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Thursday, March 28 • 3:00pm - 4:20pm
Sightlines on Cultural Appropriation In Our Libraries and Communities

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Note: This session will be video-recorded and uploaded to the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal.

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.

In "Racism Hidden in Beauty," Franci Taylor will open a dialog about how seemingly beautiful art, especially within some award winning children’s books hides racism and cultural appropriation. We will delve into how a library reviews resources and determines what is appropriate and what is problematic. Because of the vast diversity of American Indian cultures we will focus on regional cultural differences across North American and local cultural differences. There will be a focus on how libraries can become allies to American Indian people and communities.

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 Katherine Cowan

Katherine Cowan

Special Collections Librarian, Maryland Institute College of Art
Baltimore-born. Enjoys meditation, parenting, painting, and patternsBFA 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

Deborah Ultan

Art & Performing Arts Librarian, Curator of the Gorman Rare Art Books and Media Collection, Curator of the Performing Ar, University of Minnesota Libraries
avatar for Millicent Fullmer

Millicent Fullmer

Acquisitions and Cataloging Librarian, University of San Diego
Visual literacy instruction and social justice, deepfakes, art librarianship, metadata, comics, cats, and Aotearoa NZ.

Franci Taylor

Director, American Indian Resource Center, University of Utah
Franci Taylor, (Choctaw) is the Director of the University of Utah’s American Indian Resource Center has over twenty-five years of experience in American Indian education that ranges from early childhood to advanced-terminal degrees.  She directed two award-winning college preparation... Read More →

Thursday March 28, 2019 3:00pm - 4:20pm MDT
Grand America Hotel: Savoy (1st Floor) 555 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111