What We're Reading: December 2017
As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, amongst ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this new, monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!
"Why Plays About Sexual Assault Are Too Murky for Our Own Good" by Alexis Soloski
"Who wants to write about a victim? It’s depressing. Better to thrill an audience with some he said, she said, right? But these convolutions have a troubling corollary... which helps to perpetuate the myth that a large percentage of rape accusations are false."
In her essay for The New York Times, Alexis Soloski examines how the topic of sexual assault is handled in a variety of plays, and why more stories don't clearly take the side of victims.
"Dance/NYC recognizes this as a defining moment to publicly acknowledge long-existing issues in the dance field and to address them and create positive change for the art form and its workforce."
This statement goes beyond creating a policy for addressing harassment, to outlining actionable steps for enforcing it, including the establishment of a committee to hold the organization accountable, and the identification of a list of Sexual Harassment Resources in New York.
"10 Things You Need to Consider if You are an Artist - Not of the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Community - Looking to Work with our Community" by Tania Canas
"We are not a resource to feed into your next artistic project... Our struggle is not an opportunity, or our bodies’ a currency, by which to build your career."
Tania Canas is the Arts Director of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees, the first refugee and asylum seeker organization in Australia to be run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees. This list was released by RISE, which operates under the tagline "Nothing about us without us."
Black Bodies, White Writers by Maya Phillips
"...there is a limit to the new worlds a writer may introduce to a reader in line with the limits of the writer’s own experience."
Maya Phillips names the glaring problem of white homogeneity among professional theater critics, and examines its consequences, in this opinion piece for American Theatre.
The Entire Script of PIPELINE by Dominique Morisseau
"You can't serve young people from a distance. You got to get your hands dirty."
This month's print issue of American Theatre features an interview conducted by Kamilah Forbes, with playwright Dominique Morisseau (long time friend and affiliated artist of The Lark), along with the full text of her play Pipeline, which gets its title from the American trend of a “school-to-prison pipeline."
"On Minority Artist Development Programs" by Asif Majid
"What is needed for true artist development is the personalization of attention and resources, meeting artists where they are rather than where a program believes them to be."
In an essay published on HowlRound, Asif Majid presents key points to consider for institutions implementing artist development programs geared specifically towards people of color and other historically disenfranchised groups, compiled after participating in a number of these programs himself.
"Pro tip: if you email me asking for a favor and assume I'm a man, I will assume you don't read my writing and push 'delete.'"
This senior editor at American Theatre, who also writes a monthly Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion column, and just launched a series of features on sexual harassment and abuse in the theater, still finds the time to keep up a consistently hilarious, sometimes scathing, timely and informative feed of tweets, and re-tweets that uplift the best this site has to offer.
"Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth."
The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture released this resource to encourage all individuals and organizations to open public events and gatherings with acknowledgement of the traditional native inhabitants of the land. The Lark used this guide to help craft our own acknowledgement.