of the arts, I’d like Mark, where are you going? I’d like you to queue the music. Mark, are you there? – Yeah. – Okay, so we just got to get the plug moving a little bit. So just like a little step to the side. ♪ Inside my bones ♪ ♪ It goes electric baby
when I turn it on ♪ – Turn to face somebody
that you’re next to. ♪ All through my home ♪ ♪ We’re flying up, no
ceiling, when we in our zone ♪ ♪ I got that sunshine in my pocket ♪ ♪ Got that good soul in my feet ♪ ♪ I feel that hot blood in
my body when it drops ooh ♪ – I see you up there. ♪ I can’t take my eyes up off it, ♪ – Turn to somebody else. ♪ Room on lock, the way we
rock it, so don’t stop ♪ ♪ And under the lights
when everything goes ♪ ♪ Nowhere to hide when
I’m getting you close ♪ ♪ When we move, well, you already know ♪ ♪ So just imagine, just
imagine, just imagine ♪ ♪ Nothing I can see but you
when you dance, dance, dance ♪ ♪ Feel a good, good creeping up on you ♪ ♪ So just dance, dance, dance, come on ♪ ♪ All those things I shouldn’t do ♪ ♪ But you dance, dance, dance ♪ ♪ And ain’t nobody leaving’
soon, so keep dancing ♪ ♪ I can’t stop the feeling ♪ ♪ So just dance, dance, dance ♪ ♪ I can’t stop the feeling ♪ ♪ So just dance, dance, dance, come on ♪ – All right. (audience applauds) Thank you all. Take a deep breath. Got the blood moving a little bit. I’d like to invite our
guests up onto the stage. (murmurs) (audience applauds) – So, one of the things that we found over the weeks here together is that it’s really nice when
the students questions really get to be shared here with you all. And so, I’d like to just begin with some of the kind of
questions that have been on our minds about community. And I want to invite you, we try to keep our responses
short, but not too short. Because we want to,
they’re serious questions. But there’s a lot. Okay. Like a game show, okay. Where does the desire to be a
part of a community come from? – Doesn’t it come from birth? I mean, when you’re born,
you’re connected to this person, kind of, I don’t know. Again, I’m the one with the least amount of education up here. So I can say that- – you know, and I’m not so sure. – Yeah, – I’m not so sure. – Don’t you think it comes from that we’re kind of gestated
inside of another being. I mean if you ever have that
great gift of carrying a child you do understand that, you know, this kind of parasitic thing is you’re totally connected. (laughs loudly) it’s not bad to have parasites, sometimes I don’t know. I mean, you’re more close to someone than you’ll ever be again in your life. – Well, that reminds me I’m
not sure that was the answer. But it reminds me of one of the scholars, I was
reading about community. Who sort of talked about
the levels of connection that we have, which starts
with kinship and family. And so in a way that that reminded me that it’s somehow leads to spaces that, then we go to school, we
learn how to be socialized, and we learn how to connect to others. And then we create friendships and bonds and then some how it
leads to a larger sort of impact on society. So in some ways, community
is that thing in the middle. It’s a bit larger than our family. But it’s more intimate and
more immediate than society, which is a very large
abstract idea anyway. So community feels like something tangible that I can be a part of
that is either a response to our families, depending on how
our families were growing up. You know, it could be an
extension of family relationships that were healthy, or
ways to sort of learn new kinds of relationships that were different than the ones that we learned from our families. But I think somewhere it’s on the way to becoming a socialized
and a part of society. And there’s a I think, an
instinct to sort of want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. – Ananya, you really spoke
about struggle as being a determining factor
for building community and our students wanted
to think about like, what are the factors
that create community? I wonder if we could, It’s such a powerful way of thinking about communities that are born of shared oppression. But I wonder if we could just open that up to thinking about how our
other communities formed. How does that happen? – These are not easy questions, y’all. And not only that, each one
of these folks comes here with a very particular relationship. I’m not, reprimanding you. But with a very particular history, relationship and depth of study about this question of community. They bring their expertise to us. But these questions,
these are somehow they sit outside the margin of what we come with and they’re thought questions. – Can I ask a question of
Ananya about that question. – Yeah.
– Okay so, when you were talking about your, the first book that you wrote
about the women on the train. So do those women feel that
they’re a part of that community before they get on the train. – So it isn’t the space of the trains where not only do they
get to see each other, but sometimes don’t
even talk to each other because it’s so loud and crowded, that they have what I call
the strange familiarity, like they recognize each other. There’s the politics of recognition. But then there is the
politics of collective action. So I think, to me it’s
intriguing about communities precisely that not all social
formations are community. Right, society is not
community, necessarily. Family is not necessarily community, but what then is community and what then is community
that one is not born into? But what then is
community born off, right? And in particular, the trends but also one can think about last
living instituted and event in the heart of skid
row here in Los Angeles. And one can think about Skid
Row as an enduring community. So I’m very interested
in the ways in which that spatial proximity and the times shared
conditions of oppression, creates a community and creates in fact, also collective action. And radio plays a part in that
in many parts of the world. – I’m thinking about a mindset of looking at communities,
in terms of their assets and wealth, even though many communities seem to lack the same
financial resources as others and this is particularly
played out in schools. But regardless of what school you’re at, I think you could find amazing, joy and skill and expression and potential in all different sort of spaces including those that are historically underserved and under resourced. I’m thinking of a partner
of the program VAPAE that I direct, that’s
in the heart of Skid Row called inner city arts. And there’s another
organization there called piece by piece that works
with the homeless population creating mosaics and pieces, you know, broken plates put together. So even in neighborhoods that I feel like have a reputation as
being oppressed to start and that’s not to say they haven’t been historically oppressed. I just have learned to see that there’s great beauty and a different kind of wealth
that’s happening in there that the arts can help give
voice to and help express. – I feel like I could
see a connection between the actions say of these women who are forcibly demanding free transportation. And the arts in terms of that, you use the means of communication. And, by access to, I don’t know if the word
liberation is right, but access to your
rights as a human being, by getting on this train
and saying, you know, not saying we’re moving to the city, and transporting ourselves for our work, and to make our inner city arts, it’s like we find our voice, in this way. We express what needs to be expressed that there are no systems available otherwise. – Well, may I ask a
question Jennifer and Kevin, which builds on that, which has to do with the, is there a relationship
then between community and what we might call the public sphere or public infrastructures or public goods? Because for me the very passionate argument that you’re making about arts education as an entitlement, and one that is unevenly
distributed in a city like LA, or the argument about radio
and what access to radio means. There’s an argument
also about public goods and public infrastructures. And so do thriving communities
require that need that? – Well, I’ll just again
speak for arts education. I find that, I’m drawn towards helping our students
find ways into schools that are underserved in some
ways and under-resourced in other ways to find, to sort of balance out, where there might be a disconnect and inequity in public systems. Where certain schools in
certain neighborhoods have seemed like they have
it all that they need. There’s always something
for our students to learn by being teaching artists in any space. But where I feel like we’re learning most is when we’re working in communities that creativity is vital to get
through every single day. And the arts are part
of the healing process, but also the part of
empowerment that’s happening, whether we’re there or not. And so in some ways, I
think our city is failing a lot of neighborhoods
and a lot of schools, but children are going to those schools and teachers are teaching in those schools and finding ways to make it work. And we have a lot to learn
from those communities. As well as we have a lot to
contribute to those communities. So to be very honest, I let the communities that seem to have a lot
of financial resources, take care of it on their own and maybe direct some of our energy
towards other communities where there’s another kind of creativity that’s like percolating every day, in order to like, make it work. I don’t know if that answers
your question at all. But that’s my attention seems to go to neighborhoods that feel
like are being failed by our larger systems. – And I’m imagining that part
of what you’re saying, too, is that public radio is part of what, I don’t know, I guess we don’t see it as part of our political infrastructures, but that it is one of those public
goals that enables us to grow and to potentially I mean, share information and news
that enables us to act. – Well it was interesting
like thinking about that notion of access to information. So you can look at some
countries that restrict their citizens access to information. In this country, we have access
to lots and lots and lots of information. But not necessarily easy access to real information or true information. And, when I think about
it through that lens, I think the notion of public
media is really critical. Because there’s no political point of view that we’re trying to push. There’s no cooperation
we’re trying to satisfy. There’s nothing else besides
just the public good. That is the motivating factor
for giving information. And I do think that’s really important. But we’re also at a time in media where the corporations that aren’t
even controlled by governments that they’re almost their own government. They are really controlling
all of our access to information and privacy. So I think that’ll be the next question we have to wrestle with. – I was just thinking
what if it’s you know, is it a coincidence that
public radio and the arts neither of them are economic? Well, we tried to argue that
they’re economic engines but they are they are
in a form of gift giving or a form of generosity
back into community. – Yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I think they are economic generators. We make that argument all the time. And I do really believe that they are. And I think even you
know, like what our role in the arts community, in addition to talking about the arts and telling people about them, including one person sitting in the front row, Anthony. It talks about theater for KCRW. We let people know about what’s happening for people to go participate in. So I don’t know, I do
see an economy there. – I knew I was in trouble. – Yeah. – I’ll just turn my
hand down all the time. – If we can support her then. – It’s the large corporations that have their hands out all the time. – That have what? – That have their hands out all the time. – They’re the ones getting the subsidies. – This is actually my question, sorry all. But, as I was thinking about community because I knew I didn’t have any answers. I wanted to understand
the difference between identity and community. I wonder if you could help
me understand that better. – I often ask what comes first? Do you belong to a community
that then gives you identity or do you have an identity that
then gives you a community? Or maybe it’s a mixture
of both, or it depends. – I think I see it similarly. It would be hard to sort
of choose one or the other because I think with a recognition that all of us belong to
many different communities, I think some of that is dictated out of our control something similar to refer
back to what you said in your opening that some
of our communities are, we inherit when we’re born. Others are very random, and we
just sort of are plopped into and others we really choose, we seek out. And I think, for instance, the
ones we choose and seek out a sports team or the folks right now I guarantee you there are
dance teams practicing in the parking lots
underneath they’re sitting right here right now. They’re choosing to be there. So somehow, their
identities are formulating in community with others
who are interested in some of the same things. You know, these are affinity groups. But there are other kinds
of communities we belong to where identity came first. We were constructed a certain way and that plopped us into certain settings and certain environments
where that happened. And I think, you know,
we learned both those, you know, we learned from both
situations, I would imagine. – Could you give an example of the latter? – Well, okay, so I, I’ll give you two. I grew up in an immigrant Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia. And I haven’t practiced Catholicism in probably three decades. But there’s still some
very Catholic sort of like, reactions I have to things that I feel like started
beyond my control, right or before I was aware
that they were happening, and very local things. I still sometimes call
myself a Philly boy. But as I told the students earlier, I’ve lived in LA way longer than I’ve ever lived in Philadelphia. But there was something very like foundational about sort of, where I come from, how I learned, how I learned to be in a family, how I learned to be in a community, that I both ran away
from, and also hold on to. And I think those things are
very identity based, right? And I think those days, and
I think it’s different now. Growing up wanting to
become an educated person, wanting to be an artist growing up queer. That meant you left home
in order to sort of realize or actualize those sort
of ideas for your life. I don’t think that’s necessarily
true for the younger folks, I meet in my home city now. But those are the options
at that point in time. And so I also think history
plays a lot in sort of, like where we’re at in history to sort of know whether or not we can
fully realize our identity where we’re at or do we need to go somewhere else and seek it out. – We had this incredibly
plaintiff question. How do I find out where I belong? – I think asking that
question was a good start. But it also shows
precisely this difference between identity and community. That if we think about identity
as totally self described, but often prescribed, with categories that are
socially constructed, and that we often rail against. I think community as a form of belonging can be something different. Something that we have not
been told we must belong to. But not only do we choose to belong to, but that we often creates by belonging. And that to me is very much
a story around freedom often. And freedom that is relational,
it’s not just individual. So asking that question
is precisely the way in which we create community. – So good start out there. – Yeah. – I think it also is, I mean,
just to go super specific, and in terms of finding out actually, if someone is really asking that question, how do I find out if I belong someplace? I think especially in times of transition, so whether you’re moved from
one city to another city whether you’ve graduated from high school and come to college or your
college life has changed, and you’re around a
different group of people, I think you have to try them out. Try out places to you
see where you belong. And I guess I’m also thinking
about this notion of community and what’s the difference between a group and a community. To me a community is someplace
where you do some action that acknowledges that you’re a little bit of something bigger than yourself. That you can just belong to a group but to really identify with a community or be a part of a community, requires some kind of action. And I don’t think it has to be huge. But I think it’s a deliberate
step that you take that says, this is important, and, it’s bigger than myself. – That goes back to that question of what are the determining factors when it comes to defining a community? And that’s a really nice additional way of thinking about it. In addition to what
Ananya presented earlier. – In some ways, you know, I think we’ve been talking about community a sort of a practice. It is not simply a fixed bounded thing. Though, of course, I’m
very struck by the ways in which communities can be exclusionary, as Jennifer pointed out, or
the circle becomes a wall. But we’ve been thinking
about community as a practice and both Jonathan and Kevin talked about traversing Los Angeles. And these various geographism borders when I arrived
in LA four years ago, and wanted to get to know
more than the parts of the city that I live in. I realized that one of the ways in which one builds community in LA is by showing up by actually driving. Or taking public
transportation, whatever it is. But being physically there
by showing up repeatedly. Right, to build love and to build trust. And it is a particular practice. And of course, the metabolism interested in what that space making
and space traversing means. But in other words, you
can’t just plop yourself into those spaces and say, here I am. It is meticulous, diligent practice. – That’s such an important point. I’m just thinking, you know, I go to dance concerts constantly and traverse the city. And I realized the
other day that actually, it’s not really that I’m
going for the performance. I’m going to see all
the people who are going to the performance because
they’re my community. It’s kind of like a party
with a performance in it. – Yeah. There’s two big questions
here that I think that are important to address before we move in across to you all. And it is thinking about
the role of technology now and building our sense of community. Some of the questions was
how has technology changed the way we view community? And there’s particular
point about social media and community building or so on. Y’all might be as important people to answer that question as
well as these folks up here. But I’d love to just ask you
to give your consideration and then maybe we can turn it back to you. Technology, social media. – I think technology is a force for good and of force for evil all
at the exact same time. So when I think about, of course, we can immediately
think of all the awful things that can come from the easy connections that we can make on social media. But then there’s so many beautiful things that come from that. And ways that people who
felt isolated and alone found their people. And they didn’t have to
physically be present because maybe that wasn’t easy. I think about movements, I
think about Black Lives Matter, I think about how that was able to emerge and be a factor, an important factor across United States because of social media
in a short period of time. I think about The New York
Times as diagnosis column, that kind of notion where
you put it out to the crowd, as to people’s ailments and
then finding cures for people because other people read them. But that was all through
social media itself, and good and evil
existing at the same time. – Yeah, I agree. I think it’s impossible for
us to talk about community or movements or collective action in the hearing now without
thinking about social media. So on the one hand, the social media giants, Facebook at the top of that list, are a great example of today’s enclosures. They’ve enclosed the Digital Commons. So it’s a real irony that
we use these platforms to connect to one another. And yet they are of course the purveyors of technocapitalism and in places like the San Francisco Bay area, we know the absolute
devastation the technocapitalism has wreaked on communities,
real communities. And yet on the other
hand, social media spaces and I’m, you know, find
myself often on Twitter. A space is precisely a public
debate and conversation but for the public sphere. And then the public sphere, not just for those who’ve had the privilege of an elite college education. In many parts of the
world in which I work, for example, in India, across
the Middle East, for example, social media has been a
powerful democratizing force. And so I agree but because we
think about the ways in which social media brings certain
enclosures and exclutions really difficult ones. But also is escape key space
now community making for sure. – I’m quickly thinking about this in like, many different ways, but I would have settled
on from the point of view of arts education and teaching artists and it can be very tricky to require our students that were
working within local schools to put away their phone for an hour or so and really go through the
steps of creative process. Because it’s their talk about identity. A lot of our identity
is associated with how we are presented and curating
our lives on social media. And I think, you know, it’s a great
experiment for young folks who have never not known a phone and never not known social media. And that’s, I think that the
population were working with, to who are they, apart from Instagram? And how can the arts help
them sort of experience I guess, the withdrawal symptoms, but also the freedom and liberation of not having to be judged or liked every second or every hour of the day and to create something
that is a work in progress rather than something that’s fully curated and fully presented as finished product. So I think it’s a great opportunity. Ultimately, though, so many of us show our artwork
on social media, right. So once we’re happy with it,
then we do like, post it. But I think there’s a lot of research and I think I just know it anecdotally. But um, you know, a lot of us in particularly young people
have a lot more trouble sort of concentrating and
staying focused on one task. Because there’s an impulse to
sort of reach for something, like something’s missing, what
is it over? It’s my phone. But at the same time,
there’s also an opportunity, and maybe I would be interested in what the students have to say too. Which is how we learn to then
to make art with our phones? And how do we make art in
response to social media and how do we learn to
sort of explore identity and the tension between those two, because it’s a reality that doesn’t, it’s not going away, right. But I think it could be
a bit of a challenge, especially for working
with middle schoolers and high schoolers. – Thank you Alfree for those responses. I feel like we’re on a topic
that we really need to hear from the audience about this. So I think we have
microphones ready to roll and we’re going to just skip
our discussion with ourselves for the moment. And I wonder if we could
hear some thoughts about the impact of technology on community, Community exclusion inclusion, and so on from you all. Are you up for that? Okay, good. Alright, so who’s got a mic? – Hello. – Okay.
– I have the mic. Over here. My name is Mark Bizimana. And I just wanna say I’m very stoked to hear everyone’s speech tonight. I’ve learned a lot from
all different parts of the different work you do. And I had a question which
Dr. Roy was talking about earlier about kind of,
and only put words about what I read that as like the
responsibility to pay forward. What we can get from our communities, what we will be gained
from our communities, like I think of UCLA, as this is a place where
a lot of people come from different places in
the country, in the world. They come here for resources
to better themselves, better communities. And so I’m curious, you know, what do you think about the
idea of a responsibility to pay these communities for, what is the threshold I got, for example, I was a transfer student,
I transferred here. I really wanted to work
here because I wanted to still give back to the
community here at UCLA. And so I’m at a point
where I’m making choices to maybe move but I
think there’s always work in this community as well, especially LA to pay forward what I learned
here and give that back to the city as a whole before I even think about moving
to a different city. I just want to hear what
you had thought about that. – let’s have Ananya respond to that question. And then I do want to go
back to the question before, it was talking about technology. And I’d like to stick with that subject. So let’s have a quick answer for you. And then we’ll, go back to where we were. – So I do think that the idea of community is tied up with related concepts. As I noted in the brief
presentation of solidarity, accountability, responsibility. So I like to think about accountability, more than responsibility
and in the work I do. But also in the work we do as the institution and
equality and democracy, we think a lot about who do we
want to be in community with. And the point I was making is
that I can’t necessarily say that we are in solidarity with communities on the front lines of struggle. With communities facing housing brutality. Because we’re not taking the same risks. As those communities, we’re not facing the same vulnerabilities. But we can be accountable to them. So that’s a little different from, but might not be completely
unrelated to paying it forward. So I think that that
question of accountability, which is really being accountable to is crucial if we are to think
about an ethical orientation to community, and I say this because of the university setting, as well as the nonprofit
world, as you know, to the term community,
and community engagement can be used loosely. And what we had the same thing was a very different approach to community. So I think part of this is figuring out which community do you
want to be accountable to? And in what ways do
they call you out then? And what does that demand of you? Which goes back to this idea
of community as a practice. – So well, the stream could divide and go in multiple directions right now. But I do want to just take
a moment to jump back, so I think we have students in the class who
would like to talk to us about perception of technology,
and impact on community. And so if a student has a microphone, we’d love to hear from you. I can’t see you very well. Maybe we could lower
the sights a little bit or raise the audience lights. – I just wanted to answer your question on how can we make art with the phones. We have a department here
called design Media Arts and it’s basically code base
art along with video art. A lot of different ways of art but they’re not only like processing
Pfive, these are software’s but they are software is to create art and they’re not only for
like creating communities in between kids to do it but
also like other communities. So there’s like very
many new ways of using. Although I agree with
you that children should be able to do without their
phones for a little bit. These are like very new and different ways of like electronics processing p5. And in like UCLA with these communities were trying to create and be more inclusive
with these types of arts because they’re not as known as other types, I guess yes. – My name is Paloma Vieira. I am a senior in Fine Arts major and well, my phone, yes
can be very distracting to my creative practice. I do want to recognize
that using social media as a platform for sharing my work, also like opens the idea
and practice of critique up. It’s like a whole world
outside of just this studios. So it’s like a super helpful tool to like understand different
perspectives about my own work. – Right up there. Take the mic if you don’t mind. You are a good shouter but (murmurs) – I’m curious about the role
of relationships in community. So we’ve talked a lot about communities where there isn’t necessarily
a relationship except a shared value, which
is somewhat abstract. This last question was about critiques. Critiques coming from the vast community where you don’t necessarily
have a relationship or an understanding of what’s coming. The perspective of the critique. So I just wanted to
open up the question of the importance of relationship in the definition or creation of community. – I think that goes back to that notion of what’s there between
a group and a community. I think that can be one of the, one of the elements of that, you know, and it also talks to your
notion that I love of who you are accountable to,
rather than giving back. I love that notion, because accountability is kind of everything. It is about showing up and about feeling responsible to doing what you said you would do. – So for me community
is about relationality which is not necessarily
about relationships. So family is about relationships, for better or for worse right? And community to me it’s not
even about forms of belonging, it could be about forms of belonging but say membership in a nation state. Whether we call that
citizenship or something else, is about certain kinds of belonging. But for me community is a
particular relationality. So the reason why I wanted to start with those women on the screens, is as I said they are often strangers. They act in unison, without
formal coordination. So there’s a relationality, and precisely because they recognize shared conditions but they’re not in relationship with one another necessarily. Still till today exchange phone numbers and keep in touch, they don’t. So that to me is very intriguing. And that often happens
in movements as well. – Shall we open this up to audience for a couple more minutes? I do want to take 60
seconds I’d like you to, you know, exercise your voice
with the person next to you. And just identify a question
that you would like to ask or an observation or, you know,
just talk amongst yourselves and make community. Now, let’s take a moment
just for everybody and then have themselves
to talk to each other, go. All right, here we are. (murmurs) We’re gonna rock into this with a lot of energy
and then finish and then go our separate ways. So we do wanna hear from you. We want, whatever you
have to say to be short, so that we have an opportunity
to continue on together. We have a microphone right
here in the second rep. – Yes, good evening. Thank you so much for being here. This is amazing. I feel like a related thought
to the idea of whether or not there’s a community around you, whether or not you belong to something, is the nature of story and the stories that we tell ourselves and the stories to tell to other people. So like I’m able to form
community with somebody because it’s something
I heard on the radio or something that I saw on social or something that I
experienced in the theater. And then that sense of like,
when I’m working with students, and they’re like, not
sure if they belong here, the connected question is, well, I’m not sure what my own story is. So I’m curious for the panel. At this formative time in your life and like as a younger person, how did you start to form
a story about yourself that you could tell to other people that help build community around you? – That is just so good. – You’re gonna answer that, right? (laughs loudly) – Oh, I thought you were
gonna respond to that. – Yeah, I think he was asking us. He was waiting for you guys to start – Two things came to mind really quickly. One is that when I was, I think you asked me to put myself in the age group of the
student predominantly right. And I was studying theater, which is an interesting topic to study, where you’re trying to
figure out your own story. Because the task at hand is to learn how to play another person. But of course, the
techniques you’re learning, hopefully in a drama school
and a theater program is you know how to access truth and believability
under imaginary circumstances and you refer back to you know, your own life and your own
experiences to do that. And so I think that
process was really helpful but really painful to do inventory on, you know, personally my own
life in order to accurately or you know, successfully
portray someone else. But I think it was really helpful in building the kind of muscles to have resilience of, which is to know my
story of what I overcame, and what I’m still overcoming,
and what I’m struggling with, in the service of the
play or to play right was ultimately also in service to myself. And so it was, you know, I think choosing the arts for me was as much about healing myself and learning how to tell my story in ways that felt truthful, but like empowering was part of the training,
as well, as part of, I guess, the result of that work. I hope that answers your question. Thank you. – Thank you for raising that
point about storytelling, I think it’s absolutely crucial. And in the work that I do, particularly on urban
poverty and inequality, we’re in LA or elsewhere. I think this question of the
erasure of collective memory, as way in which communities are torn apart and displaced is crucial. So if you think back to that
slide I shared from Santa Ana, it’s very much about
owning the storytelling about telling their own stories. And in particular, the institute
we’ve been thinking a lot about how we might use the
resources of the university, to support that storytelling work be it the community archives, at a place like the
Southern California library, or the storytelling that
has injustice movements are doing. I need to do more of the attempt to unions or organizations working in Skid Row. So I think there’s also a
very complex relationship between the stories that we as gatekeepers of academic knowledge, tell about communities and the storytelling and memory work that communities often do. And I’m very interested
in the methodologies that might connect those. That allow us to journey together. But also, in fact, insist that
academic knowledge production is then accountable to
those forms of storytelling. – I’ll just answer this
on a personal level because I do remember being at UCLA, as I said, with my terrible SAT scores, and which of course now I
realized don’t matter at all. – Yes exactly. – Not at all. But I felt like I belonged once I started working at
the student, media at UCLA, so I was one of the editors, I became one of the editors
of the feminist news magazine, which I think it’s now called FEM, was called together before,
better name now, gotta say. But we were together and there’s this, I’m going to divert a little
bit but there’s this woman who does really interesting
work in Santa Cruz at the history museum, I believe there. And she felt always very socially awkward and she realized that babies and dogs were this great conduit to
talking to other people. And then she started say, how can I bring that into this museum because I don’t really like
to talk to other people, but I want to be around other people, but I don’t want to just be, you know, not talking to each other. And so she came up with
this kind of concept of almost like parallel play, like you know, when you’re building a puzzle together, or I guess making a play together or doing something where you have a job, like, you’re at a, you
know, maybe you’re at a place like assembling
something for other people, like you can talk about stuff
while you’re doing something. So you get past the
awkward of things of like, I don’t know what to say, I don’t know where to put my hands, I don’t know where to look, you know. I mean, I’m sorry, I’m sounding
so microscopic about this. But I do think that
ultimately, when we do things, when we’re in service to something else, we can end up creating
relationships with each other because we’re not just like
saying, meet this person. Like, I never use dating apps. I didn’t have to do that, thank God, but I’m just like, how weird? You’re just supposed to
go out on a date and say, are you marriage material? It’s like, I don’t know,
like I’d seems so awkward. Whereas if I would think if I was going to design a dating thing, I would make people like
work at a food pantry and like you come and you’re
like on the assembly line and you try to work it out. And you can see like, you know, this person is totally disorganized, this person selfish, this
person is helping out. And then through that, you know, you can start a big conversation
and then you’d like, Oh my gosh, you’re actually really funny. And I don’t know, anyway, so
that was a silly, silly answer to that very important question. – Great, do we have another question? We have just a couple
minutes left, right there. Do you have a mic? Perfect. – Yeah, I do. Okay, I was wondering if
you guys could discuss maybe what happens when, like a community dissolves in like the face of an individual, if like, ascribed identities, like don’t smoothly overlap, or if you exist in a binary
or presupposed binary? – Did you understand the question? – Can you give us an example? – Yeah like. – Tell us what is on your mind. – I’m half Japanese, and I’m half white, or like if you’re part
of the LGBTQ+ community and maybe part of like a
really intense church group, and like these communities, like resist each other
in really specific ways, but obviously don’t have to. – Is the question, what do you do? – Now, I think it’s really important, but I think we only have
10 minutes left, right. – I’ll just jump in very,
hopefully just very quickly, because I did think
about that in my sort of, you know, which is that I feel on personal level to
feel like stable and calm about the world we live in, especially, really, truthfully, this particular time, these last three years have
felt very destabilizing. And there’s a lot of folks
that I just don’t understand how they’re thinking about a topic or how they’re responding to something. And not to be coy, I’m
talking about politics. (audience laughs) Maybe that’s obvious, but maybe it’s sort of a way of into that, which is that not I
guess I share community. When you go back to my
home state of Pennsylvania, which is one of those swing states, I’m so grateful that I don’t have a family that has different
political beliefs than I do. And as a Californian,
I think it’s obvious. I’m so glad I don’t have to go back to a Trump household for me. But I know a lot of friends
that do have to go back there and so somehow negotiating that tension has been really upsetting in this. I think this time we’re
living in right now maybe brings up a lot of that, where we have a sense of, I use the word utopian sort
of ideas about community, but there’s also a lot
of tension and disharmony in certain communities. And that’s an enormous amount
of work to sort of find, like, what are the places you could go to sort of figure that out. And a lot of us are just like, I’m not even going to
try to figure that out. – I’m going to just jump in and say, we’re really almost like,
literally at the end of our time, but it seems to me that this, is a super important
question that you’ve asked and thank you for it. And it relates to this question
of how do we deal with this charged environment and navigate these tremendously opposing differences or
challenges in terms of where we connect, So I wonder if maybe
just give an opportunity for both of you to respond to that as we move out of this. – So two thoughts in response to that. One for me, community
is not about cohesion. Communities can be deeply
conflictual spaces, right? Conflict power, those
things hierarchy are real. Within communities even as
they might hold together. But I think that we ought to think about the present historical conjuncture, but also the long history
in the United States would also the country
in which I grew up India, I want to be clear that
the idea of community has been used in very violent ways, and has been weaponized repeatedly. So today, you know, so
I had a choice to make for the brief presentation
I gave this evening. I could talk about movements, right, that are a form of community building, or I could have talked about the ways in which the United States as a settler colonial,
settler capitalist state, has deployed the idea of community. And what I was teaching about today in my histories and
theories of planning class at 9:30 this morning was about sort of a key aspects
of the Trump administration, which is around insistence on
the immigration enforcement of the scale of cities, right, and the fight against
sanctuary jurisdictions. But that program at the federal level is called Secure Communities. Which in fact, turns all our communities into borders and immigration enforcements that sets the conditions for detention and deportation, right. So in fact, this idea
of communities and of secure and safe communities
has been violently used many times. If I think to India, and I
think about the entrenchment now of right wing nationalism
there, the idea of community and has been used also in deeply xenophobic Islamophobia ways such that in the name of community, we’re seeing widespread
lynchings of Muslims, right? So I think that we need to think precisely about how community can be
involved in violent ways and has been all through the history of many of our nation states. – I would just say, again,
on a personal level, one thing that I really believe in is trying to recognize the humanity
of the people around us. And I think it takes a lot of effort to disassociate how we think people think and what that means about them. Because I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve met people who have
shown remarkable kindness, and then later I find out
what awful people they are. I’m just kidding,
they’re not awful people. But I do, I would normally if I saw that the way that they think first, I would think they were awful people, yet they still had the capacity for expressing tremendous kindness. So I don’t know somewhere
in there is a balance. – So these are heavy notes to leave on, but also really give us an opportunity to think about the
choices we have to make. And I wanted to just ask
did Boel pick up a rifle? – No he didn’t, that’s the point. He realized at that moment
that they weren’t going to join peasants in armed insurrection. That solidarity was not possible. – Solidarity was not possible. – But for us, solidarity
is possible in that. (audience laughs loudly) Well, there’s a few things, right? Like we’re going to leave together and go our different ways. That’s solid and also, (audience laughs loudly) we’re going to play some music and you’re going to
dance right out of here. Music, go. (audience applauds)

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