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Booking information

for The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging

WANT TO JOIN THE JOURNEY & BECOME A PARTNER?

ARE YOU AN ORGANIZATION THAT WANTS TO COLLABORATE?


Here are some insights about opportunities for engaging…


Consider joining my Sowing Circle community! It is a virtual gathering designed for
organizational partners (committed/pending/potential). Simply send an email to
info@helaniusj.com with the subject “Sowing Circle Participant Request”. In the body of the email, please share who you are, the name of your organization, and where you are based.

What is the Sowing Circle?
Taking place 4 times per year, the goals for Sowing Circle sessions are three-fold:

  • To create invitations by offering organizational partners  (committed/pending/potential) updates that can spark conversations and deepen understandings about ways one can engage with the work.

  • To action stitching communities/our communities together while creating a portal for collaborators and community/organizational partners to share their experiences and community impact stories to learn from one another about how to do this work together.

  • To engage in collectively quilting a network for belonging that, as it expands, will manifest the vision of The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging and create connections that will allow the work to touch more lives.

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What makes this work unique?


While many artists may begin community engaged work with "social themes," my
approach begins with people and communities. As a result, each place that I engage in conversation will generate different values and priorities.

 

Connected to this, I no longer refer to The Conversation Series: Stitching the
Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging
as a "project," because I view this work as both pre-existing and ongoing. Since that may seem convoluted, I hope I can illustrate.

Part 1: Initial Belonging conversations and community interactions begin with prompts:

  1. How do we get the world that we deserve, meaning how do we create a world that works for EVERYONE?

  2. How can we hold ourselves and each other accountable to achieve a greater sense of belonging?

  3. How does time, and our exploration of it, support healing and actioning meaningful change across difference?

Some concerns from communities that have emerged from these prompts have focused on:

  • food security, and living in neighborhoods where there may be no grocery stores (or are down to 1 store)

  • education: a lack of opportunities due to the city’s disregard for schools in an area

  • local/neighborhood histories and ancestral connections

  • racial injustice

  • safety, and living in neighborhoods where the bus stops are the least safe spaces, resulting in youth walking longer distances outside of their neighborhoods to safer stops to get home

  • how politics is infused in all these facets of life...  

This methodology ensures that I am not directing or forcing a theme onto a community, but rather allowing people to voice questions and concerns. It creates a portal/vessel for navigating conversations that embrace the past (pre-existing) and the present (ongoing) with an eye toward imagining a different future.
 

Who are my collaborators on the grounds where I visit?


During conversations with organizational-partners and Pre-Visits (research trips and/or virtual sessions organized with the support of organizational-partners) I meet with people who are deeply invested in local communities. I refer to these individuals and organizations as community stakeholders. These
stakeholders (up to 25) are invited to participate in a Belonging Conversation
Community Gathering at the beginning of my residencies, and through this anchoring conversation, I listen to a pulse on the broader climate of a community before working more intimately within a specific neighborhood or area of a larger region.

 

The key aspects of community stakeholders are what I describe as deep local roots and generational knowledge, meaning people and organizations that are actively
participating in social change and connected to larger networks.

 

Additionally, for the video documentation components, I hire a local cinematographer/ videographer. In areas where I do not have contacts, it is my practice to ask for recommendations from the organizational partner. In certain instances, I will travel with one of my primary collaborators who can fulfill that role.


How do I engage communities in conversations regarding how to change what needs to be changed?


I do not enter into communities with preconceived notions about what ‘needs to be
changed.’ However, I am curious about how residents and stakeholders will respond to that question.

 

What is the arc – basic overview – for The Conversation Series: Stitching the
Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging?


From cultivating relationships to presenting stage productions, the arc of this work
happens in three stages:

 

  • Pre-Visit: This phase builds awareness of the work, cultivates/develops local partnerships toward trust-building and curates plans for extensive residency. (Mode: in-person or virtual or combo)

  • Community-Engagements: This phase, ideally 2 weeks in length, centers working in and WITH community through various modalities ranging from community conversations to walking tours to embodied practices. These activities supports mapping divergent histories and illuminate/embrace personal histories as part of the fabric of towns/cities/states/the U.S. Content from Community-Engagements that lead to new choreographies for The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging. (Mode: in-person however virtual components may be discussed)

  • Performance Tour: This phase centers re-entry and reconnection to communities through follow-up conversations and community engagement activities, and the sharing of a stage production that includes a “dance-quilt” patch of the community where the work is beingperformed. 1-2 weeks per engagement is ideal. (Mode: in-person)


READY TO WALK WITH ME AND BECOME A PART OF THE JOURNEY?


Please fill out the information below.

Booking inquiry

Please use this form to inquire about booking, or email info@helaniusj.com

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