The Session Is Planned for Educators and Leaders
Educators and community leaders will gather at the Albany Museum of Art on Saturday, July 22 for a session of the Courageous Conversations About Race series that uses art as the catalyst for difficult conversations about race and racism.
The event, which will be 9 am-3 pm, is free thanks to the United Way of Southwest Georgia Reimagine Albany Initiative. With a limit of 32 participants, online registration is required.
“The AMA embraces the truth that museums are necessary because they serve human needs, and as human needs have become more complicated, and human beings more numerous and diverse, the museum necessity has become more intense,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf, Ph.D., said. “The AMA responds to this need through programs like Courageous Conversations About Race, addressing head-on the difficult themes of race and racism in a safe space where these topics can be explored civilly.
“We at the AMA are recognizing more and more that museums can indeed serve our communities responsibly, and we hope this program serves as a symbol of our commitment to serving all inclusively.”
The AMA began offering Courageous Conversations workshops in 2018. Previous workshops in the series have focused on groups including high school students, college students, and members of the community.
“In order to make the largest impact across our community, and with the support of United Way of Southwest Georgia, we have widened our audience for this vital experience,” AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. “Educators and policymakers should be engaging in these conversations in professional settings, with the intention of taking this experience with them into their work and to the lives that they touch and affect. I am confident that this audience will only benefit from the tools and strategies provided, as well as shared experiences and insight from their colleagues.”
This session will again be led by the team of Gloria J. Wilson, Ph.D., from the University of Arizona, and Sara Scott Shields, Ph.D., from Florida State University. Wilson is an assistant professor in Art & Visual Culture Education at the University of Arizona; chair of the Committee on Multiethnic Concerns, National Art Education Association, and co-director of Arizona Arts, Racial Justice Studio. Shields is an art education associate professor, and department chair at Florida State University.
Wilson and Shields, who tailor each session to the audience, incorporate artworks from various eras to spark and facilitate discussions. Participants will engage in exercises that are intended to promote a deeper understanding of the intersection of racial identity, politics, and social and educational outcomes in America.
“Dr. Wilson and Dr. Shields are extremely dedicated to this work,” Vanoteghem said. “They are both passionate about not only the arts, but also social justice and how they can work in tandem to help break down barriers and prompt difficult but necessary conversations. To make the greatest impact possible, two additional virtual sessions are being offered by our facilitators after the program as a follow-up with the participants. They will discuss how they are holding themselves accountable and obstacles they are facing, and they will create a network of ongoing support.”
“We always have an excellent turnout and insightful, thoughtful discussion at these workshops,” Vanoteghem said. “They are not the easiest conversations to have, but in the world today, they are some of the most important.”