Lauren Russell is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017) and the forthcoming Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020) and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, among others. She is a research assistant professor in English and is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh. Sarah Stefana Smith is an artist-scholar who works at the intersection of aesthetics and race. She has exhibited at the Borland Project Space (State College), Gallery CA (Baltimore), and Arlington Art Center (Arlington). She is a Postdoctoral Fellow teaching in Critical Race, Gender, and Cultural Studies and the Department of Art at American University. In July 2020, Sarah will begin an assistant professorship at Mount Holyoke College.
Abstract: The poet Lauren Russell’s forthcoming book, Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020), speaks into the gaps in the diary of her great-great-grandfather, a Confederate Captain, and imagines the voice of her great-great-grandmother, Peggy, a black woman silenced by history. The visual artist Sarah Stefana Smith is collaborating with Russell on an installation, For Peggy: Hauntologies of Descent, which aims to use visual, spatial, aural, and textual components to speak into spaces of omission in the archive. Drawing on their collaboration, Russell and Smith invite you to participate in a workshop on memory, poetics and visuality. The three-hour workshop is open to graduate and undergraduate students, community members, staff, and faculty. Participants are asked to bring a historical object of inquiry (perhaps a journal, family heirloom, photograph, or letter). Russell and Smith will discuss elements of their practice and invite participants to move through a series of poetic and visual exercises to construct sketch-collages that capture tensions of history and legibility.
Refreshments will be provided. Register for the event here.
The lead sponsor for this event is the Year of Creativity; it is also sponsored by the Creativities Project, CAAPP, and Studio Arts.
Location and Address
Center for Creativity