Shaping Change

Ayana Jamieson, the founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, co-organized a three-day conference with me called "Shaping Change: Remembering Octavia E. Butler through Archives, Art, and Worldmaking," which took place at the Cross-Cultural Center at the University of California, San Diego, June 3-5, 2016. Jamieson has the deepest knowledge of Butler's papers at the Huntington Library of anyone that I know. She held a prestigious Helen Bing Fellowship there to continue her research for Butler's biography, which she is currently writing. She also leads the One Book/One College Program on Butler's Dawn at Pasadena City College. Butler's family states in a letter that they "especially wish to acknowledge and commend the scholarship, expertise, and guidance of Ms. Ayana Jamieson." Her knowledge of Butler's work and life as well as her expertise about the artists and scholars who are doing cutting-edge work in response to Butler was crucial for the success of the conference, which was an historic gathering of artists, writers, scholars, students, and activists inspired by Butler's memory to shape change and make a better world. It included an Undergraduate Research Summit and a Graduate Student Summit. The conference also sparked significant attendance and participation from community members. 

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We received $32,500 in funding, including $20,000 from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, $5000 from UCSD's Culture, Art, and Technology Writing Program at Sixth College, $3000 from the Division of Social Science, $1500 from the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, $500 from Theater and Dance, $500 from Music, $300 from Ethnic Studies. $250 from Critical Gender Studies, $250 from the Black Studies Project, $250 from Psychology, $200 from Education Studies, $250 from Literature, and $250 from the Division of Arts and Humanities. The Clarion Workshop and the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network were also co-sponsors. 

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Shaping Change Conference Schedule 

All events will take place at the Cross-Cultural Center on the 2nd Floor of the Price Center East, UCSD. Registration and panels will take place in La Comunidad Room. Conference-related art, speculative design projects, and visions of the future created by Sixth College’s CAT (Culture, Art, Technology) 3 students will on display in the ArtSpace room.

Friday, June 03, 2016

8:45 am – 9:45 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast

 10:00 am – 10:45 am

Welcome - Shelley Streeby & Ayana Jamieson

Screening - Invisible Universe footage and Q & A with M. Asli Dukan

 11:00 am – 12: 15 pm

Panel - Latin American and Latinx Futurisms after Octavia E. Butler

Curtis Marez, “Future Lines of Flight: Octavia E. Butler, the Royal Chicano Air Force, and the United Farm Workers Movement”

Beatrice Pita and Rosaura Sánchez, “Octavia Butler's Kindred Spirits: Latino Futurisms in the Work of Mexican Speculative Fiction Writers Trujillo Múñoz and Schwartz”

Pepe Rojo and Grant Leuning, “Dispatches from the Magonista Front: Experiential Fictions”

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

UCSD Undergrad Research Summit: Sixth College’s CAT 3 Students Imagining the Future in 2066

1:15 pm to 2:30 pm

Writers Expanding the Genre

Chair: Lisa Bolekaja

Ted Chiang, “Technology and the Narrative of the Self”

Nisi Shawl, reading an excerpt of her upcoming novel Everfair

2:45 pm to 4:15 pm

Panel - Borderlands of Science and Fiction

Elizabeth Losh, “Survival Kit for Speculative Design”

Emily Rose Schwab, “ ‘Take It Beyond the Limits’: Exploring Connections Between Science Fiction and Literacy Education”

Dagmar Van Engen, “ ‘Learn and Run!’: Fugitive Pedagogy in the Xenogenesis Series”

Lauren Marie Taylor and Alan Clark, “Speculations on the Cultural Influences of the Young Octavia Butler: The Space Race, The Cold War and The Civil Rights Movement”

Kim Kirkpatrick, “Voice and Language as a ‘Place of Struggle’ ” 

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Panel - Worldmaking with the Clarion Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholars

Shelley Streeby, Lisa Bolekaja, Amin Chehelnabi, Sophia Echavarria, Melanie West

6:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Dinner

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

UCSD Writers Showcase: Fiction Inspired by Octavia E. Butler

“Speculative Improprieties,” Anna Joy Springer, Pepe Rojo

Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi, Tae Hwang and Melinda Barnadas, Paola Capo-Garcia, Amanda Solomon, Shelley Streeby, “Watching TV in 2066”

Open Mic: Rorie Still with “Octavia Butler Project: Seeing Star Children”; Brittany Johnson; Ricardo Dominguez’s CAT 3 students’ flash fiction, and more.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

8:30 am – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

9:00 am – 10:15 am

Panel - Resistance and Revolution: Post-Apocalyptic Yearnings

Esther Choi, “The Non-Profit Industrial Complex as Dystopia: Insights from the Revolution Will Not Be Funded and Octavia's Brood

Jeanelle Horcasitas, “ ‘I’m Valerie Rye’: Body Language, World Building and Hope in Octavia Butler’s "Speech Sounds”

Jeanine Webb, “Wild Seed, Fledgling and Bodies That Resist”  

Clayton Colmon, “The (Post-)Human Dance: Digital Humanities, Afrofuturism and Octavia Butler’s Patternist Series”

10:30 am – 11:45 am

Panel – Applications of Black Women’s Futurist Thought

Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha, “Reflections on Octavia’s Brood

Olaronke Akinmowo, “Free Black Woman’s Library: Using Books to Build and Liberate Community”

Rasheedah Phillips, “Black Quantum Futurism”

Krista Franklin, "Holding the Pattern: Visual Language in Response to the Work of Octavia E. Butler"

11:45 am to 1:00 pm

Lunch Break

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Panel – Transforming Humanity

Chair: Moya Bailey

Alexis Lothian, “All That You Change: Shaping a Transformative Digital Humanities”

Aimee Bahng, "Plasmodial Improprieties: Octavia Butler, Slime Molds, and Imagining a Femi-Queer Commons"

2:15 pm to 3:30 pm

Roundtable

“Affect in the Archive, or Why I Sometimes Cried in the Bathroom of the Huntington Library”

Sami Schalk, Moya Bailey, Cassandra Jones, Ayana Jamieson

3:45 pm to 4:30 pm

Workshop

Katie Seitz, “Shaping Our Legacies: Using Butler to Vision Archival Futures”

4:45 pm to 6:00 pm

Panel – Reimaging Art, Family, Legacy, and Archival Futures

Ella Maria Ray, “Sankofic Meditations: Listening to an Africana Griot Using Fired-clay”

Katherine Agard and Murktarat Yussuff, “Reimagining Family and Genealogy”

Monica Hand, “Trilogy: Three Miniature Handmade Books Inspired by Octavia E. Butler Tomes”

6:00 pm to 6:15 pm

Reflections – Ayana Jamieson and Shelley Streeby

Sunday, June 05, 2016

8:30 am – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

 9:00 am – 10:15 am

Panel - Parables of Change and Survival

Kim Hester Williams, “Earthseeds of Change: Post-Apocalyptic Mythmaking in The Book of Eli and Octavia Butler’s Womanist Ecologies”

Olaronke Akinmowo, “Lauren Olamina’s Life Tips”

 10:30 am – 11: 30 am

Workshop

Allison Simon, “Manifesting Change: A Search for Ourselves through Time & Space”

11:30 pm to 1:00 pm

Community Council and Closing Ritual

 

Welcome - Shelley Streeby & Ayana Jamieson

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Screening - Invisible Universe footage and Q & A with M. Asli Dukan

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A documentary work-in-progress Produced by M. Asli Dukan GENRE: documentary | speculative fiction http://invisibleuniversedoc.com SYNOPSIS: The Invisible Universe documentary reveals the history of the representations and participation of Black people in the genres of fantasy, horror and science fiction, or speculative fiction (SF).

"Framed through the POV of a time traveling Archivist, the documentary explores 150 years of speculative fiction literature, its origins, developments, key personalities and current state, all through the perspective of Black people and history. The documentary demonstrates how the genres, which were premised on the ideology of white supremacy, have been adopted and adapted by Black writers as a form of artistic resistance for envisioning different worlds and futures.  

The story is revealed to the audience through the comprehensive, independent research of the filmmaker, M. Asli Dukan, who began HD production in 2011. Ms. Dukan has compiled an extensive interviewee list of Black creators who have been producing SF works where Black people not only exist in the future, but are powerful shapers of their own realities, whether in magical lands, dystopian settings, or on distant worlds. In addition, she has documented an impressive number of academic, community and arts events dedicated to the work and analysis of Black SF, as well as to building connections between creators, organizers, academics and fans. In the past decade, the filmmaker has documented the cultural shift around Black SF and its development into an informal network and movement. 

This feature length documentary includes interviews with Black writers of SF like Samuel R. Delany, the late Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Brandon Massey and N.K. Jemisin, actors like Nichelle Nichols and Wesley Snipes, filmmakers like Julie Dash and Ernest R. Dickerson, cultural organizers like Yumy Odom and Rasheedah Phillips, scholars like Moya Bailey and Ayana Jamieson, academics/artists like John Jennings and Nettrice Gaskins, social justice workers/artists like adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, as well as numerous other filmmakers, artists, academics, archivists, fans - a virtual who’s who in Black speculative fiction."

Panel - Latin American and Latinx Futurisms after Octavia E. Butler

UCSD Communication PhD student Pepe Rojo at the mic, with Curtis Marez, Rosaura Sánchez, Beatrice Pita, and Visual Arts PhD student Grant Leuning

Rosaura Sánchez,, co-author of Lunar Braceros 2125-2148

Curtis Marez, author of Farmworker Futurisms: Speculative Technologies of Resistance

Curtis Marez delivering his talk on "Octavia E. Butler and the Farm Worker Movement" 

UCSD Undergrad Research Summit: Sixth College’s CAT 3 Students Imagining the Future in 2066

UCSD undergraduate Aragon de La Poeze d'Harumbare presenting his vision of the future in 2066

UCSD undergraduate Lauren Matsumoto

UCSD undergraduate Andrew Johnson

UCSD undergraduate Anh Vo

Writers Expanding the Genre

Lisa Bolekaja

Ted Chiang

 Nisi Shawl

Nisi Shawl

Panel - Borderlands of Science and Fiction

Lauren Marie Taylor and Alan Clark

Liz Losh, Lauren Maria Taylor, Alan Clark 

Panel - Worldmaking with the Clarion Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholars

Nisi Shawl, Lisa Bolekaja, Amin Chehelnabi, Sophia Echavarria, Melanie West

Sophia Echavarría with Nisi Shawl, Lisa Bolekaja, and Amin Chehelnabi

UCSD Ethnic Studies PhD Student Melanie West, 2015 Octavia E. Butler Scholar

UCSD Writers Showcase: Fiction Inspired by Octavia E. Butler

UCSD Literature MFA and Clarion 2014 alumnus Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi

Curtis Marez, "TV is the Thing This Year" 

Amanda Solomon

Panel - Resistance and Revolution: Post-Apocalyptic Yearnings

Esther Choi, Jeanelle Horcasitas, Jeanine Webb, Clayton Colmon

Esther Choi, Jeanelle Horcasitas, Jeanine Webb

Panel – Applications of Black Women’s Futurist Thought

adrienne maree brown

Rasheedah Phillips

Krista Franklin

Walidah Imarisha

Olaronke Akinmowo

Post panel photograph of panelists and other amazing women all here for Shaping Change conference: Nisi Shawl, Moya Bailey, Adrienne Maree Brown, Walidah Imarisha, Krista Franklin,Olaronke Akinmowo, Rasheeda Phillips, Lisa Bolekaja,Cassandra Jones, Sami Shalk, Asli Dukan, Ayana Jamieson.

Panel – Transforming Humanity

Alexis Lothian and Aimee Bahng

Aimee Bahng and Slime Molds

Alexis Lothian

Roundtable“Affect in the Archive, or Why I Sometimes Cried in the Bathroom of the Huntington Library”

Moya Bailey, Sami Schalk, Cassandra Jones, Ayana Jamieson

Ayana Jamieson

Moya Bailey

Cassandra Jones

Workshop: Katie Seitz, “Shaping Our Legacies: Using Butler to Vision Archival Futures”

Panel – Reimaging Art, Family, Legacy, and Archival Futures

Ella Maria Ray

Monica Hand

Panel - Parables of Change and Survival

Olaronke Akinmowo

Authored by Olaronke Akinmowo

Kim Hester Williams

WorkshopAllison Simon, “Manifesting Change: A Search for Ourselves through Time & Space”

Ayana Jamieson

Moya Bailey compiled all the conference tweets into a story that you can read HERE.

Sami Schalk writes about the conference HERE

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