Teaching Artistry blends creative and educational practice in service of community building, social justice, and inspiring joy. Courtney J. Boddie, Host and Creator, chats with teaching artists and arts educators who are driving professional teaching artistry forward. Courtney and her guests discuss personal journeys, celebrate triumphs and challenges, and advocate fiercely for the arts in all communities.
Episode 41 - Dear Reader: In Solidarity, Felicia
As educators, how do we decenter our ego? How do we decenter our authority? How do we give up the practice of regurgitating information to our students, demanding of them our definition of "success," and, instead, ally and co-conspire with them? These are the essential questions that frame Episode 41: "Dear Reader: In Solidarity, Felicia," featuring Felicia Rose Chavez, who is the Creativity and Innovation Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College. Felicia is the author of the book "The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom," which is the basis of this episode's discussion. In their chat, co-produced by the Denver area's BookBar, it becomes clear that Felicia's commitment to this work offers thought-provoking, inspiring and innovative ways to restructure what creative expression looks and feels like. She advocates for the centering of students' artistry and the decentering of traditional authority, specifically that which perpetuates white supremacist power structures, including white orientation, narrative and dominance. Throughout the episode, Felicia offers up excerpts from her book, highlighting segments with titles like "A Safe Space for Creative Concentration" and "Academic Freedom," and notes that she, too, wanted not only to write this book, but to do this important anti-racist work herself. Felicia also draws connections to her own creative work—which she admits IS her life—in which she aims to be anti-racist and support students through their own personal artistic preferences and story sharing, not only as a creative exercise but as a part of a movement toward social justice, urging students to want, need, and insist their stories are heard. What else do Courtney and Felicia discuss? You'll have to listen to find out. You won't want to miss this fascinating episode!
Episode 40, ACT 2: Russell Granet - Striving Towards Belonging
"Kids have a lot of teachers. They don't have a lot of artists in their lives."
That quote, taken directly from this week's episode, frames the second part of Courtney's conversation with Russell Granet—New 42’s President and CEO! In Act 2 of Episode 40: “Striving Toward Belonging,” Courtney and Russell take a deeper dive into Russell's historical knowledge of teaching artistry. They dig into its evolution over the past few decades and discuss their hope that the profession as a whole leans into amplifying and highlighting the artistry of the extraordinary people in the field. This episode also delves into New 42's ongoing antiracism work, including the continued development of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) ecosystem which calls in multiple perspectives in order to make accountability, equity and liberatory practices essential parts of the fabric of New 42's systems.
If you missed it, be sure to listen to Act 1 of this great interview. In that episode, Russell talks about his journey from childhood class clown, to artist, to teaching artist, to his current role as arts administrator. Russell’s time as a teaching artist, over 30 years ago, is of particular significance in this discussion, and his career, as this is the point during which he saw the systemic inequities—in terms of access to the arts and in regards to racist and discriminatory practices—built into the New York City school system. Russell also gives some great insight into the evolution of teaching artistry from its humble beginnings to its highly respected role in the arts education field.
Episode 40, ACT 1: Russell Granet - Striving Toward Belonging
Courtney talks with Russell Granet, New 42’s President and CEO, about his journey from childhood class clown, to artist, to teaching artist, to his current role as arts administrator. Russell’s time as a teaching artist, over 30 years ago, is of particular significance in this discussion, and his career, as this is the point during which he saw the systemic inequities—in terms of access to the arts and in regards to racist and discriminatory practices—built into the New York City school system. Russell also gives some great insight into the evolution of teaching artistry from its humble beginnings to its highly respected role in the arts education field.
Episode 39: What Is Your Liberation Philosophy?
In this episode, we feature a deep discussion, from the video series, "We Can't Go Back", between panelists Toya Lillard, Robyne Walker Murphy and Durell Cooper, around a number of topics including: saviorism in arts education; relinquishing power so that younger Black practitioners can step up; and holding arts organizations accountable so that anti-racist policies don't simply become language in a mission statement, but become integrated into their core practices. Anecdotally, and Courtney states this at the top of the episode, Toya, Robyne and Durell have been influential in the development of Courtney's liberatory practices and philosophy, and it's clear why. It's quite powerful to hear just how each of these arts practitioners view the inequities—and the possibilities—in the arts education field. Arts organizations all over the nation, and their leaders, have finally been put under a microscope. There is a demand for them to dig deep in order to interrogate and examine oppressive, white supremacist policies and practices that pervade, from the roots upward, the foundation of and structures within the arts education field. In this episode, we spotlight this industry-wide crisis with one question being asked of white and BIPOC people in power at these institutions: "What are you willing to give up?"
Episode 38: No More "Innocent Ignorance"
First, Courtney sits down for a convo with Step Afrika! founder, C. Brian Williams. How can predominantly white institutions (PWIs) better respond to and dismantle their own oppressive practices in order to rebuild their infrastructure? Well, that's one question and one approach. But Williams thinks he has a better idea and call to action: cultivating a strong ecology of arts organizations that are equitably represented in the field. Williams says of arts organizations across the nation that they must examine what deeply rooted historic structures have prevented growth towards equity and telling stories that decenter whiteness, and celebrate the successes and failures that are a part of the history of this country through art. What else do Courtney and C. Brian discuss? And why does C. Brian Williams make a key reference to Dolly Parton? You'll have to listen to this inspiring conversation to find out!
Up next, we have Michael J. Bobbitt. Currently he is the Artistic Director of New Repertory Theatre, but he'll become executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council on February 1, 2021. In Courtney’s conversation with the well-known director, choreographer and playwright, the two longtime colleagues discuss the need for new approaches and strategies for embracing anti-racist practices in our nation's arts organizations. Simply put, Bobbitt suggests that, in order to do this, we must be co-conspirators and aim to disrupt and topple oppressive practices. To paraphrase a few of the points made in this conversation, Courtney and Michael talk about oppressive power structures in predominantly white cultural institutions and how power is at the very root of systemic oppression and racism. One of the most poignant statements Michael makes is this: without relinquishing or redistributing their power, white individuals in positions of influence will keep racism alive and thriving.
Episode 37: In Solidarity and Community
Hey, listeners! It’s our last episode of 2020 and, unlike the majority of this turbulent year, this episode is fire! The overarching question of this episode, which features both Khalia Davis and Quanice Floyd, is: “What does a liberated and racially just world look like?” And how do our guests answer this question? Well, you'll have to listen to Episode 37: “In Solidarity and Community”!
First, Courtney sits down for a chat with Khalia Davis, a multidisciplinary artist and the newly-appointed Artistic Director of Bay Area Children’s Theater, to discuss the importance of representation and creating a dialogue for kids and their families about recognizing and confronting racism. The focus of much of their conversation is Khalia’s piece, “A Kids Play About Racism,” a play for young audiences based on Jelani Memory’s, “A Kids Book About Racism.” Khalia, who sees the arts as a means of amplifying and empowering marginalized communities, hopes that, ultimately, people who look like her will cease to question their sense of belonging within the arts.
Up next, we have Quanice Floyd. “Anti-racism isn’t just a lens” is one of the sharpest, most pointed quotes from Courtney’s conversation with Quanice, and discussing what highlights the fear and hope that comes with having these very visceral conversations about race, racism and anti-racist practices. Floyd is a self-proclaimed “rebellious one” who pushes social constructs out of the way in order to fight both inside and outside the classroom and create meaningful arts learning for every kid. Her philosophy is that learning should be relatable and responsive and that our current model, steeped in white supremacy, doesn’t serve every student. And how does she do this? Listen to find out!
Great podcast for artists and educators!
This is such a great podcast for teaching artists. It’s really nice to hear stories from other people in the field- it makes me feel more connected to what I do! The production quality is really high, and the host and all the guests are so likeable! 10/10 would recommend.