CAA Interviews Mariam Ghani for this week’s member spotlight and signs onto Open Letter from Arts for Afghanistan
posted by Allison Walters — October 05, 2021
Mariam Ghani’s film, What We Left Unfinished (2019), began as a project that pulled from Ghani’s experience digitizing the Afghan Film Archive, featuring five films that were shot but never edited during the communist period of 1978–1991. Now its title takes on new meaning with the Taliban’s recent takeover of the government and the evacuation of over a hundred-thousand individuals from Afghanistan. Many Afghani cultural workers, whether relocated, remaining, or watching from abroad, will need to reimagine or shift their practice to accommodate this new reality.
Addressing these issues, CAA had the privilege to talk with Mariam Ghani, this week’s member spotlight, and explore her practice as an artist, filmmaker, activist, and teacher. The daughter of former Afghani President, Ashraf Ghani, Mariam is based in Brooklyn and has spent her life in the US. Her work has often drawn from her connection to Afghanistan, in her relationship to the country as both an insider and an outsider. Dominant themes in her practice also speak to the current moment and to Middle Eastern histories, including border zones, transitions, intersecting cultures, national identities, trauma, memory, loss, and migration.
Interviewed by Laura Anderson Barbata, current CAA Vice President for Annual Conference and Programs and trans-disciplinary artist also based in Brooklyn, this conversation begins with a look at Ghani’s work and then dives into the multiple ways you can support those affected by the current crises. To show its support and solidarity, CAA has signed onto An Open Letter from Arts for Afghanistan.
Mariam recommends supporting the following organizations:
Every week we will feature a CAA member in our member spotlight series who is currently demonstrating exceptional talent. Please feel free to nominate a fellow member or send along any personal upcoming events or achievements for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, put “Member Spotlight” in the subject line.
posted by CAA — September 15, 2021
The AHA has released a statement condemning the harassment and intimidation of participants, organizers, and university sponsors of the virtual conference “Dismantling Global Hindutva: Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” “Conferences, both in person and across digital platforms, are critical to the exchange of ideas among historians and our colleagues in other disciplines,” the AHA wrote. “Disruptions to a conference represent an assault on the principle of academic freedom, and the AHA stands unequivocally with participants in this conference and its sponsors in their right to exchange ideas without fear of threats and intimidation.”
To date, 15 organizations have signed onto this statement.
posted by CAA — July 09, 2021
For our members and the larger visual arts community, CAA is disheartened by recent and continued actions on departmental closures in Art and Art History departments. The following links offer resources to use as we continue to determine the actions going forward:
In 2020, CAA signed on to advocacy with the ACLS: http://www.collegeart.org/news/2021/02/01/caa-signs-on-to-acls-statement-on-recent-kansas-board-of-regents-actions/
Earlier Advocacy posts and response:
The 2018 survey of universities with departmental closures:
Since 2018, several other institutions have closed and continue to close. Today our constituency has been affected by this ongoing situation over the past 13 years. CAA cannot stop any institution of art, design or art-history from the decision, necessitated by financial situation or otherwise, to close. To best support our community, as a part of our ongoing repositioning and digital transformation, CAA has identified the importance and continued growth of an e-learning model and publications to recognize and support those currently and who continue to be affected.
CAA has a robust and active group of committees, Board of Directors, and other members who all continue to work together and move forward upcoming guidelines and best practices, to survey and respond to the ongoing needs of our constituencies. The advocates within our organization help strengthen the organization as a part of the community of large.
Did you know that you can make a gift to CAA using Amazon Smile? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible smile.amazon.com purchases to the organization selected by customers — at no cost to you. Our charity link will automatically direct you to Amazon, where you will be asked to confirm that you would like your Amazon purchases to support CAA.
As a 110-year-old organization, we are proud to serve a global community of artists, designers, students, and scholars through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners. During this pivotal moment it is more important than ever that we support our visual arts community. We hope that you will join us in our mission and help us bring our programs and publications to life by using Amazon Smile today.
CAA representatives advocated for the arts and humanities with partners at the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) this spring for Museums Advocacy Day on February 23 and Humanities Advocacy Day on March 11, 2021. Alongside other academic societies, scholars, and museum professionals, CAA urged congressional representatives and senators to back full funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and particularly the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which provides grants for museums and arts organizations throughout the country, for the fiscal year 2022. Increased allocations for these programs would bring funding levels back to what they were over a decade ago in 1998. We met with the offices of New York representatives Tom Reed, Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, John Katko, and Yvette Clarke and senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Sen. Schumer joined Museums Advocacy Day in person to share his enthusiasm about moving forward with emergency relief funds for arts organizations and supporting more space for them in the next year’s congressional budget.
CAA has been participating in these meetings for the past three years. We noted that 1/3 of all museums in the US are at risk of closing without assistance. We also stressed the importance of museums as institutions that have served our community greatly during COVID and have come up with creative solutions for childhood education, community building, virtual exhibitions, and out-of-the-box engagement strategies. The arts and humanities have helped our communities cope and their spaces—schools, libraries, and museums—remain some of the only spaces in communities that can be accessed freely by the public.
posted by CAA — March 29, 2021
CAA joins 36 member societies in solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in signing a statement by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) condemning the appalling acts of racism, violence, and discrimination committed against these communities.
That statement asserts, “We find ourselves in a moment where, for good reason, we and many other Americans have been and continue to be focused intently on anti-Black racism. But we are reminded by the horrific events in Georgia this week and increased acts of violence over this past year linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, of the deep prejudices affecting Asians in this country. These and other attacks against the Asian-American community represent the latest chapter in our history of xenophobia, which tends to flare during times of crisis.” (ACLS American Council of Learned Societies)
In the past year we have experienced unprecedented changes in the social, economic, and interpersonal landscape: transformations in higher education; financial uncertainty; home-work imbalance; quarantine during a global pandemic; a divisive political climate; the US election cycle; and the Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName protests following the violent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many more. We have seen changes for us as teachers, scholars, makers, writers, and advocates for higher education and the place of academic arts discourse and development in this new world. We have seen great inequities in and serious changes to higher education that have affected faculty, staff, students, and the long-term support of art, art history, and design—as well as changes to our pedagogy, our community, and the very structure of who is cared for and how. We have suffered enormous losses and continue to mourn. These losses have had an immense impact on all of us, including underserved BIPOC communities, adjunct faculty, and arts communities unaffiliated with institutions. Significantly, this time has affected our greatest assets: connecting to, sharing with, and knowing our community.
How CAA offers service and support to our members has also changed as we work to become more inclusive, more diverse, and more equitable in the community at large. However, because so much of 2020 was spent “coping with” and “adjusting to,” we haven’t had the time to pause and reflect. We wonder what the future will look like, and as an organization, how to offer structure and support as we learn and grow together. As part of these changes we have been faced with the hard choice of what to do in the face of adversity. This community of artists, historians, and designers has risen to the moment, adapted, and supported one another. CAA has advocated for you by adapting in its greatest shift ever: to a fully online Annual Conference. Although this has sometimes felt like a pressure point, perhaps it is just a growing pain—and we will continue to show up for community more strongly and profoundly than ever before.
To ensure lasting change, we are committed to the following:
- Expanding on the Annual Conference’s virtual format, becoming ever more accessible and globally inclusive
- Expanding advocacy for underserved and BIPOC communities
- Developing and offering free and open professional resources via collegeart.org
- Increasing access to participation of our global community throughout the year
- Including diverse voices and supporting new outreach and inclusionary initiatives, especially for populations and communities that we have not engaged before: geographically, culturally, and in socioeconomic diversity
- Helping reshape the landscape of professional support via a strategic digital overhaul
- Listening to member concerns and responding with thoughtful urgency, bringing ease to transitions
CAA will continue to regularly address the changing workforce conditions in academic and cultural institutions, including for students and for the trajectory of adjunct faculty; enhance equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion initiatives in higher education, including promoting best practices in the reduction of systemic barriers, in faculty and staff hiring, in the support and recruitment of first-generation students from diverse and underrepresented groups, and in the implementation of sound consultative processes involving the affected communities; and increase public awareness and institutional recognition regarding the value and importance of humanities scholarship and visual arts and design education within the academy and beyond it.
CAA, its board, and its staff continue to stand in support of its members and our larger arts community to create, analyze, teach, and promote art within our higher educational and cultural institutions.
Written in solidarity and as affirmation of CAA’s commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners we serve.
Art Journal Winter 2020, Blackness Issue (free online until March 31, 2021)
posted by Allison Walters — February 01, 2021
CAA joins 41 other organizations in signing on to a statement by the American Historical Association (AHA) condemning the report from “The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.” “Written hastily in one month after two desultory and tendentious ‘hearings,’” the AHA writes, “without any consultation with professional historians of the United States, the report fails to engage a rich and vibrant body of scholarship that has evolved over the last seven decades.”
The just –released “1776 Report” claims that common understanding of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution can unify all Americans in the love of country. The product of “The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission,” the report focuses on these founding documents in an apparent attempt to reject recent efforts to understand the multiple ways the institution of slavery shaped our nation’s history. The authors call for a form of government indoctrination of American students, and in the process elevate ignorance about the past to a civic virtue.
posted by Allison Walters — February 01, 2021
CAA, along with 23 other member societies, has signed on to a statement issued by the ACLS urging the Kansas Board of Regents to uphold employment protections for faculty.
The statement urges the Kansas Board of Regents to withdraw its endorsement of the proposed policy to ease the path to suspending, dismissing, or terminating employees, including tenured faculty members, without undertaking the processes of formally declaring a financial emergency.
It also calls attention to the statement co-signed in summer 2020 by leaders of cultural institutions and scholarly societies, including CAA, attesting to the importance of teaching and research to sustaining a robust economy and a just democracy.
The College Art Association (CAA) condemns all forms of systemic racism, violence, bias, aggression and the marginalization of Black, Indigenous, and all Peoples of Color (BIPOC) as well as discrimination based on race, intersectionality, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. As a community of those who study, teach, write about, advocate for and/or create art and design, we have committed our life’s work to learning-from, exploring-with, and creating-towards our shared humanity. As a membership organization we choose to use our voices to speak to one another and speak up for one another.
To ensure lasting change:
- We encourage the creative community to examine biases, micro-aggressions, and who we leave out.
- We encourage learning from sharing narratives of BIPOC.
- We encourage providing services and support for underrepresented and entirely non-represented members of the community.
- We will work to create and promote standards and systems that actively support equity in anti-racist teaching, research, publication and creative practices.
In solidarity, CAA, its board, and its staff continue to amplify equity, diversity, and inclusion and call our community to action with us in this commitment to change.