2018 GIA Conference
Race, Space, and Place
Oakland, CA  |  October 21–24

Critical Minded

Supporting an inclusive ecology of cultural criticism

Monday, October 22, 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Flight Deck: Studio (1540 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612)

Organized by Elizabeth Méndez Berry, director of Voice, Creativity, and Culture, The Nathan Cummings Foundation; and Chi-hui Yang, program officer of JustFilms, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation.

Moderated by Chi-hui Yang, program officer of JustFilms, Creativity and Free Expression. Presented by Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer, Los Angeles Times; Cameron Shaw, executive director and founding editor, Pelican Bomb; and Jeff Chang, vice president of Narrative, Arts, and Culture, Race Forward.

Arts critics can make or break careers, build audiences, and spark conversations. Their work bestows prestige, forms canons, champions artists, and sets the cultural agenda. And for too long, the people who define this discourse have mirrored the inequalities in the arts itself: the majority of salaried arts critics are white, often men. This has meant that the work of artists of color is too frequently ignored or clumsily covered; it also means that white artists are rarely scrutinized by critics who aren’t white. In this panel, we’ll talk about the new collaboration between the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, called Critical Minded, which aims to support cultural equity in the field of arts criticism and build a dynamic, inter-generational, national network of cultural critics of color. At a time when critical thinking and civic discourse are endangered, critics have much to offer and their work has the power to bend public discourse, social narratives and norms toward greater complexity and inclusivity.