August in Perspective: Creative Responses to #Charlottesville


February 1 - March 2, 2018

In the shocking aftermath of August 11th and 12th, the immediate impulse of the UVA community was to understand and position these events in a long historical context.  The first approach was to learn from our faculty, visiting speakers, and experts about why these ideologies persist and manifest themselves in this particular community and at this institution. Yet, however essential is the desire to know and understand, to see August 11th and 12th as the proverbial “teachable moment,” our actions have neglected to consider something equally necessary: to process, to heal, to breathe, and to engage these events through art-making processes and practices. 

Audre Lorde reminds us that “all knowledge is mediated through the body and that feeling is a profound source of information about our lives.” In this light, then, we have thought to focus attention on the neglected approaches to the events of summer 2017, those dedicated to feeling, embodying, to sensing August, to putting August in perspective and entrusting our bodies and our emotions to reveal the profundity of what we already know: that we are intimately and inextricably connected across ideologies, demographics, generations, and geography.

On each Saturday throughout the month of February 2018, the August in Perspective series convened arts workshops to foster community, introspection, and reconciliation through creative expression.


Workshops included: 

February 1-2nd, Paloma McGregor and Rashida Bumbray Dancing While Black Residency

Helms Theater, UVA Drama Building

RUN MARY RUN considers the harmonic ideas and tonal vocabulary of the McIntosh County Shouters—master ring shout artists—as a point of departure. Creating an active ritual for the ceremony of the ring shout, the performers go on a ride through the cosmologies of the Low Country, Geechie Sea Islands, Tennessee Blues, P Funk, and Hip Hop—relating the shout to the history of Black music.

Dance Diaspora Collective is comprised of the alumni and friends of Dance Diaspora, Oberlin College's premier West African and Afro-form dance company.  Made up of artists, musicians and cultural workers, the collective draws from the work and repertoire originally established by its founder, Professor Adenike Sharpley, master dancer and choreographer.


February 10th, “12-Hour Play Project” hosted by the Paul Robeson Players, Minor Hall 125

The Paul Robeson Players is an independent student-run Revolutionary Theatre Organization, but grounded in the roots of African and African-American theater traditions.  Its goal is to cultivate artistic diversity in the realm of theater performance.

With students from the Monticello High School drama program, workshop participants wrote, directed, and performed a play in 12-hours called “8—12—17.”

February 17th “Musical Compositions on Life in Charlottesville” hosted by A.D. Carson, Rap Lab, New Cabell Hall 398

A.D. Carson is Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South. Carson is a performance artist and educator from Decatur, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design at Clemson University doing work that focuses on race, literature, history, and rhetorical performances.

Through the composition exercises, students from Friendship Court, participating in a grant project with Bama Works funded project with MIMA (Modern Improvisational Music Appreciation), wrote an original song called “The Daily Routine.”

February 24th “Crafting Spaces of Solidarity and Resistance” hosted by Destinee Wright, Ashon Crawely, and Sara Brickman, Citizen Justice Initiative Lab, New Cabell Hall 452

The Solidarity Cards Project began in Charlottesville, Virginia as a response to the 2016 election results. It has since evolved into an anonymous platform for participants to openly voice their concerns about contemporary political issues and social justice causes. Facilitator: Destinee Wright is an alumna of UVA with a B.A. in women, gender and sexuality. Wright is an artist, digital marketing consultant, and the owner and operator of Luxie Hair Services, a mobile hair extension and braiding studio.

Kintsugi Pottery is a traditional Japanese art that uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to repair broken pottery. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Facilitator: Ashon Crawley is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. Professor Crawley works in the areas of black studies, queer theory, sound studies, theology, continental philosophy, and performance studies.

Erasure is a form of found poetry or found art created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. Facilitator: Sara Brickman is an author, performer, and activist from Ann Arbor, MI. She is a graduate student in the M.F.A. creative writing program at UVA.