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CEE # 14
APRIL 2020

Dear Friends,

As we move into week four of our new dispensation, we wanted to reach out and reaffirm our commitments to engaged, collaborative, and yes, socially intimate creative research.  We will all be changed by this pandemic: we will have lost people; we may be more circumspect; we will be enraged by the many structural inequalities that the virus has drawn in stark relief.  Many of us will have been brought back to earlier moments of loss. But we will also have had moments to be grateful, to be surprised by someone’s kindness or by the beauty of the flowering trees, to be reconnected to those oldest and dearest friends who understand the core of what keeps us ticking.  I, personally, will have baked far too much, read far too little, and felt far too helpless while attempting to maintain life in the time of COVID-19.

We all know that experimentation and creativity are necessary tools when all that is solid melts into air, and I have found myself going back to my own artistic roots for comfort.  I wanted to share a couple inspirations with you, in the hopes that you will also share your own, on our Instagram and Facebook page.

Here is a short video of Jawole Zollar, UBW’s Founding Director, talking about the importance of risk in her own creative practice, and here is a clip from one of the company’s more recent works, “Women’s Resistance.”

And  here  is a song, part of the soundtrack for Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens, composed and recorded by my collaborator Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn, and performed by Ancient Vibrations, called “Get Out the Way.” 
This is one of my favorite Sweet Honey in the Rock songs, and here is a conversation the group had on NPR in 2005.

On behalf of the Center for Experimental Ethnography, I wish all of you health, security, peace, and fortitude, and I look forward to coming together again in the not too distant future!

Deborah A. Thomas

Just Cut Us Some Slack

Emily Carris & 
Wayne Modest

Since we were unable to converse publicly at SSMF this spring, we convened online to hear from our Spring 2020 CEE Fellows on the topics of love, joy, laughter, being black today, materiality, and the urgencies of our contemporary condition. Watch now!

Performance Intensive

 | An eight day performance laboratory at Penn
Read about the eight-day Performance Intensive held in Philadelphia between January 5th and January 12, 2020, which included public performances and a public lecture offered by three visiting artists, taisha paggett, Wilmer Wilson IV and Jibz Cameron (aka Dynasty Handbag) and one visiting scholar, Tavia Nyong’o, workshops led by Sharon Hayes, Weitzman School of Design and Brooke O’Harra, School of Arts and Sciences and the development and presentation of “proposals” by the 18 emerging artists who participated in the Intensive. The Center for Experimental Ethnography was excited to help support travel for two of the selected artists, Gabriel Christian and Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju. 
Performance Intensive participants in a workshop with artist and choreographer taisha paggett. Photo by Rå Vitche-Boul.
Gabriel Christian, a Performance Intensive Participant, presenting proposal work, photo by Rå Vitche-Boul.
Copyright © 2018 Center for Experimental Ethnography, UPenn, All rights reserved.
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Center for Experimental Ethnography, UPenn
3260 South St
Penn Museum 336
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6324

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Center for Experimental Ethnography, UPenn · 3260 South St · Penn Museum 336 · Philadelphia, PA 19104-6324 · USA