2044 Series: Anti-racist Praxis as Futurist Art and Design Pedagogy

Presented by the College of Visual Arts and Design and the Onstead Institute

The 2044 Series: Anti-racist Praxis as Futurist Art and Design Pedagogy is a series of virtual panel discussions that explore the frameworks of anti-racism, critical race theory and futurist praxis as methods of pedagogy in the fields of art and design.

The 2021 panel discussions highlight themes that challenge antiblack racism and cultural bias in the visual arts. The series was co-led by CVAD faculty Kathy Brown, Ph.D., assistant professor, Art Education, and Lauren Cross, Ph.D., assistant professor, Interdisciplinary Art and Design Studies, who highlight national, regional, and local scholars, cultural workers, artists, and designers whose work embodies transformative anti-racist pedagogy and practice.

The series title comes from Bennett Caper’s “Afrofuturism, Critical Race Theory and Policing in the year 2044,” which imagines Afrofuturism and critical race theory as frameworks to understand how policing might be envisioned during a time in the future — the year 2044 — when the U.S.A. is projected to be a “majority-minority” country.

As scholars of color at a minority-serving institution, the 2044 series creators aimed to examine what it means to teach art and design in the present and in the world of the future that is more diverse and more equitable. In this way, the 2044 series considers the work inside the academy and in classrooms as political sites (or ruptures) and institutions of transformation to be ripe for inquiry.

Fall 2021 Sessions

Topic: Visual Narratives: Anti-racist Pedagogy in Art and Design

Recorded: Oct. 1, 2021

Featuring guest panelists, Bridget R. Cooks, Ph.D., Omari Souza, and Wesley Taylor, this fourth installment of the 2044 series frames Afrofuturism and futurist thinking as a means for exploring the practices of design and museum curation as well as implications for art/design pedagogy. The panelists explore and discuss how hegemony is perpetuated, sharing the ways in which they decolonize within their curricula and pedagogy, as well as practice anti-racism in their work to reimagine risk or resist classification. While design institutions perpetuate neoliberalist ideals and language and teach under the paradigm of design for consumption, art/design education has the capacity to make a great impact by embracing the power of art and design to imagine alternative futures. The speakers also discuss important issues of cultural ethics, including copyright and appropriation, protections, and speaking up for community.

Spring 2021 Sessions

Topic: Anti-racist Pedagogy in Art Education: K-12/Higher Education

Recorded: Feb. 12, 2021

Co-hosts Lauren Cross, Ph.D., and Kathy Brown, Ph.D., engage in ongoing conversations about anti-racist pedagogy in the arts and design. Joined by distinguished guest panelists, Joni Boyd Acuff, Ph.D., and James Haywood Rolling Jr., Ed.D., this first installment of the 2044 series introduces Afrofuturism and the ways that it can help reimagine art discourses, laying the groundwork for establishing Afrofuturism as a framework for conceptualizing and enacting anti-racist art education practice.

In addition to sharing their work and how it relates to Afrofuturism and futurist thinking, the panelists discuss how recognizing Black and Brown artists and advocating for racial literacy is essential to creating and maintaining a racial consciousness practice in K-12 education. 

Topic: Anti-racist Praxis at Futurist Art and Design Pedagogy

Recorded: March 12, 2021

Featuring esteemed guest panelists, Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., Cheryl D. Holmes Miller, and Terresa Moses, M.F.A., this second installment of the 2044 series highlights the ways that working against anti-Blackness through the lens of Afrofuturism and Critical Race Theory allows for the examination and enactment of decolonizing design bias and white default.

This session brings questions of Black agency, stereotyping, bias, representation, appropriation, commodification, and the dangers of pathologizing Blackness in design. Panelists discuss anti-racist practice in design education through forms of resistance and resilience.  

Topic: Anti-racist Pedagogy in Art and Museums

Recorded: April 9, 2021

Featuring guest panelists, Stephanie A. Johnson-Cunningham, and Kelli Morgan, Ph.D., this third installment of the 2044 series frames Afrofuturism and futurist thinking in museum practice to examine the roles museums play in maintaining and recreating anti-blackness and white supremacy. Panelists discuss how museum educators and curators can practice anti-racist pedagogy and thinking. 

Racist and colonial practices of museums need greater racial equity and recognition. Through the use of visual imagery, Afrofuturism as a framework may be a viable strategy for community building, imagination, and expression. Recognizing that museums are rooted in white colonial narratives that have been and continue to be oppressive to Black and people of color, museums can amplify Black experiences and narratives while pointing out the need for systemic change in the sector. From the periphery of colonial violence and commodification to the centrality of visibility and recognition, museum education can provide opportunities to “analyze how racism shapes how we view, discuss, create, and engage multiple audiences within the museums.”