Help Bronte Study Abroad In Prague and Ecuador!
Organized by: Bronte Velez
I am a rising junior and Posse scholar at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA where I am creating an interdisciplinary major called “Critical Race Studies, Creative Placemaking, and the Arts” which pulls from courses in African-American Studies, Latin American Studies, Theatre Arts, Creative Writing, Art History, and Social Justice and Social Policy. I am interested in focusing on creating spaces for oppressed groups to actualize their existences beyond traditional forms of social mobility; art as an alternative and culturally preserving epistemology for people of color; policy for ensuring housing, food, and transportation justice so that people can engage with art; in what ways art creates the capacity for people to move to higher forms and spaces within themselves and within their communities (rather than dissolving themselves in a disillusioned social hierarchy not created for them to flourish in); and exploring what ways art can create alternative forms of existence more conducive to the human experience while in turn deconstructing systemic violence.
I am an artist of many mediums. I grew up focusing on dance in pre-professional programs within Atlanta and New York. I am also interested in creative writing, film, video installation, theatre, and performance art and the ways in which these mediums can intersect.
In addition to creating my own work, I am also interested in ensuring others have space to return to themselves through various forms of art and to create accessibility in the contemporary art world so people of color can find resonance, representation, identity, and place in contemporary work. I teach poetry here at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and have taught poetry in the Greater Atlanta area throughout my life. I have also taught film courses in the Greater Atlanta area. Last summer, I worked with Artists Striving to End Poverty, an outreach arts program, and taught dance for migrant farm worker youth in South Florida.
I have now been given the opportunity to refine my ideas into research and intensively focus on them internationally! In the Fall, I have been selected to attend SIT's "Art and Social Change" program where I will be studying the role of artists in social revolutions, Czech art history, dance and completing my own research with an ethnography on the ways in which artists and youth in Czech Republic horizontally revolutionized their communist government as opposed to attempting to change the infrastructure through vertical, hierarchical integration – strategies, which historically, have often reinforced and perpetuated power dynamics and structural violence. I want to explore artist roles in the Czech Republic that have led to creative conflict transformation; methods of using art as a tool for social change and dissent; and what ways art as an immeasurable tool of strategy can bring measurable change. I will also be traveling to Germany, Poland, and Slovakia within my program for educational excursions. You can read more about the program here: http://www.sit.edu/studyabroad/ssa_czr.cfm
Following my time in Prague I plan to apply my research in community building efforts in the Spring of 2015 in Mariscal, Ecuador. I will be studying abroad with a program called "Rehearsing Change" where I will work and study in a community of 52 families and work alongside a community partner whose tuition is also paid for through my own. Within the program, we will work on developing sustainable community projects through the arts, theatre for social action and innovation, cultural and environmental preservation, storytelling and narrative building through language and movement, identity and place as it applies to our environments, while also focusing on my own research and independent projects. I am in love with their program model as it focuses on applied study abroad and long-term sustainable community projects. You can read more about the program here: http://www.pachaysana.org/r8.html
Throughout my Brandeis career I have taken classes that have prepared me to not demand change but rather allow the people I am working with to decide what it is culturally beneficial and safe to the transformation of their environment. Many Americans have traveled thinking they were doing good and only implemented more harm. I am coming as an encouraged and delighted vessel but one that has so much left to learn. I hope to make my experience about exchange not cultural tourism and about emphasizing humanity’s common language of art. I believe this opportunity as an Afro-Latina womyn is incredibly important and it would be such a privilege to have this experience, to create, to travel, to learn, and to return my self as I give! I hope that you can help me contribute to a more sustainable and just world!
If you look at the second link next to my photo on the left you can watch one of my current creative projects called "The Complete Human Reduced to Reflection."