News and Notes by Date
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The Bard College community packed the Bertelsmann Campus Center and other campus venues for Teach-In 2016 on Tuesday, April 19, and Wednesday, April 20. The Teach-In featured lectures, workshops, performances, and exhibitions designed to educate and engage the campus. This past year, Bard students—led by seniors Abiba Salahou, Ana Borja, and Davon Blanks, and junior Salim Chagui—organized walkouts, talks, lectures, and protests in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement, including the Black Out Bard rally and conversations around mass incarceration and police shootings. These students then joined with Bard faculty and staff to organize Teach-In 2016.
With the tag lines "Rethinking Bard," "More than a place to think," and "Bursting the Bard bubble," organizers challenged attendees to think critically. Participants attended over 35 interactive events over the course of two days, from talks by prestigious guest artists and activists to marathon readings of works by Malcolm X, Audre Lorde, Frantz Fanon, and bell hooks.
The Teach-In was organized by the Difference and Media Project (DMP) in cooperation with the Studio Arts Program, with leadership from Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities Ann Seaton, director of the Difference and Media Project; Artist in Residence Daniella Dooling; Erin Cannan and Jonathan Becker in the Center for Civic Engagement; Center for Curatorial Studies Graduate DMP Fellow Bhavisha Panchia; DMP student fellows Davon Blanks, Bianka Bell, Sabrina Sultana, Salim Chagui, Will Scarfone, and Joe Fitzgerald; and DMP alumni/ae Jasper Katz, Rebeca Huntt, Jose Brito, Rose Falvey, and many others. Numerous Bard programs and centers participated, including the Center for Civic Engagement, the Art History Program, the Bard MFA, the Center for Curatorial Studies, the Bard Chaplaincy, the Bard Educational Opportunity Programs, and the Hannah Arendt Center.
The Teach-In organizers called for students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and community members to come together to talk, teach, share, and celebrate. They emphasized reimagining accepted norms at Bard as well as offering opportunities to share stories, ask difficult questions, and to heal. Topics included: mapping and place, embodiment, race, gender and gender identity, pedagogy, social and economic class, aesthetics, spirituality, the canon, disciplinary structures, First-Year Seminar, and more.
Bard MFA alumna, writer, and activist Camonghne Felix gave the keynote address on the Black Lives Matter movement, poetics, and politics to a full house on Tuesday afternoon. Other highlights included artist talks by controversial, boundary-pushing multimedia performance artists Dread Scott and Clifford Owens; a screening of the MOMA 2016 Documentary Festival–featured film INAATE/SE/, by Bard alumni Adam Khalil '11 and Zack Khalil '14; an artist talk by Ginger Brooks Takahashi; poetry and conversation with Lucas de Lima and Eunsong Kim; Beba at Bard, a film showing and interactive workshop by Bard alumnae Rebeca Huntt '12 and Sofia Geld '12 with help from Jose Brito '11; performances by the Bard Community Gospel Choir and Jazz Ensemble; the Bard Chaplaincy’s "Storylistening" session on active listening as a tool for dismantling injustice; a panel on the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) with founder/director Max Kenner '01 and BPI alumni/ae Anthony Cardenales '08 and Jennel Nesbit '15; wellness events; and student readings and performances.
Artist in Residence Daniella Dooling remarks, “As a teaching artist with an ongoing practice of engagement with the Bard Prison Iniatitive and as a Bard Posse mentor, I am very interested in the kind of work that the Teach-In represents and in political and social activism inside and outside of the classroom."
"We hope to make the Teach-In an annual event that includes the entire Bard community," adds Professor Seaton, "and we’re especially thrilled that so many alumni/ae returned to participate. The incredible mix of arts, politics, spirituality, and activism at the Teach-In really embodies the best of Bard and will, I hope, serve as an ongoing space that will help us to keep reimagining our communities. As a working artist and academic, the Difference and Media Project students and fellows have continued to educate me. I am very grateful to them for all their hard work on the Teach-In."
The Bard Debate Union at Eastern New York Correctional Facility beat the West Point team for the second time on Friday, April 15. They debated on the topic, "Resolved: American corporations should have constitutional rights," with Bard arguing in favor of the proposition. After an exciting debate, Bard was pronounced the winner. This leaves the team 4-1 in overall wins/losses and 2-1 against West Point. Members of the Bard Debate Union at Eastern study in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), a program that provides a rigorous undergraduate curriculum—the same one that's taught on Bard's main campus in Annandale—to incarcerated students. The team made headlines last fall for beating the Harvard College team. This debate was the culmination of months of research and preparation with the tireless leadership of Coach David Register and the support of Bard Debate Union members in Annandale, who serve as BPI debate fellows, researching for their teammates at Eastern. Thanks also to Bard Debate Union codirector Ruth Zisman, BPI founder and director Max Kenner '01, Megan Callaghan, Robert Tynes, and the entire BPI staff.
Read more in the Wall Street Journal
On the night of April 12, Bard College student organizers with the Election at Bard Initiative presented to the Town of Red Hook Board, appealing for a new polling place on campus. The Town Board was convinced and unanimously passed a resolution urging the Dutchess County Board of Elections to take action and create a polling location at Bard.
Bard College professor Brooke Jude has led a research team that includes students in the Bard biology program, at Al Quds Bard College in the West Bank, and at several Hudson Valley schools. This investigation of bacterial species in the local watershed was recently published in a citizen science–themed issue of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. Researchers worked to determine the prevalence of violacein-producing bacteria, which potentially limit outbreaks of an invasive fungus that leads to a decline in the amphibian population. The secondary school students gathered water samples, after which the college students—Yegor Dukashin and Kelsey O’Brien from Bard, and Raneem Jo’Beh from Al Quds—worked to identify the samples. Local students participated from Red Hook High School, Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, and F.D. Roosevelt High School in Staatsburg.
Bard Prison Initiative founder and Executive Director Max Kenner has been named as a recipient of the 2016 Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Forty Under 40 Shaker Awards. Bestowed annually to 40 people under the age of 40 who have shown a strong commitment to the Hudson Valley, the Shaker Awards identify and honor the next generation of leaders. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of Thursday, April 28 at the Changepoint Auditorium in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Bard College junior Harry Johnson, a member of the 2016 Allstate NABC Good Works Team, was recognized for his commitment to serving others last weekend at the Men's Final Four. Johnson was honored on the court during the Oklahoma vs. Villanova game on Saturday. He and the nine other members of the Good Works Team were joined by NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon on Sunday for a community service event, in which they worked with athletes from the Special Olympics of Texas. Johnson earned a place on the Good Works Team for his volunteer efforts mentoring local youth with Brothers at Bard and Dream to Achieve.
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