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Learning to BREATHE

April 4, 2016


​Learning To BREATHE: Black Feminism, Performative Pedagogies and Creative Praxis. The Winton Cornerstone Event showcases the art-making practices of black feminists who use poetry and performance to elevate black cultural life and politics. The University of Minnesota held a two-day symposium dedicated to the development and cultivation of safe space for black women. This was titled Learning to Breathe to reimplement the necessity of breath, especially in the everyday archives of a black woman. The symposium consisted of many different elements to tap into the many intersections of black womanhood. 


The first day consisted of an interactive presentation by author Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a panel discussion with Sha Cage and Signe Harriday, a conversation with and performance by Ruth Nicole Brown and We Levitate, and a keynote address by Andrea Jenkins. The next day there was a workshop with Ruth Nicole Brown and Alexis Pauline Gumbs and one with Sha Cage and Signe Harriday.


The symposium ended with a performance put on by MaMa m0sAiC, a Theater troupe created by Sha Cage and Signe Harriday, dedicated to sharing the experience of women through theater. The final performance was a perfect way to conclude the long journey. It really put names to faces, successfully tackled the broadness of black womanhood, as well as the very scary similarities. In my eyes, to be a black woman is to be as Big as the Universe but at the same time as small and connected as Mother Earth. This performance showcased and showed love to our trans black women and deaf black women. To me, this was a true representation of what it means to be a black woman, as we come in many different shape and sizes. 


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