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Thursday, March 28 • 3:40pm - 5:00pm
Sightlines on Cultural Appropriation In Our Libraries and Communities

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This session examines cultural appropriation as understood in art & design school and university libraries and communities in North America.

In "Share-See-Make: Perspectives on Cultural Appropriation Across an Art & Design School Community," Katherine Cowan looks at how cultural appropriation is understood within the teaching & making community at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). With copyright, although no hard and fast rules apply, we teach the guidelines to fair use—is there a correlating fair use for culturally based imagery? What are the community's norms? These questions will be addressed through a survey of students and faculty at MICA.

In "The Cultural Exchange Market in Visual Literacy," Millicent Fullmer envisions responsibly addressing cultural appropriation in image creation and use through visual literacy instruction, sharing techniques to develop students' critical awareness. Historical and contemporary examples of misappropriation demonstrate the complexity of individual cases. She notes that accepting the subjectivity of this topic and establishing codes of conduct is a crucial educational component for teaching faculty and information professionals alike.

Liv Valmestad presents "Call to Action: Indigenous Cultural Appropriation and How to Move Towards an Era of Reconciliation and De-Colonialization." The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (2015) has caused Canada's cultural and academic institutions to re-examine their structures by acknowledging the politics of race and colonial privilege and the power dynamics that give rise to cultural appropriation. From programming to the creation of positions at universities, museums, and granting agencies, a shift is slowly happening and affecting how we teach, exhibit, and learn about indigenous visual culture. She addresses how university librarians leading a visual culture course can be mindful, supportive allies and respectful agents of change.

In "No Private Matters: Library Dialogs on Cultural Appropriation," Deborah Ultan tells of an academic library taking an explicit role to support dialog about cultural appropriation. Given recent international controversies around the exhibition of racially offensive artworks, and coupled with today's political climate of deep vulnerability around issues of diversity and social justice, Ultan notes that artists are at risk of their intentions and integrity being questioned. The University of Minnesota Libraries have been developing library programming to encourage discussion—without censorship—about cultural appropriation with reference to an artwork by Julie Sirek that uses Andean quipu knotting.

Franci Taylor is confirmed to speak about Indigenous arts and appropriation in the context of the region. Title and abstract for her talk will be added here as soon as available.

Learning Objectives
Attendees will be able to:
  • Understand definitions and issues associated with Cultural Appropriation
  • Identify opportunities and strategies for libraries to support critical dialog in the arts
  • Critically evaluate how their instruction programming might address cultural appropriation as a component of visual literacy

avatar for Kathy Cowan

Kathy Cowan

Special Collections Librarian, Maryland Institute College of Art, Decker Library
Baltimore-born. Enjoys meditation, parenting, painting, and patterns | BFA MICA ('81 painting); MFA Clemson ('95 painting); MLS Maryland ('99); Studied Anthropology post-bac (JHU 1982-83) and graduate (UT Austin 1984-85, abt)

avatar for Deborah Ultan Boudewyns

Deborah Ultan Boudewyns

Arts, Architecture & Landscape Architecture Librarian, University of Minnesota
avatar for Millicent Fullmer

Millicent Fullmer

Acquisitions and Cataloging Librarian, University of San Diego
I'm also a liaison to the Art, Architecture + Art History department.

Franci Taylor

University of Utah

Thursday March 28, 2019 3:40pm - 5:00pm
Grand America Hotel: TBD 555 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Attendees (29)