Live Blogging Discussions on Nomadic Arts Organizing and How to Address Trauma

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Check out Hyperallergic’s live report of day six of the Common Field Convening.

Check out Hyperallergic’s live report of day six of the Common Field Convening.

Welcome to day six of the Common Field Convening, originally slated to take place in person in Houston, Texas. The gathering of more than 500 arts organizers in the US includes panels, workshops, and conversations touching upon topics of equity, collaboration, and sustainability across various arts fields.

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the conferences have shifted online, taking place on April 23-25; April 30; and May 1-3. A full program, along with links to sign up for each conference, can be found on Common Field’s website.

Hyperallergic will be live-blogging select conferences on every day of the convening. (Read our commentary on sessions from day one, two, three, four, and five.)

The ongoing health crisis, which has had a devastating impact on the cultural sector, means some of the issues addressed in the Common Field Convening are more urgent than ever before. Read about day six’s discussions, below:

2:01pm EDT: Waiting for the conference to start. This is a virtual Q&A that aims to “define what it means to be nomadic.”

2:03 EDT: There are 137 people “here,” and counting.

2:05 EDT: j. bilhan says this isn’t a lecture, it’s an active discussion. We’re going to talk about what nomadic space means and the implications of that model. The conversation will be broken up into 5 sections; after each section participants can activate their microphones and speak up.

2:08 EDT: Jessi Bowman is introducing herself now. She is a founder and curator of Flats, a nomadic exhibition series. They create a platform for Houston-based photographers to show their work in more intimate, non-traditional spaces. It’s also a photo lab and community darkroom space.

2:11 EDT: Terry Suprean comes from Civic TV, an interdisciplinary lab and arts space in Houston.

2:12 EDT: j. bilhan starts by saying he is not an expert on the subject of nomadic spaces, which somehow makes me want to listen to him more than I do people who self-refer to themselves as experts.

2:13 EDT: Nomadic spaces don’t have overhead so they can be more sustainable than other typical commercial spaces; in that sense, they resist the capitalist model.

2:19 EDT: Something Bowman just said got my attention in a good way. She was talking about how Flats artists have also had shows at “more established spaces” and then quickly corrected herself: “actually, no, I shouldn’t say that, we’re established!”

2:22 EDT: Suprean: Civic TV was founded in 2014. He rented out a warehouse on Houston’s East End, at the time full of abandoned buildings and very cheap. There were quite a few artist-run alternative spaces in that area. He actually didn’t set out to create a nomadic art space, in fact he was subletting some of the extra rooms to artists.