Living the Conference Life

(I apologize for how short this blog entry is compared to the rest of my entries, I'm writing this in fragments while at a conference.)

As an artist you occasionally hear about the select few that manage to be awarded the MacArthur Fellowship.  You'll hear that they are giving a lecture in some far away place, or that with the money they secluded themselves for a few years to write a memoir, or create some fantastic body of work in a very peculiar medium.  But you never expect to meet one, let alone have the opportunity to discuss your work with them.  

[I had that opportunity]

As I write this I am either sitting in my hotel lobby in Savannah, GA at the Hampton Inn and Suites, on the elevator directing panels to their next session, or I'm walking to move my car to a new parking spot.  I've been typing on and off in a word document on my phone, my tablet, and occasionally my computer because I was worried I wouldn't have the time to sit down and dedicate myself to an actually full length blog post as I normally do.  And I'm glad I was at least trying to write something because I sure have been busy.

Since Thursday I have been in Savannah at the British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference.  I have chaired two sessions with panelist from as far away as Belize and Russia.  I've listened to papers and lectures from 12 speakers and counting. And I've managed to avoid a parking ticket by systematically moving my car every 3 hours on the hour.  It's been a crazy experience!  Myself and three other graduate students from Southern were granted this opportunity from the College of Graduate Studies under Dr. Dustin Anderson and Joe Pellegrino.

We learned how to prepare for almost every problem a conference could have, from not being able to get into a conference room, to someone losing their meal tickets.  The four of us ran the show all weekend long, mainly because our fearless leader came down with a super bug and was MIA most of the the first two days of the conference.  I really want to give a full recount on what all I did while here at the conference once I get back to Statesboro and have time to go through all of my notes and comments.  All I can say no is that I'll be buying a number of books, watching a few Australian films, and reading numerous papers from the people that I requested a copy from.  This has been a great experience thus far!

This was not an Art Specific conference but having the opportunity to meet the many intellectual minds here was most definitely worth the effort to attend.  To name a few of the topics I've heard so far: The Other, The Black/White Irish, The Race of Women in South Africa, Postcolonial Eco-Horror Films, and even a lecture on Living as a Refugee in Your Own Country.  The lectures, presentations, and films have all been very enlightening.  I met and spoke to MacArthur Fellow Edwidge Danticat who was the Keynote speaker at the Postcolonial Conference and bought one of her most recent books after talking to her about my art.  I also had lunch Friday with President Jean Bartels and Dean Curtis Ricker...some of the things spoken about at that table blew my mind.  We talked about gun control, new department chairs, the Betty Bus, the Art Department, the other students departments, the loss of the graphic communications degree, and so much more.  It was as if because we were at the conference, we were officially allowed on this "inside of things".  All this talk made me nervous most of the time!

Even though a majority of my weekend since Thursday has been spent at the conference, I did manage to make it into the SCAD Art Museum for about 20 minutes on Saturday.  This was considered my "break" from the conference when I went to go move my car for what felt like the millionth time.  I saw two things while there.  First, the wall of flowers outside in the windows of the museum where my car was parked for a majority of the weekend.  The piece was called A Poem in the Form of Flowers which was made by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt and will be on display until Sept. 4, 2016.  The flowers made the exterior of the museum so bright and colorful, my lime green car looked as though it belonged on the street with the art! And second, I managed to see very quickly some of the prints in the Considered series by Carrie Mae Weems, whom I spoke about in my blog last week.  Seeing these in person after hearing about the lecture she gave from my fellow classmate brought everything together for me. (They are much more detailed in person too by the way.)

So thats been my weekend! I've got to help take down the conference and head back to the Boro shortly! But I'm sure Sunday I'll be recovering from the multiple long days on my feet and mind exploding knowledge I gained while here.  I'll be sure as well to fill in all the gaps in this post too once I'm back and fully functioning again, I think I'm catching the super bug thats spreading through the conference unfortunately.


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