Meet the Think Tank: a public research group developing tactics to dissolve systems of oppression, in the art world and beyond.
March 1st, 2021
Creative Timenis pleased to announce the first cohort for the Creative Time Think Tank, a new thought experiment developed in response to the global pandemic and the resulting heightened and expanded protests surrounding inequity and systemic racism.
“We are really excited to welcome this group of thinkers, makers, and organizers into Creative Time’s first Think Tank,” said Creative Time Associate Curator Diya Vij. “Collectively, they are an interdisciplinary group with expansive individual practices that seek to untangle systems of oppression embedded within the cultural ecosystem. As we ground in the rejection of ‘going back to normal,’ returning to a set of conditions that never served most of us, it is a privilege to offer this particular group the space and time to propose new modes of cultural production for the free and just world we deserve in the here and now.”
The group was chosen from over 200 applicants from an open call, referrals, and rigorous outreach, and further exemplifies Creative Time’s mission in bringing together thought leaders from around the country to reflect on our socio-political realities and envision a path forward. Over the next 10 months, the non-sited group of boundary-pushing thinkers will meet regularly to explore new methodologies to dismantle exclusionary and colonialist modes of artistic creation and presentation. The cohort will shape and define itself as it forms and will collectively organize a series of public programs. The group receives compensation, access to administrative resources, production budget and support, and the Creative Time network.
This intervention builds upon the Creative Time Summit’s legacy of centering the voice of artists and interdisciplinary thinkers to develop strategies for social and political change. The group’s work will be guided, in part, by the following set of questions:
— What constitutes “the field” of cultural production and what are the dominant practices of governance, value creation, and assessment?
— Do alternative modes of knowledge production currently exist in regards to art practice, cultural labor, education, and training for the field? What new forms need to be created?
— What ideological, cultural, and structural shifts are required to steward transformative change?
— What are we building towards?
Creative Time sought participants that are committed to stewarding social and political change and engaging with structures of institutional critique, reform, and creativity. Creative Time has assembled a cohort of nine thought leaders and activists:
— La Tanya S. Autry, Curator
— Caitlin Cherry, Artist
— Che Gossett, Writer and Scholar
— Kevin Gotkin, Professor and Disability Justice Organizer
— Sonia Guiñansaca, Poet and Cultural Organizer
— Emily Johnson, Choreographer and Indigenous Rights Organizer
— Prerana Reddy, Social Practice Programmer and Cultural Organizer
— Namita Gupta Wiggers, Educator, Curator, and Director of Critical Craft Theory
— Hentyle Yapp, Professor and Writer
Through diverse perspectives, disciplines, and professions, this group has strong ties to community building — such as cultural organizing through Sonia Guiñansaca, Emily Johnson, and Prerana Reddy’s practices; creating movements like La Tanya Autry’s Museums are Not Neutral; starting alternative schools like Caitlin Cherry’s DarkStudy and organizations like Namita Gupta Wiggers’ Critical Craft Forum and Kevin Gotkin’s Disability/Arts/NYC and producing ambitious programs and books that connect people around a set of radical ideas in Che Gossett and Hentyle Yapp’s work.
“Creative Time works with artists and creative laborers to produce projects that engender dialogue, encourage debate, and take on the most pressing issues of our time. These engagements aim to integrate art into the expansive dialogues around transformative change and building a better tomorrow. This is how the Creative Time Summit came into being over a decade ago. In this spirit, Creative Time is experimenting with a new model, to provide resources, support, and amplification for the next generation of knowledge and praxis,” said Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig.
As an organization that has produced projects such as Kara Walker’s A Subtlety and Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International, and the Creative Time Summit, which has brought together 10,000+ people globally throughout cities like New York, Stockholm, Venice, Miami, and Toronto, and featured participants such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Carrie Mae Weems, Teju Cole, Alicia Garza, Arthur Jafa, Okwui Enwezor, Coco Fusco, Liberate Tate, and Cannupa Hanska Luger, Creative Time is uniquely positioned and implicated to provide resources, support, and amplification for the next generation of new knowledge as we look to the future.
Lead program support for the Think Tank was generously provided by the Open Society Foundations.