NORTH ADAMS, MASS. —Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts professors, MASS MoCA educators, curators, and artists, and partners at other academic and cultural institutions in the Northern Berkshires are working together to present “CARE SYLLABUS,” a justice-oriented public education and community resource featuring original text, visual media, recordings, and virtual live events by activists, artists, and academics.
Accessible at https://www.caresyllabus.org, this cross-institutional, multimodal public education resource is a project of THE MIND’S EYE—a research and praxis initiative of MCLA—in collaboration with MASS MoCA.
CARE SYLLABUS highlights artistic expression, activism, and thinking that fosters a radical communal imagination. The creative impulses rooted in these modes of collaboration and critique spur new ways of exploring the histories of care—and shifting praxes of care—currently at work in our homes, classrooms, and communities.
The website will feature six guest-curated themed modules, released from December 2020 to fall 2021; these modules will illuminate specific strands and strategies of care in the arts. The first module, “Reconnecting Objects with Their Homes,” curated by artist Wendy Red Star (whose work is currently on view in Kidspace at MASS MoCA), analyzes and explores how we might repair the damage done when indigenous records and objects are displaced from their peoples (for example, to be displayed, collected, preserved, and studied in a museum context). Future modules will explore the concept of care and the arts related to disability justice, Black resistance, population health and other topics.
A public education program will accompany each module, organized by the CARE SYLLABUS team. These programs will feature keynote events with guest curators, resources and sessions for local educators, and platforms for the stories of community activists and organizations. The CARE SYLLABUS website will maintain a blog open to submissions from partners and community members, chronicling reflections on art and care.
Notably, CARE SYLLABUS was chosen as a fellowship project by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). ACLS Fellow Levi Prombaum (PhD, History of Art, University College London) co-directs CARE SYLLABUS with MCLA Assistant Professor of English Victoria Papa and MASS MoCA Director of Education Laura Dickstein Thompson, who also teaches in MCLA’s arts management department. Prombaum was previously a curatorial assistant at the Guggenheim, where he administered the acquisitions program and helped curate exhibitions of American painting and photography.
An advisory collective of institutional partners guides CARE SYLLABUS, comprising members from MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Research Center, MASS MoCA, MCLA, The Clark Art Institute, Williams College, and Williams College Museum of Art.